A Chinese New Year Celebration You Can Prepare

Chefs, Chinese New Year, Entertain, Holidays, Meet, Menu Ideas

This post comes to us courtesy of cookbook author and television personality Ching He Huang.


I love Chinese New Year. It is an important time for Chinese families to get together to have a “reunion dinner” or “Tuan Yuan Fan.” For many families in China and around the world, it is sometimes the only occasion during a whole year where one would get to see all their family. So, on such a special occasion, mothers and grandmothers would make sure the New Year feast is one that will be remembered and reminisced for the rest of the year!


The New Year is also known as the “Spring Festival” and traditionally, many foods that have symbolism are also eaten at this time. Whole animals – roasted suckling pigs, fried and steamed fish, stewed chickens – are served because they signify “completeness,” “wholeness” and “unity.”


Traditionally, dishes that are homophones of lucky phrases are also served. For example, stewed black algae moss is popular, not because it is the best-tasting dish ever, but because it is pronounced “Fa Cai” and it sounds like “Fa Tsai,” which means to “grow wealth and prosperity.” Dishes that are gold and red in color are served because they are the luckiest colors. Noodles are eaten as a symbol and wish for longevity.


I love the fact that Chinese New Year is given love and attention in the United States. Throughout the U.S., many families from all backgrounds join in this celebration. I am really delighted to be able to share many of my family-style recipes but many have been given a modern twist, all with healthy, balanced, delicious eating in mind.


These recipes are not all traditionally eaten around Chinese New Year because many traditional recipes call for some ingredients that are not necessarily accessible or Western-kitchen friendly. So I have included recipes that have a Chinese New Year theme or element attached to them.


Most of the dishes can be prepared in advance (see individual recipes for instructions). However, if you’re going to do all the cooking the same day, preparing the menu in courses allows breathing space, maximum enjoyment and is in the true spirit of Chinese eating.


I hope I have provided you with some ideas and inspiration if you decide to host your own Chinese New Year party this year or perhaps you can save them as recipes for midweek meals or another special festive occasion. Wishing you “Gong Xi Fa Cai” – good health, happiness and prosperity in the Year of the Dragon 2012.


Happy cooking and blessings,


Ching xx



1st Course
Spicy Sour Rice Wine Steamed Chicken
Crispy Fragrant Duck
Sweet-and-Sour Mango Crayfish


2nd Course
Scallop and Seafood Longevity Noodles in Sweet Miso Broth
Steamed Cantonese Wined Sea Bass


3rd Course
Shanghainese Red-Cooked Hakka Pork
Spicy Sichuan Fish-Fragrant Eggplant
Wok-Fried Giant Tiger Prawns with Yellow Bean Sauce
Garlic Pak Choy (Bok Choy)
Egg Fried Rice


Assorted exotic fruits
Jasmine tea

To find out more about Ching, her great tasting recipes and her books, visit www.chinghehuang.com.


To learn more about her US television shows, visit the Cooking Channel.


About the author: The face of Chinese cooking on British TV, Ching-He Huang’s dynamic approach to modern Chinese food led to a television presence in Great Britain before coming to America with her popular shows Chinese Food Made Easy and Easy Chinese: San Francisco on the Cooking Channel. Ching is also the author of four cookbooks, the bestselling Ching’s Chinese Food in Minutes, Chinese Food Made Easy and China Modern. Ching’s latest book, Ching’s Fast Food, is published by Harper Collins and is available on her website. http://www.chinghehuang.com

