HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Do you create unique foods? Get great advice
TELL US

Lunar New Year 2012, COTM Edition

The Dairy Queen Jan 20, 2012 03:53 AM

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: http://www.spicesoflife.com/2012/01/18/how-to-celebrate-chinese-new-year/
)-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: http://www.vancouversun.com/life/food/lavish+Lunar+Year+menu/6013281/story.html

-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.

Hmmm...it 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? http://www.chow.com/cookbook_of_the_m...

WHICH DISHES WILL YOU CHOOSE?

~TDQ

  1. Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. Gio Jan 20, 2012 04:25 AM

    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
      The Dairy Queen Jan 20, 2012 04:49 AM

      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!

      ~TDQ

    2. The Dairy Queen Jan 20, 2012 04:47 AM

      Hmmm...maybe Steamed Striped Bass with soy sauce, ginger, scallions p. 171 Pham?http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5538...

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

      I think I need something from Grace Young...

      ~TDQ

      2 Replies
      1. re: The Dairy Queen
        Gio Jan 20, 2012 05:10 AM

        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
          The Dairy Queen Jan 20, 2012 06:57 AM

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

          Here's a Grace Young piece on Chinese New Year from last year: http://www.graceyoung.com/2011/01/what-to-cook-for-chinese-new-years/

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

          http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/26/dining/26noodlesrex1.html?ref=dining

          Or her Yin Ying Beans (which I remember from trying it last year!
          )http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/756704#6220147

          http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/taste/114654649.html?elr=KArks7PYDiaK7DUqEiaDUiacyKUnciaec8O7EyUr

          Or her Stir Fried Sugar Snap Peas with Shiitake Mushrooms
          http://www.graceyoung.com/2011/01/what-to-cook-for-chinese-new-years/

          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7567...

          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...

          ~TDQ

      2. Gio Jan 20, 2012 10:40 AM

        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. Allegra_K Jan 20, 2012 10:49 AM

          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. a
            AGM_Cape_Cod Jan 20, 2012 11:07 AM

            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
              The Dairy Queen Jan 20, 2012 12:01 PM

              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!

              ~TDQ

              1. re: The Dairy Queen
                a
                AGM_Cape_Cod Jan 21, 2012 05:52 PM

                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
                  The Dairy Queen Jan 23, 2012 06:34 AM

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

                  ~TDQ

                  1. re: The Dairy Queen
                    a
                    AGM_Cape_Cod Jan 24, 2012 10:54 AM

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

                  2. re: AGM_Cape_Cod
                    a
                    AGM_Cape_Cod Jan 25, 2012 05:58 AM

                    SZECHUAN SPICY TANGERINE CHICKEN

                    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.

                    NOTES:
                    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
                      The Dairy Queen Jan 25, 2012 06:01 AM

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

                      ~TDQ

              2. Rubee Jan 22, 2012 04:10 PM

                E's low-carbing, so tonight for myself I'm making a stir-fry with rice cakes (nian gao). i have some leftover seafood from a teppan-yaki place we went to last night so will use that too.

                Tomorrow I'll make a nice dinner we both can eat. Thinking maybe a Dunlop roast duck recipe and a stir-fried veggie dish - maybe the Yin Ying beans TDQ mentions. Will have to go through some of the great suggestions above for other ideas.

                 
                3 Replies
                1. re: Rubee
                  buttertart Jan 22, 2012 05:42 PM

                  Those are Korean rice cakes - no worries, it's lunar new year there too.

                  1. re: buttertart
                    Rubee Jan 22, 2012 05:48 PM

                    Hmmm....I always thought tteok/dduk and nian gao were interchangeable. Aren't they both sticky rice cakes? Oh well. I guess it's time for plan B. Maybe I'll join E in a grilled steak and stick to the nice Chinese dinner tomorrow.

                    1. re: Rubee
                      buttertart Jan 22, 2012 05:49 PM

                      They are the same thing. Go with plan A.

