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Jan 20, 2012 03:53 AM

Lunar New Year 2012, COTM Edition

Hey, the new year is nearly upon us. Would any home cooking hounds be interested in picking a few traditional dishes of the next week or two from former COTMs, and reporting on them? Maybe report on them in the original COTM thread and then linking the posts here if you're using a COTM recipe?) It's okay if you find an awesome recipe elsewhere and report on it here, too, especially if you link to it or paraphrase it in order to inspire the rest of us.

I'm trying to figure out which dishes would be appropriate:

Per Nina Simonds:

-There may be spring rolls which symbolize bricks of gold bricks.
-Dumplings are often boiled, steamed, or pan-fried when they are said to resemble golden coins. (watch the video here:
)-Noodles symbolize and impart a wish of longevity.
-Many Chinese families prefer to serve only vegetarian dishes for New Year’s meal.
- Bowls of oranges and tangerines are put on display to be eaten and they also imply a wish for happiness and prosperity.

Per this story in the Vancouver Sun:

-crisp-skinned Peking duck wrapped with warm crepes or a crisp-skinned whole chicken (symbolizing a proper beginning and end to the year
)-a whole steamed fish (served whole, head to tail intact as it represents a favour-able beginning and end for the new year)
-Shellfish such as lobster or crab are also served as they represent the life and energy of the powerful dragon
- e-fu mein, also known as long-life noodles.
-clams or scallops, which symbolize wealth and good fortune, as these particular foods have a shape similar to that of coins.
-Roast pig signifies peace and purity
-oysters and green lettuce represent good fortune and prosperity.
-Esteemed dishes such as bird's nest or fish maw soups, usually rich with seafood, represent rarity. -Other luxury foods include squab, pea shoots, baby bok choy, shrimp, abalone and crab.
-The Buddhist vegetarian dish called "Jai" is traditionally served as well, representing purity and purification, since no fish or poultry can be killed for new year celebrations, according to Buddhist traditions. looks like the following former COTMs would be appropriate sources of recipes: Dunlop, Young, Nguyen, Pham, Solomon, Seductions of Rice, and Hot Sour Salty Sweet perhaps?



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  1. Oh good, TDQ. I've been playing with that big yellow Chinese encyclopedia and planning a menu. Now I'll switch to one of the COTMs. All I know so far is that we're cooking shrimp, chicken, rice and baby bok choy. What I need to do now is choose the book (s) and recipes...

    Thanks for this.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Gio

      Fantastic! Feel free to draw in recipes from elsewhere, too. I just figure it's a good reason to dip back into some former COTM's, but I don't intend it to be restrictive! I have that big yellow book, too!


    2. Hmmm...maybe Steamed Striped Bass with soy sauce, ginger, scallions p. 171 Pham?

      Must have Dunlop's Dan Dan Noodles of course...

      I think I need something from Grace Young...


      2 Replies
      1. re: The Dairy Queen

        You're right about the Dan Dan Noodles. I had that on my list of about 15 recipes to choose from. I think That will be better than the rice I had planned. I don't serve both noodles and rice at the same meal...

        1. re: Gio

          I'm the same way. Rice or noodles, not both.

          Here's a Grace Young piece on Chinese New Year from last year:

          She mentions her recipe for longevity noodles with chicken, ginger, and mushrooms from SFTTSE:

          Or her Yin Ying Beans (which I remember from trying it last year!

          Or her Stir Fried Sugar Snap Peas with Shiitake Mushrooms

          I can't decide whether to do the yin yang beans or the snap peas... Maybe I'll do the snap peas so I can consider doing the dry fried green beans from Dunlop...


      2. I just read that bean curd or tofu is avoided because its white color suggests death and misfortune.
        And, don't forget to include oranges, clementines, or tangerines for good health & long life.

        1. Any excuse to celebrate with food is welcome! I have just recently been going through Nguyen's book, voraciously exploring the pages, and have a huge list of stuff that I want to try out of it. Having a weekend to plan out the menu is perfect. Excellent idea, Dairy Queen!

          1. After reading all the suggestions I guess I must be psychic since I stopped in Chinatown on my way to the train last night and picked up a roast duck, shiitake mushrooms, snap peas and clementines. Now I just have to decide what else to have with them. I will report back.

            6 Replies
            1. re: AGM_Cape_Cod

              Ooooh! When I was looking up recipes I saw some very appealing ones with whole roast duck. I'll bet your meal will be splendid, once you settle upon the exact dishes!


              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                After going through my dozens of Asian cook books I finally settled on recipes I got when I took Chinese cooking classes over thirty years ago. I boned the roast duck and stir fried it with a Szechuan tangerine sauce. I also made yu shiang stir fried vegetables and rice. It was all very spicy and wonderful.

                1. re: AGM_Cape_Cod

                  That sounds spicy and wonderful. I love the idea of that tangerine sauce. Is it pretty versatile?


                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                    I use it with everything- chicken, shrimp. beef. I will put it up when I get home tonight.

                  2. re: AGM_Cape_Cod


                    1 1/2 lb skinned and boned chicken, cut into cubes
                    1 t cornstarch
                    2/3 cup diced onion
                    4 scallions cut into 1-inch lengths
                    5 diced dried red pepper, minced
                    2 t Szechwan peppercorns, roasted and ground
                    2 t fresh ginger minced
                    2 T tangerine or orange juice
                    2 T soy sauce
                    1 T hoisin sauce
                    3/4 t sugar
                    3/4 t Szechwan chili paste with garlic
                    2 cups oil if deep frying
                    2 T tangerine or orange peel, cut into strips
                    1 t white vinegar
                    1 t sesame oil

                    1. Combine chicken and cornstarch
                    2. Combine onion and scallions in small bowl
                    3. Combine chili peppers, peppercorns and ginger in another bowl
                    4. Combine juice, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, sugar, and chili paste and mix well.
                    5. Set aside all small bowls.
                    6. Heat oil in wok to 225 degrees F. Add chicken and cook until it loses its pink color. Remove chicken and set aside. Pour out all but 1 T oil. (If desired, chicken can be stir fried in 4 T oil.)
                    7. Heat oil until very hot. Add chili pepper mixture, and stir fry 15 seconds. Add peel. Add combined onion and stir fry 20 second. Mix in chicken. Add juice, mixture, and & stir fry 30 seconds. Add vinegar and stir fry 15 second. Mix in sesame oil and serve.

                    1. I never use the minced dried chili peppers. I wouldn’t know how to mince dried chili peppers.
                    2. You can substitute beef for the chicken and make tangerine beef. I use sirloin strip steak and trim the fat off.

                    1. re: AGM_Cape_Cod

                      Sounds delicious! Thank you for sharing! I'm definitely putting this on my list of dishes to try.