Make this Four Seasons Platter with special tri-filling spring rolls plus pan seared butterfly shrimps, siu mai (shumai), lobak (five-spice meat rolls), and boiled crab claws your feasting centerpiece. It is totally worth the effort!
A Four Seasons Platter is a luxurious small bites platter usually served during a Chinese wedding banquet. The four different appetizers or hors d’oeuvres represent the four seasons of spring, summer, autumn, and winter. Sometimes 2 or more food items may be served to represent a season. In this case, there will be more than 4 varieties on the platter.
What dishes make up a season is up to the individual chef’s interpretation. Hence, no two different Four Seasons Platter are ever the same. Every restaurant has their own specialties and these can vary depending on how much a customer is willing to pay. Some platters are of course more luxurious and exquisite than others.
My Four Seasons Platter
With that said, here is my rendition of the Four Seasons Platter I made for our Chinese New Year dinner on Friday, February 16th. I think I may have unwittingly started a new Chinese New Year dinner tradition and the guys absolutely loved this platter of goodies. I am sure I will get requests for a repeat in the years ahead.
For Spring I made two dishes. One of them are these Special Tri-Filling Spring Rolls. These are not your everyday spring rolls. Usually 3 to 4 different ingredients make up the filling to give it a beautiful cross section for an impressive display on the platter. In my Special Spring Rolls, I used egg omelet, crab sticks, and Jiu Hu Char (Stir Fry Jicama with Cuttlefish) as the filling.
The other dish representing Spring are these Pan Seared Butterfly Shrimps. I found these ready to use butterfly shrimps at the grocery store perfect for this purpose. It took me just a few minutes to prepare these tasty shrimps.
Similar Tools Used in Making These Pan Seared Butterfly Shrimps
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- Butterfly the shrimp leaving shell intact. Remove vein. Rinse and pat dry with paper towels.
- Sprinkle salt and pepper and drizzle sesame oil over the shrimps. Mix well.
- Heat vegetable oil in a large non-stick fry pan.
- Place shrimp butterfly side down in the pan. Sear for 2 minutes.
- Turn shrimp onto their sides and sear for another minute.
- Flip shrimps onto the other side and sear one more minute.
- Remove and serve immediately with your favorite seafood cocktail sauce.
I have always wanted to make Siu Mai (Shumai) and so I finally did as a representation for Summer in my Four Seasons Platter. They turned out really well and were juicy, succulent, and very tasty. The stuffing was a combination of ground pork, shrimps, and water chestnuts.
For Autumn, I decided on Lobak (Five-Spice Meat Rolls). These are also known as Ngoh Hiang in Melaka and Singapore. The ones seen here are a slightly different version than these ones because I finally found the right kind of bean curd sheets which were quite crispy when fried.
Crabs are a favorite representation of Winter. They are popularly made into crab meatballs or served as a cold creamy salad. Since I found some nice crab claws, I decided to separate the upper claws for another dish, leaving the pincers whole for this platter. I left it simple by boiling the claws with salt so as to be able to taste the sweet meaty flesh. You can chill these boiled crab claws if preferred and serve them as is, with a squirt of lemon juice, or with your favorite seafood cocktail sauce.
Similar Tools Used in Making These Boiled Crab Claws
- 8 crab claws (8 oz/225g)
- ½ tsp salt
- Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil.
- Add crab claws and salt. Boil on medium low heat for about 3 minutes**.
- Remove and serve warm or chill before serving.
I hope you’ll give this Four Seasons Platter a try soon. Links to Special Tri-Filling Spring Rolls, Siu Mai (Shumai), and Lobak (Five-Spice Meat Rolls) recipes will be made available as soon as they are posted. Please check back soon.