After the new year holiday, we are quite busy with our Chinese Lunar New Year, preparing gifts, storing food and buying new clothes. I always feel that I am quite lucky as a Chinese because I can have two New Year and two birthdays. Those post includes Elaine’s favorite Chinese new year recipes. If possible, I would love to hear what’s your favorite dishes for Chinese new year.
Chinese New Year is also called as Lunar New Year or Chinese Spring Festival. We call the festival as 春(chūn)节(jié)(spring festival) in Chinese. Traditionally, Chinese New Year used to be 15 days. The festival ends at 15th, January in lunar calendar. It is the most important festival for all Chinese people. Lots of people including me and my husband are working far from our hometowns, so we are moving back for family reunion almost each year. Spring Festival Travel is one of greatest Chinese phenomenon, though I do not like it at all.
During the holiday, older generation prepares yummiest childhood food for younger generations.The family gathering meal is called 团(tuán)年(nián)饭(fàn)in Chinese. All the family members should present this yearly meal.China is a country with large landscape and rich culture dense.Foods for Chinese 团年饭 differ from area to area based on local cuisines and custom.
Although Chinese meal do not comply with the western cuisine rules with starters, main courses, soups and etc, there are still some commons. Usually we have staple food, soups, salad, desserts, meat dishes (steamed, fried, stir-fried or poached etc), and vegetable stir fries. Following is recommended as they are the most popular Chinese New Year dishes.
Dumplings are the most popular and indispensable staple food especially for Northern people.
1.How to make dumpling from starch – dumpling making a great home activity during the holiday.
2. Chive and Pork Potstickers – In addition to water boiled dumplings, you can always choose to add some crispness by pan-frying.
3. Chinese cabbage potsticker – if you are not good at assembling dumplings, you will love this easy folding way of leaving the two ends opening.
4. Siu mai (Shao Mai, Shu Mai) with sticky rice (糯米烧卖) – a great alternative to dumplings.
6.Eight treasure congee (八宝粥) is also known as Lapa congee (腊八粥), usually served at the 8th, Nov in lunar calendar. It indicates the starting of the Lunar New Year. People start to prepare and make Chinese New Year goods, decorate the house and clean the daily stuff.
Desserts and Snacks
7. Tangyuan is also known as Yuanxiao. People used to have the custom of enjoying tangyuan for Lantern Festival. Now it is also eaten on the morning of the first day in lunar month in southern provinces. Round foods have a meaning of family reunion.
8. Fried sesame balls (煎堆) – fried sesame balls is a deep-fried version of Chinese Tangyuan. Both of them are made from sticky rice flour (糯米粉). The round shape is a great symbol for family reunion.
9.Tangyuan with crushed peanuts(糖不甩) – this is another yummy Tangyuan recipe you can try, although it is less famous than black sesame tangyuang. The Tangyuan balls are coated with syrup and crushed peanuts.
10. Nian Gao is made with glutinous rice for the New Year. Originally, it is mainly for worship the gods and ancestors. Now nian gao is a popular ingredients for Chinese New Year. The Chinese pronunciation of Niangao has a meanings of increasing prosperous year after year.
11.Chinese Spring Roll(春卷) is another must food especially for older generations. Deep-fried dishes are not very popular now but we still need them for holidays.
Main Dish (Beef, chicken, lamb, fish)
12. Chinese steamed fish – Fish is an indispensable dish on Chinese New Year meal, as the Chinese pronunciation of Fish ‘Yu’ is loaded with lots of wishes and meanings. ‘Yu’ means having something accumulated after one year hard working. There is a famous Chinese blessing speech as ‘Nian Nian You Yu’, meaning bountiful harvests each year. For Chinese New Year meal, fish is usually cooked as a whole.
Side Dishes (salad, vegetable stir fry)
21. Chinese Fried Peanuts (油酥花生米)