                2. Gio Jan 23, 2012 06:31 AM

                  We're keeping it very simple tonight: Stir-fried shrimp with snow peas, stir-fried Chinese cabbage and steamed rice. Originally I thought I'd make a chicken dish too but we decided that's quite enough for an evening meal. After all, the Lunar New Year celebration ends on 8 Feb. doesn't it? Still time to make a few other dishes...

                   
                  11 Replies
                  1. re: Gio
                    The Dairy Queen Jan 23, 2012 06:33 AM

                    Funny, I too, am scaling it back tonight. I'm going to make Grace Young's longetivty noodles tonight and, if I'm feeling ambitious, the snow peas (both recipes I linked above). But , you're right, we can drag this celebration out a bit if we wish!

                    ~TDQ

                    1. re: The Dairy Queen
                      buttertart Jan 23, 2012 10:17 AM

                      The first 2 weeks of the New Year are the most important, ending with the Lantern Festival. Go to and cook Chinese!

                    2. re: Gio
                      Gio Jan 24, 2012 08:01 AM

                      Last night's menu was scaled back even further from my original plans.. We made a wonderful shrimp with garlic sauce from Grace Young's Breath of a Wok using wild Florida Gulf shrimp, stir-fried snow peas a la Jacques Pepin (!), and steamed jasmine rice. That's all we could handle on a Monday night.

                      Let me explain the JP recipe. In the book Jacques and Julia Cooking At Home there is a quick cooking technique for what he calls "small vegetables", namely, snow peas and cherry tomatoes, etc.. Snow peas are prepped, placed into a fry pan that has a cover and a small amount of water is poured in. Cook the peas covered over med-high heat till Almost all the water has evaporated. Then fat is added along with seasonings. In the simplest recipe nothing more than EVOO, S & P and whatever herb you want is added. This procedure only takes a few minutes.

                      To make this vaguely Asian I used a bit of peanut oil, minced garlic, minced ginger, soy sauce and cracked Szechuan pepper. This was cooked further till the garlic was golden. At the finish I drizzled a little sesame oil over. The snow peas did not steam and tasted for all the world like a Chinese stir-fry.

                      1. re: Gio
                        The Dairy Queen Jan 24, 2012 08:27 AM

                        Wow! What an interesting technique! I wouldn't suppose it's mentioned anywhere in the current COTM (which I own but haven't used yet???)

                        I, too, scaled down my plans. I'll try and post in the applicable GY thread later, but we had the Longevity Noodles from SFTTSE. Boil the noodles, then put them in a bowl with toasted sesame oil. I used fresh linguine because that's what I could find at my regular (not Asian) market. No time for multiple grocery stops these days!

                        Cut chicken into chunks then put them in a bowl with soy sauce, rice wine, and ginger. Slice some shiitakes and cabbage (I just used regular green cabbage because, again, that's what I could find.)

                        Swirl peanut oil in the wok, then fry some red pepper flakes. Push those aside (I found this impossible, actually), then put the chicken in a single layer in the bottom for a minute or so until it begins to sear. Then stir fry the chicken with the red pepper flakes for a minute or three until the chicken is just cooked. Remove chicken to a bowl.

                        Add in the vegetables and stir fry until wilted. Add them to the bowl with the chicken.

                        Add some more oil to the wok, then stir in the noodles. HEat them up, then add a little soy sauce and rice wine. Some salt and peppers goes in there at some point, too. When the noodles are heated through, add back the chicken and veggies and stir fry until it's all nice and hot, then serve.

                        All in all, a pretty nice dish. Very one pot in nature so you don't necessarily need a lot of other dishes to serve alongside it.

                        Basically, it's the first time I've used my wok since we brought the baby home. Not entirely true: this past weekend, since I knew I would be stir-frying for Lunar New Year, I made some popcorn in the wok to help the seasoning a little.