5 comments about “A Chinese New Year Celebration You Can Prepare

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    Chinese .Vegetables with Peanut-Curry Sauce2 tbs crunchy penaut butter1-2 tsp curry powder1/4 cup water1-2 tsp vegetable oil1 pinch mustard seeds2/3 cup thinly sliced onion1 clove garlic, minced1 medium-small carrot, thinly sliced1/2 cup broccoli, 1/2 inch pieces1/3 cup peas1 cup cabbage, sliced or shredded into 1/8 in ribbonsblack pepper and red pepper flakes to tasteCooked rice DirectionsCombine the penaut butter, curry powder and water in a small bowl. Set aside.Heat the oil in a skillet over medium high heat and add the mustard seeds and onion. Be careful, the mustard seeds will start popping. Saute until the onion starts to brown and add the garlic. If it starts to stick at any point add some water a little at a time. Saute another couple seconds to brown the garlic and add the carrots, broccoli and peas. Add the penaut butter mixture and stir to coat everything. Add more water if needed to distribute the sauce better. Add the cabbage and black and red pepper and toss to coat. Remove from heat when there when the water is almost gone. Allow to sit or a few moments and serve with hot steamed rice.Steamed EggplantIngredients1 tablespoon oil1 tablespoon garlic, minced1 tablespoon ginger, minced1 1/2 pounds Chinese eggplantSauce:3 tablespoons light soy sauce2 tablespoons red wine vinegar1/4 teaspoon salt2 tablespoons sugar1 tablespoon sesame oil1 teaspoon chili paste with garlic (optional)DirectionsSlice eggplant diagonally into 2-inch long slices. Put on plate. Place plate on rackin pot or steamer. Steam covered over boiling water 30 minutes.Combine sauce ingredients in bowl. Mix well.Heat oil in wok. Stir-fry garlic and ginger on low flame until aroma comes, about 30 seconds. Pour in sauce. Bring to boil. Remove from heat and cool.Pour sauce over eggplant, serve and enjoy!Spicy and Sour Cabbage 9 oz cabbage1 hot red chili (chilli) pepper4 tbsp (50 ml) vegetable oil1/2 tsp scallions, chopped5 whole Sichuan peppercorns3/4 tsp salt, or to taste1 1/2 tsp vinegar1 1/2 tsp sugar1/4 tsp MSG (optional)DirectionsWash the cabbage and cut into diamond-shaped pieces, 1 inch (3 cm) each side.Seed and dice the chili pepper.Heat the oil in a wok until the oil surface ripples. Add the scallions, peppercorns and salt. Add the chili pepper and stir-fry 30 seconds. Add cabbage and stir-fry 2 minutes. Stir in the vinegar, sugar and MSG. Remove and serve.Japanese Roasted Japanese Eggplant with Green Herb Sau6 Japanese eggplants, 6 to 8 inches long1 cup Fresh cilantro leaves1 cup Fresh Italian parsley leaves1 tsp Ground cumin seeds, roasted Zest of 2 lemons1/2 cup Lemon juice Black pepper Salt Method:Over a grill or gas flame, roast the eggplant until the skin blackens and the flesh is soft. Allow to col and peel carefully with a small sharp knife to remove all the skin, being careful that the eggplants keep their shape.Puree the remaining ingredients in a blender or food processor. Pour the sauce over the eggplants and allow them to marinate in the sauce for at least an hour.Vegetarian Soba Noodle Sushi0.3 kg soba noodles blanched al dente1/4 cup finely-sliced scallions, green part only40 ml light soy sauce20 ml rice wine vinegar40 ml Wasabi Oil see * Note1/4 cup finely-chopped pickled ginger10 nori sheets1 cucumber peeled, and finely julienned1 red bell pepper julienned1 yellow bell pepper juliennedSOY SYRUP1 cup thin soy sauce1/2 cup freshly-squeezed orange juice1/4 cup brown sugarGARNISH Scallions1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds Method:In a large mixing bowl, combine soba noodles, scallions, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, wasabi oil, and pickled ginger. Taste for seasoning.On a sushi mat, place one sheet of nori, shiny-side down. On the bottom third of the nori, place a thin layer of the noodle mixture. Place some cucumber and peppers on top. Roll tightly. Moisten the top edge of the nori with water to seal the sushi roll closed.For the Soy Syrup: In a saucepan combine soy sauce, orange juice, and brown sugar. Reduce until an almost syrupy consistency is achieved. Let cool. As it cools, the syrup will thicken.Slice and arrange sushi on a white platter. Drizzle it with Wasabi Oil and Soy Syrup. Garnish with scallions and sesame seeds.This recipe yields 8 to 10 servings

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