Surpluses every year

Traditionally, in the old days before the time of calendars, when a bird landed in your garden it was a symbol of the beginning of the new year. A bird represents good luck, hence why this dish formed into the shape of a magpie is traditional for this time of year.

Serves 2


  • 50g raw prawns
  • 20g fresh scallops, roe removed
  • 10g Chinese sausage
  • 2g potato starch or corn flour
  • 2 prawn tails
  • 2 shiitake mushroom, sliced into 4 pieces, discard the stem
  • 1 red chilli
  • 40g spinach
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 black sesame seeds 

For the sauce:

  • 100g chicken stock
  • 4g sugar
  • 4g salt
  • 4g Chinese rice wine


Chinese sausage is a a cured sausage, similar to salami or chorizo but with a different flavour. It can be found in Asian stores.


  1. Mince the prawns and set aside.
  2. Mince the scallops and set aside.
  3. Dice the Chinese sausages into tiny pieces.
  4. Add the Chinese sausages to the minced prawn with a pinch of salt and potato starch and mix well. Using your hands, roll it to a cylinder shape and coat with a bit of cooking oil. Insert the prawn tail to one side, to resemble the bird’s body and tail.
  5. Coat the minced scallop with a bit of cooking oil, using your hands roll to a round shape to resemble the bird’s head. Repeat this process to make the second bird.
  6. Coat 2 slices of shiitake mushroom with the cooking oil and place at both sides to resemble the bird’s wing. Repeat this process for the second bird.
  7. Cut the tip of the chilli to about 2cm to resemble the beak, and place the black sesame seeds to resemble the eyes.
  8. To make the ‘pond’ and ‘nest’ (for decoration) on which the bird will sit, blanch the spinach. Place in the blender to extract the juice. Divide the juice into two parts, one part to mix with the egg white. The second part is to mix with water and place in a bowl and set aside for later use. If you don’t want to create a ‘pond’, simply leave this step out.
  9. To make the bird’s nest, take the egg whites and one part of the spinach juice, add a pinch of salt and beat well. Place in a cocktail glass (without the stem – as pictured) and steam for 10-15 minutes.
  10. Use the remaining fillings from the Surpluses Every Year recipe, put a spoonful of it onto the top of the steamed egg white, then place the finished bird on top and steam for 10-15 minutes. 
  11. Cook off all the ingredients for the sauce until reduced and drizzle onto the dish and serve.


Recipe Series: Year of the Goat 

Award-winning restaurant China Sichuan share some of their traditional recipes synonymous with Chinese New Year, while Mak at D6 mark their first year in business with a modern take on some party dishes.

Recipes in this series:

Andy Foo

Andy Foo