                        My noodles did stick. I don't know if that's because I did something wrong, had the wrong noodles or what, but it's clear my wok needs a salt-scrub facial. I'll have to get the book out and remember how to do that.

                        I'm hoping to make the stir fried peas and mushrooms mentioned above tonight. I decided it was too ambitious last night.

                        It feels good to be woking again!

                        ~TDQ

                        1. re: The Dairy Queen
                          Gio Jan 24, 2012 10:41 AM

                          You know, TDQ, I've had my wok for more than 25 years and I've never given it a salt-scrub facial. Can I suggest that you simply keep using it as is? We use it for simple frying of other recipes than Asian. Continue use is what builds up the non-stick/seasoning quality.. Perhaps others may have different ideas about this, but it has worked for us.

                          1. re: Gio
                            The Dairy Queen Jan 24, 2012 11:09 AM

                            I'm completely okay with not doing a salt scrub, but how do you get food off if it sticks without scrubbing off the patina?

                            I'm telling you, there are two reasons I don't use my wok more:

                            1) Fear of cooking with oil over high heat (I'm getting over this one...)

                            2) Too lazy to care for my wok and/or fear that it's too high maintenance.

                            ~TDQ

                            1. re: Gio
                              Gio Jan 24, 2012 11:09 AM

                              TDQ: as for the JP's quick blanch technique the method is not in the main COTM but in one of the companion cookbooks, Jacques and Julia Cooking At Home,

                              1. re: Gio
                                q
                                qianning Jan 25, 2012 03:43 AM

                                Yep, repeated use, and the odd oiling + high heat after use. It is really just about the same as a cast iron skillet.

                                When starchy stuff occasionally sticks (noodles, heavy potato starch sauces etc), once the food is out, I just add a little water to the wok, bring to a quick boil, and use a kitchen veg brush to get the gunk off (it will come off easily once boiled), then rinse, heat to dry, and oil if absolutely necessary (not usually needed). You really don't need salt, and most importantly just don't let dish soap get anywhere near it.

                                1. re: qianning
                                  The Dairy Queen Jan 25, 2012 06:02 AM

                                  Thanks to you and Gio!

                                  ~TDQ

                              2. re: The Dairy Queen
                                Allegra_K Jan 27, 2012 06:00 AM

                                What an excellent idea about making popcorn in the wok!! I tried that the other day after reading your post, and was amazed at the difference it made in the patina. My wok had lost some of its coating recently from an acidic tamarind dish I had made in it, and this was just what was needed to fix it up! Not to mention that the popcorn was also wonderful.....

                                1. re: Allegra_K
                                  The Dairy Queen Jan 27, 2012 07:09 AM

                                  That popcorn tip is from one of Grace Young's books. I love my wok popcorn!

                                  ~TDQ

                          2. Rubee Jan 25, 2012 01:04 AM

                            Sunday I ended up making stir-fried rice cakes even though ButterTart kind of threw me with making a point my pic was a Korean brand (which I knew since it's on the label and I bought that bag at a Korean store). I've always thought rice ovalettes/Chinese rice cakes/Korean rice cakes (not the tubes) are different names for the same kind of flat oval cakes made from sticky rice? I'm not an expert so would love if someone could help me out! Sauce was dark and light soy, ginger, garlic, Sichuan chili-bean sauce, chicken stock, scallions. I added shrimp and lobster.

                            On Monday night I made Dunlop's Fragrant and Crispy Roast Duck. A lot of work (marinating, steaming, drying, frying) when I can buy a hot roast duck from the Asian market for a couple of dollars more, but we both agreed the flavor was better even if the skin was not as crisp with this technique. I cut up the breast (legs set aside to shred for soup, duck stock made with the rest). E is low-carbing so he had his with a stir-fry of scallions with ginger, garlic, and bacon. For me, wrapped in Asian store-bought Peking pancakes with hoisin sauce, cucumbers, and scallions.

