Thursday, January 30, 2014

Chinese New Year Dinner Party Homecooking

On January 31st, it’s Chinese New Year and time to enter the year of the Horse. 

Food is an important part of the Chinese culture and a lot of significance is assigned to different foods for the New Year. Many foods are served up to usher in wealth, happiness and good fortune.

This year, I decided to ring in Chinese New Year by cooking a vegan meal full of lucky foods to usher in the new year. I’m so lucky to live in Vancouver where I have access to Chinese markets and grocery products. I can even pick up T &T products from the Real Canadian Superstore so I don’t need to make a separate trip!

Wonton Soup: Dumplings are supposed to be lucky and bring wealth and prosperity. I stuffed twonton wrappers with minced tofu, mushrooms, garlic, ginger, and soy sauce, and I tried to shape the wontons to resemble a little gold ingot (ancient Chinese money). I used my own homemade veggie broth seasoned with soy sauce and garnished with green onion and boy choy (cut in long thin strands because leafy greens are supposed to be lucky and long food (noodles, beans, etc) implies long life.

Rice cakes: The Chinese name of rice cakes ‘nian gao,’ literally means a “higher year” or year of
improvement or advancement. I served Senbei rice crackers as an appy...close enough?

Buddhist Delight: This Buddhist vegetarian stew chock full of eggplant, snow peas, cabbage and more, known as jai in Cantonese, is traditionally served on the first day of the Chinese New Year to bring good luck. Also on the plate was a Sesame Radish (Chinese for radish is tsai tou, which means “good omen”) bean sprout salad and steamed white rice.

Did you know?

The Chinese zodiac follows a 12-year cycle, each of the years being named after an animal.

According to the Chinese calendar, 2014 is the Year of the Horse. The Chinese believe that people born in a particular year take on the characteristics of the animal associated with that year.

If you were born in the year of the horse, you are likely:
Cheerful, popular and smart with money. Wise, talented and good with your hands. 

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