Chinese New Year 2011 Recipes: No Rabbit Food Here!

Emily Abbate
4

chopsticksThe Chinese New Year is fast approaching, and what better way to celebrate than throwing a dinner party for a fresh start? In Chinese tradition, it's customary to feast the eve of Chinese New Year. An excuse to eat? And experiment with new dishes?! Count me in!

February 3, 2011 marks the beginning of the year of the rabbit. And just because it's time to hail the hare doesn't mean you have to eat like one! These four satisfying recipes are easy for beginners who haven't experimented with Chinese cuisine -- and include ingredients you can find at your local grocery store. Let the cooking begin.

Traditional Mandarin fried rice: In Chinese culture, the rice grain symbolizes affection, devotion, and generosity. Bring in the New Year with this tangy rice dish sure to satisfy all your friends!

What you'll need:

  • 3 eggs
  • Canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons minced ginger
  • 1 lapchang (Chinese sausage) diced (can be substituted with 4 strips cooked bacon)
  • 1 bunch chopped scallions, white and green separated
  • 8 cups cooked, long grain day-old rice
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • Salt to taste

Directions:

1. In a wok, quickly scramble the eggs in 2 tablespoons of oil. Remove the eggs.

2. In the same wok, stir-fry garlic and ginger in oil, then add in white scallions and lapchang. Add rice; mix.

3. Add soy sauce, scrambled eggs, and pepper. Taste and adjust the seasonings accordingly. Best when served immediately.

 

Chinese lettuce wraps: Chicken represents the coming together of families for the Chinese New Year, and these lettuce wraps are a delicious (and portable), easy meal option, perfect for a party atmosphere!

What you'll need:

  • Head Boston lettuce
  • 1 lb. ground chicken
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup matchstick carrots
  • 1 cup shiitake mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 green onions (for garnish, chopped)

Directions:

1. Preheat a large skillet and drizzle with olive oil. Add ground chicken, sesame oil, mushrooms, and onion. After a few minutes, add in garlic, carrots, almonds, brown sugar, ketchup, ginger, soy sauce, and vinegar. Simmer until the sauce has thickened.

2. Spoon chicken mixture into lettuce leaves, wrap. Garnish and enjoy!

 

Jiaozi (Chinese dumplings): Eaten right at midnight, it's customary to put a gold coin in the middle of one of these dumplings -- bringing the finder good luck. Just make sure to tell your guests to they know to expect a possible surprise!

What you'll need:

  • 6 cups Chinese cabbage, chopped
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 cups chopped scallions
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine
  • 2 tablespoons chopped ginger
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 50 round dumpling wrappers
  • Red rice vinegar for dipping

Directions:

1. Toss cabbage and salt together; let stand for 30 minutes. Squeeze excess water from cabbage. Then add scallion, soy sauce, pork, rice wine, ginger, cornstarch, and sesame oil. Stir until well mixed, and drain excess liquid.

2. Take a heaping teaspoon of the mixture, and fill the center of each wrapper. Drizzle water on edge of wrapper,  fold wrapper, and press to seal.

3. Place dumplings on baking sheet, lightly dusted with cornstarch. When all are pressed, cook in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes each.

 

Ginger ice cream: There's no better way to cap off a fun celebration that with something sweet. For this recipe, you will need an ice cream maker. But not to worry, you can find them for as low as $12 online!

What you'll need:

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup grated ginger
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • dash of salt
Directions:

1. Combine the milk, cream, ginger, and salt over medium heat and simmer for 20 minutes in a large saucepan.

2. In a large bowl, combine sugar and egg yolks and whisk until frothy. Then, ladle 1/2 cup of the milk mixture in to the egg bowl and whisk until combined. Then, stir the entirety of the egg mixture into the hot mixture and cook on low heat, stirring constantly (about 3 to 5 minutes).

3. Strain mixture using a mesh strainer into a large bowl. Then, cover tightly and put in the refrigerator for about 3 hours, or until well chilled.

4. Pour custard into the bowl of an ice cream maker, and freeze according to manufacturer's instructions.

Will you be celebrating the Chinese New Year?


Image via Thebusybrain/Flickr

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