Although the Chinese New Year falls on a different date every year (this year it is Jan. 23), the holiday is a time when people celebrate the end of winter and beginning of spring, while welcoming in new opportunities and prosperity for the year ahead.
Out with the old, in with the new!
If you haven't before, join the Chinese New Year celebration this year!
Almost everyone can use a little "out with the old, in with the new" in their lives! This year marks the Year of the Dragon in Chinese culture. As a mythical creature, the dragon once symbolized an emperor and power. Today, it signifies success and happiness. Something we can all appreciate!
Like with any holiday, there are traditions and celebrations for the Chinese New Year that include family, friends, and of course, food! Ready to celebrate? If you don't normally celebrate the Chinese New Year, give it a go! Who needs an excuse to gather with friends and family to eat and have a great time?
Prep, prep, party!
Before all the fun begins on New Year's Eve, there are a few matters that are traditionally handled:
Clean your house to get rid of the old things you no longer need
Resolve any differences with family, friends or neighbors
Buy red banners to hang as well as red, orange and gold decorations
Pay respect to your ancestors
Once Chinese New Year's Day arrives and the fun and feasts begin:
Don't sweep the floor or wash your hair
Wear new clothes (preferably red)
Don't drop your chopsticks
The Chinese New Year is a time to celebrate and food plays a significant role in the joy! The recipes for the Chinese dishes below are variations of several traditional dishes that are full of flavor and easy to make!
Edamame dumpling recipe
Since dumplings are rounded, they can symbolize family reunion as well as wealth and prosperity (the roundness is also reminiscent of ancient Chinese money). Families often gather to prepare dumplings together for the New Year's celebration. This SheKnows dumpling recipe makes a great appetizer to serve during the festivities.
1 cup frozen shelled edamame
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon hot pepper flakes
3 garlic cloves, minced
20 round wonton wrappers
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 cup water, divided
2 tablespoons green onions, finely sliced
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon honey
Cook the edamame according to the package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water. Combine the edamame, lemon juice, sesame oil, cumin, red pepper flakes, garlic and salt in a food processor or blender, and blend until smooth.
Take the wonton wrappers from their package and keep them covered with a damp towel. Form your dumplings, one at a time. Use one wrapper and place it in your hand. Add about one teaspoon of the mixture to the center. Dab the edges of the wrapper with water and fold up all the edges. Pinch the edges together to form a closed circular dumpling. Lay dumpling on a flat surface and sprinkle them with cornstarch.
Spray a large skillet with the nonstick cooking spray and turn the heat to medium-high. Put half of the dumplings in the skillet and cook for about one minute or until bottom is just browned. Flip the dumplings onto one side and fill the skillet with 1/4 cup of water. Place a lid on top and cook another 30 seconds.
Take the lid off of the pan and cook one more minute or until most of the water is evaporated. Continue cooking in same manner with second set of dumplings.
To make sauce, whisk together green onions, soy sauce and honey.
Cold Asian noodle salad recipe
Noodles are served to represent a long life. You must, however, ensure that you don't cut or break the noodles as you prepare, serve or eat them! This Asian noodle salad dish is a different twist on the traditional way to serve noodles. Full of veggies and flavor, this is definitely a party food!
6 ounces linguine or spaghetti
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon five-spice powder (look in the Asian food aisle of the grocery store)
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup shredded red cabbage
1 cup coarsely shredded carrots
1 cup red bell pepper strips, cut in 2-inch pieces
1/2 cup green onions, sliced diagonally
4 ounces (1 cup) pea pods, cut diagonally in half and blanched
1 (8 ounce) can of sliced water chestnuts, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package. Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, sugar, five-spice powder, red pepper flakes and garlic and mix together well.
Put the cooked pasta in a medium bowl and pour half the dressing over it and toss it to coat. Refrigerate the pasta for about 30 minutes so the flavors blend together.
Use a large bowl and combine the refrigerated pasta, vegetables and the remaining dressing. Toss to coat, and serve.
Pan seared duck breast recipe
Duck (think Peking duck) is a traditional dish served for the festivities during the Chinese New Year. An easy duck preparation is definitely the way to go, and these are delightful!
6 boneless, skinless duck breast halves
3 tablespoons fruit-flavored vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons minced shallots
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
Extra olive oil
Place the vinegar, two tablespoons olive oil, honey, shallots, garlic, oregano, sage, thyme, salt, pepper and allspice into a large bowl and whisk to combine.
Add the duck breasts to the bowl and then cover and place in the refrigerator for two to up to 12 hours to marinate.
Remove the duck breasts from the marinade, pat dry and then brush both sides with some olive oil.
Put some olive oil into a large skillet and place over medium-high heat. Once oil begins to shimmer, add the duck breasts and cook each side for three minutes. Serve immediately.
Fresh cinnamon oranges recipe
Oranges and tangerines are often served during the Chinese New Year celebrations. It's said their golden color represents riches and wealth. Try this super-simple cinnamon orange recipe and serve it as dessert. It's easy to make and is a refreshing treat during the winter.
4 navel or blood oranges
2 tablespoons orange juice
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Cinnamon sticks and star anise to garnish
Using a sharp paring knife, peel the oranges and remove the pith.
Slice each orange into five slices and place into four wide dessert bowls.
In a small bowl, add the orange juice, lemon juice, sugar and cinnamon and whisk together until combined.
Spoon the juice mixture evenly over the oranges and garnish with cinnamon sticks and star anise.
Watch: How to make fortune cookies
Making homemade fortune cookies is a snap, and your loved ones will get a kick out of their personalized predictions.