Chinese New Year or the “Spring Festival” begins according to the Chinese calendar which consists of both Gregorian and lunar-solar calendar systems. Because the track of the new moon changes from year to year, Chinese New Year can begin anytime between late January and mid-February.
The Chinese New Year is a celebration of family, remembering those who have passed on and the preparation of a new year, cleaning the house, paying off debts and being thankful for all blessings. This year Chinese New Year begins on February 14 and is the year of the tiger.
When my boys were little we would make a different dragon each year. One year we made an enormous beautiful Chinese dragon made totally from recyclable goods which we paraded around our neighborhood. We would decorate our home with homemade Chinese lanterns and our guests would join us for a parade, good food and arts and crafts. One year my husband taught the children about pi with a fun math game.
The Chinese New Year is a celebration of family and friends, remembering those who have passed on and the preparation of a new year. Cleaning the house, paying off debts and thanking God for all of their blessings is an intricate part of the celebration.
With Chinese New Year right around the corner, these recipes can be found on our table. You are sure to love them, too! No Chinese New Year can go without our Steamed Dumplings with Nathaniel’s Dipping Sauce and Fortune cookie recipe. Handwritten on red paper and placed inside each fortune cookie is “Gung Hay Fat Choy” which means “Best wishes and congratulations. Have a prosperous a New Year”. No celebration should be without special treats.
The best part of Chinese New Year is that my family and I get into the kitchen together and make memories! Try these recipes and enjoy a fun day with your family!
Steamed Chinese Dumplings
2 pkg. wonton wrappers
1 lb. ground pork, uncooked
3 c. shredded Chinese or Napa cabbage
4 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tbsp. onion powder
½ tsp. ground ginger
Combine ground pork, cabbage, soy sauce, garlic and onion powders. Turn wonton wrapper so it’s shaped like a diamond. Place a good tablespoon or so in the middle of the wonton. Moisten edges with water, fold over and seal.
Using a steamer, cook 12 to 15 minutes. Serve with Nate’s Dipping Sauce.
Nate’s Delicious Dipping Sauce
2 tbsp. light soy sauce
1 tbsp. rice vinegar
1 tbsp. toasted sesame oil
1 tbsp. teriyaki marinade
A good shake of dried red crushed pepper
½ tsp. lemon juice
A healthy shake of garlic powder
Combine all ingredients. Enjoy with dipping sauce. Boy, my kid can cook!
Chinese Fortune Cookies
Makes approximately 10 cookies
We make these special cookies twice a year during Chinese New Year and Valentine’s Day. We always use red paper during Chinese New Year, and we use pink and red paper on Valentine’s Day. We write messages that say I Love You, You’re Very Nice, I Appreciate You and You’re my Valentine.
2 egg whites
½ tsp. pure vanilla extract
½ tsp. pure almond extract
3 tbsp. vegetable oil
8 tbsp. unbleached all-purpose flour
1.5 tsp. cornstarch
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
8 tbsp. granulated sugar
3 tsp. water
Write messages on pieces of paper that are 3 to 3 1/2 inches long and 1/2 inch wide. We like to write them on red paper during the holidays. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Grease two 9 x 13 inch baking sheets.
In a bowl, lightly beat the egg white, vanilla and almond extracts and oil until frothy.
Sift together the flour, cornstarch, salt and sugar in a separate bowl. Stir in the water.
Add the flour into the egg white mixture. Stir until you have a smooth batter. Do not over mix. The batter should not be runny and should drop easily off a wooden spoon.
Use a tablespoon to measure and pour onto a cookie sheet. Use the back of a metal spoon to make a circular motion. The batter will be very thin and each cookie should be about 4 inches in diameter. Place cookies at least 3 to 4 inches apart. Only make 2 to 3 cookies at a time.
Bake until the outer layer begins to brown. This usually takes about 12-15 minutes.
You must work very quickly, so use a spatula to remove the cookie, flip it over and quickly place the message in the middle, fold and turn the cookie downward. Place in a muffin tin to hold its shape. Remove once cooled. Continue making cookies.