                             
                             
                            7 Replies
                            1. re: Rubee
                              Rubee Jan 25, 2012 01:14 AM

                              (wish I could edit/add pictures) Will post details on the Dunlop thread, but the marinade was fresh ginger and scallions with a spice paste of Sichuan peppercorns, cao guo/"false cardamom", cinnamon, star anise, fennel seeds, cloves, and rice wine (didn't have the dried ginger slices so added a combination of ground dried galangal and ginger).

                               
                              1. re: Rubee
                                q
                                qianning Jan 25, 2012 03:47 AM

                                That duck looks glorious! Admire your effort...I always cave and buy the duck cooked in Chinatown!

                                1. re: Rubee
                                  The Dairy Queen Jan 25, 2012 06:03 AM

                                  Brava! It looks delicious.

                                  ~TDQ

                                  1. re: Rubee
                                    buttertart Jan 25, 2012 09:46 AM

                                    Same thing and your dish looks great. I was being annoying.

                                    1. re: buttertart
                                      Rubee Jan 27, 2012 01:02 PM

                                      Thanks qianning, TDQ, and ButterTart! Lunch today was duck soup with udon noodles, scallions, and cilantro with chili oil. Asian was on the menu last night too. Inspired by InaPlasticCup, I made a Korean roast chicken marinated for about 5 hours in equal parts soy sauce and water, with sugar, ginger, garlic, and Korean gochujang chili paste. E ate his just as is (came out very juicy), while mine was drizzled with sesame oil and more chili, with steamed rice and kimchi.

                                       
                                       
                                      1. re: Rubee
                                        The Dairy Queen Jan 27, 2012 04:15 PM

                                        Wow, that chicken looks gorgeous!

                                        ~TDQ

                                        1. re: Rubee
                                          g
                                          greeneggsnham Jan 27, 2012 05:23 PM

                                          That chicken does look phenomenal! Sounds great too. never done a Korean roast chicken. Maybe I'll have to fix that!

                                    2. w
                                      will47 Jan 27, 2012 02:40 PM

                                      Attached are photos of New Years Eve and New Years Day dinners with my in-laws. I'm vegetarian, which is part of the reason there's so much veggie stuff.
                                      Clockwise from top left:
                                      Steamed fish (hong li yu -- lì in 4th tone -- 䲞鱼; I believe this is red Seabream)
                                      Beef, and an aspic made from beef tendon
                                      King oyster mushrooms and abalone
                                      Avocado and tomato salsa (yes, a very traditional Chinese New Year dish) (center)
                                      Shanghai style kau fu (wheat gluten)
                                      Homemade pickled mustard greens (center)
                                      Vegetarian chicken with basil
                                      Vegetarian gong bao "chicken"
                                      Watercress
                                      Nian gao with jicai ("shepherd's purse")
                                      Boiled chicken

                                      A lot of people will eat vegetarian on New Years Day, which is part of why we made only vegetarian dishes, though some people did eat leftovers from the day before.

                                      In the new years day picture, there is a vegetarian mixed vegetables (杂菜) with fa cai (hair vegetable), dried wheat gluten wheels and fresh winter bamboo shoot braised with red wine lees (红糟), some baby broccoli shoots, and fresh fava beans with scallion oil.

                                       
                                       
                                      4 Replies
                                      1. re: will47
                                        buttertart Jan 27, 2012 02:50 PM

                                        Avocado? Traditional where? Very interesting. Everything looks wonderful.

                                        1. re: buttertart
                                          w
                                          will47 Jan 27, 2012 02:59 PM

                                          Sorry, maybe the slight sarcasm didn't come through...

                                          1. re: will47
                                            buttertart Jan 27, 2012 05:26 PM

                                            I was trying to put two and two together...hmm, you could get avocados in HK when we were there in the 80s...hmm they sell a lot of them in NY Chinatown...did I miss something?

                                        2. re: will47
                                          The Dairy Queen Jan 27, 2012 04:16 PM

                                          What a spread!

                                          ~TDQ

                                        Show Hidden Posts