January 22 marks the start of the Year of the Rabbit in Chinese culture.
Chinese New Year runs until February 5, and represents the beginning of the new year in the traditional Chinese calendar, which follows the phases of the moon.
For many, the food is one of the most important parts for bringing in the New Year.
There are 12 foods that are considered ‘lucky’ in Chinese culture, which includes fish, rice balls, longevity noodles, spring rolls and lots more.
Liao Lok Hang, a cook at the Oriental Mart said: ” Every Chinese dish brings the eater something, fish brings prosperity, dumplings bring wealth.”
“It’s important to share with family and friends too so they benefit too”, he added.
Here are five easy recipes for you to try at home with friends or family to celebrate the Lunar New Year.
Dumplings (jiǎozi in Mandarin Chinese)
- 1 pound ground pork (any meat or meat substitutes can be used)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large egg, beaten (egg substitutes can be used)
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped Chinese chives
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 ½ tablespoons sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
- 50 dumpling wrappers
- ½ cup vegetable oil for frying, or as needed
- ½ cup soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon seasoned rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped Chinese chives
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- 1 teaspoon sriracha
Prepare dumplings: Mix pork, garlic, egg, chives, soy sauce, sesame oil, and ginger in a large bowl until thoroughly combined.
Spoon some of your filling onto a dumpling wrapper, wet the edges and crimp closed.
Place dumplings into a pan of heated oil and cook until browned.
Pour in one cup of water after two minutes, cover the pan and cook until they are tender, which should be about five minutes.
Serve with dipping sauce and enjoy!
2. Spring rolls
- ½ pound ground pork (any meat or meat substitutes can be used)
- 1 cup finely shredded cabbage
- ¼ cup finely shredded carrot
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- ½ teaspoon sesame oil
- ½ tablespoon oyster sauce
- 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger root
- 1 ½ teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon chilli sauce
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon water
- 12 (7 inch square) spring roll wrappers
- 4 teaspoons vegetable oil
Cook pork on a medium heat.
Once cooked, mix the pork with your vegetables.
Mix cornstarch and water in a small bowl.
Place 1 tablespoon of the pork mixture in the centre of spring roll wrappers.
Roll wrappers around the mixture, folding edges inward to close.
Moisten fingers in the cornstarch and water mixture, and brush wrapper seams to seal.
Bake in oven at 220 degrees celcius for 20 minutes.
3. Chinese steamed chicken
- 1 pound red snapper fillets
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 2 shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 1 tomato, quartered
- ½ fresh red chile pepper, seeded and chopped
- 2 sprigs cilantro, finely chopped
Bring around 1 1/2 inches of water to boil in a steamer fitted with a basket large enough for the snapper to lie flat.
Season snapper with salt and pepper, and place in the steamer basket.
Top fish with ginger, and drizzle with soy sauce and sesame oil.
Place shiitake mushrooms, tomato, and red chile pepper in the steamer basket.
Steam fish 15 minutes, or until easily flaked with a fork. Sprinkle with cilantro.
4. Chinese scallion pancakes
For the Dough:
- 2 cups bread flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
- ¾ cup very hot water
For the Oil Mixture:
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
- 1 bunch green onions, mostly green parts, thinly sliced
- 1 ½ tablespoons vegetable oil, or as needed
Combine bread flour and salt in a large bowl.
Make a well in the middle and pour in hot water.
Mix together with a wooden spoon to form a shaggy dough.
On a lightly floured surface, knead dough until sticky but relatively smooth and elastic.
Wrap in a plastic wrap and let dough rest for two hours.
Mix your oils together with flour in a pan over medium heat until it starts to bubble, which should be about three minutes.
Leave to cool to room temperature.
Unwrap dough and cut in half.
Roll out into a tube and press down with your fingers.
Use a rolling pin to flatten dough into a rectangular shape, flipping over and dusting lightly with flour halfway through.
Brush oil mixture onto the dough.
Sprinkle scallions on top.
Heat oil in a pan over high heat, place pancakes onto pan and cook until crispy and browned for around four minutes per side.
5. Chinese Fa Gao (Fortune Cake)
For a sweet treat, try making this fortune-bringing cake:
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 130ml hot water
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
Melt brown sugar with hot water and set aside.
Combine flour with baking powder.
Add the sugar water.
Stir the batter in one direction for around 3-5 minutes.
Pour batter to moulds.
Bring enough water to boil in a large wok or deep pot, set up the steamer and place the batter in when the water begins to boil.
Cover the lid and continue steam for around 20 to 25 minutes.