Chinese New Year Recipes
Chinese New Year
China's Chinese New Year is the country's most important holiday. It starts on the first day of the new year that has a new moon, which tends to be a different date each year, and ends fourteen days later on the Lantern Festival.
Traditionally, the Chinese New Year starts between January 21st and February 20th.
Those who practice the Chinese New Year have a Reunion dinner on New Year's Eve. Some of the more traditional food items that one would see at a Reunion dinner include:
- Buddha's delight
- Jau gok
- Jiaozi dumplings
- Mandarin oranges
- Melon seed/ Kwatji
- Nian gao
- Taro cakes
- Turnip cakes
4 Chinese New Year dishes that I've provided recipes for would make a great Reunion dinner.
- Spring rolls
- Kung Pao Chicken
- Sticky Cake (Nian gao)
- Jiaozi Dumplings
- 3 cups- all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 cups- cold water
- 1/4 tsp- salt
- 1 cup- ground pork or beef
- 1 tbs- soy sauce
- 1 tsp- salt
- 1 tbs- Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
- 1/4 tsp- freshly ground white pepper
- 3 tbs- sesame oil
- 1/2- green onion (finely minced)
- 1 1/2 cups- Napa cabbage (finely shredded)
- 4 tbs- bamboo shoots (shredded)
- 2 slices fresh ginger (minced)
- 1 clove garlic (peeled and minced)
In a medium bowl, stir the salt into the flour. Then, slowly mix in the cold water, adding just enough to make a smooth dough; you may not use all of the water. Knead into a ball and cover. Let the dough sit for about 30 minutes.
Go ahead and prepare the ingredients, while the do is sitting. Add the soy sauce, salt, rice wine, and the white pepper, to the meat. Add the rest of the ingredients, being sure to stir in the same direction.
Back to the dough, knead it a little more until it forms a smooth ball. Divide the larger ball into into about 60 smaller pieces, rolling each into 3- inch balls.
Put about 1 tbs of the filling in each wrapper. Wet the edges of the dumpling with water and fold the dough over to form a half moon shape. Pinch all of the edges to seal the dumpling.
Bring a pot of water to boil, add half of the dumplings, bring to boil. Make sure to gently stir to prevent the dumpling from sticking together. Bring the water to boil, a second time. You may need to add water to the pot. Cover the pot and brign to boil for a third time. Remove and drain the dumplings. You can pan fry them, at this point. Repeat for other half of dumplings.
Vegetable Spring Rolls
- 2 cups- mung bean sprouts
- 6- dried black mushrooms
- 1/2- red bell pepper
- 1- medium carrot
- 2 oz- canned bamboo shoots
- 2 1/2 tbs- oyster sauce
- 1 tbs- low-sodium chicken broth or water
- 2 tbs- light soy sauce
- 1 tsp- sugar
- Salt and/or freshly ground pepper to taste
- 18 - 20 spring rolls wrappers
- 1- egg (lightly beaten)
- 2 tabs- oil to stir-fry
- 4-5 cups- oil for deep-frying
About 30 minutes before starting:
- Rinse and drain the mung bean sprouts
- Soak the dried mushrooms in warm water in order to soften them and then squeeze excess water.
- Dice the red bell pepper.
- Grate the carrot.
- Finely slice the bamboo shoots.
Combine the oyster sauce, chicken broth, soy sauce, and sugar, and set the bowl aside.
Heat 2 tbs of oil in a pan, coating the bottom of the pan, once the oil starts to sizzle, stir- fry the vegetables- mushrooms, bamboo shoots, bell pepper, mung bean sprouts, and then the grated carrot. Season with salt and/ or pepper. Remove the vegetables from the heat and let them cool.
Now, to make the spring rolls, lay the wrapper in a diamond shape in front of you. Brush the edges with the lightly beaten egg. Put about 2 TBS of the filling in the middle of the wrapper and spread it sideways. Lift and tuck the bottom corner underneath the filling. Then, fold over the left and right sides of the wrapper. Roll up the wrapper and brush the edges lightly with the egg, fold over the last piece and seal the roll.
Heat up the oil to 360F. Add the spring rolls, one at a time. Let them cook until they are golden brown and crispy. Remove them from the oil, and sit them on paper towels to drain.
Kung Pao Chicken
- 2 boneless chicken breasts
- 1 tbs- soy sauce
- 1 tsp- Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
- 2 tsp- cold water
- 2 tsp- cornstarch
- 1 tbs- dark soy sauce
- 2 tsp- light soy sauce
- 1 tbs- black or red rice vinegar (red wine vinegar)
- 1 tbs- chicken broth or water
- 3 tsp- granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp- salt
- few drops sesame oil
- 1 tsp- cornstarch
- 6- 8 small dried red chili peppers
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1/2 cup skinless, unsalted peanuts
- 3- 4 cups- oil for frying
Cut the chicken breast into 1 inch cubes and mix with soy sauce, rice wine, water, and cornstarch. Let the chicken marinate for about 30 minutes.
In a separate bowl, mix the sauce ingredients, adding the cornstarch last.
Chop the peppers after removing the seeds; then peel and chop the garlic.
Heat oil in a pan to about 360- 375F and slide the chicken into the pan, allowing to fry for about one minute or until the cubes are white. Remove the chicken and let drain on paper towels.
Drain all but 2 tbs of oil from the pan and stir- fry the peppers until they start to blister. Add the garlicnd stir- fry for about 30 seconds or until you can smell the garlic. Add in the chicken and stir- fry briefly. Push the chicken to the sides of the pan putting the sauce in the middle. Stir quickly until thick. Add the peanuts. Then mix everything together.
Sticky Cake (Nian Gao)
- 3 1/4 cups- glutinous rice flour
- 2/3 cup- brown sugar
- 7 oz- boiling water
- 1/2 cup- Chinese dates; or 1/2 cup- other dried fruit; or 1/4 cup- dates and 1/4 cup- nuts
- 1 tbs- milk
- Water (as needed)
- 1 tbs- white sesame seeds
- 1 tbs- vegetable oil (nonstick cooking spray)
Prepare the pan for steaming.
Mix boiling water and the sugar into a bowl until the sugar dissolves. Cool.
Soak the Chinese dates (or equivalent fruit) in hot water until softened. Cut in half and remove the pits.
Pour the glutinous rice flour in a large bowl. Make a hole in the middle and stir in the sugar/ water mix. Add the milk and start to shape the dough. Add 1 tbs of water at at time to the dough. Mixing until the dough is smooth and satiny.
Add about half of the Chinese dates, equivalent fruit as you add the water.
Grease a 7 inch square cake pan with vegetable oil. Spread the dough out to the edges. Decorate with the rest of the dates and sprinkle the sesame seads on top.
Steam the cake over medium- high to high heat for about 45 minutes or until the edges start to pull away. Remove the cake from and cool.
Use a knife to loosen the edges and remove from the pan. Wrap the cake in wax paper and refrigerate overnight.
Cut the cake into quarters and thinly slice and serve.
(Can be fried)