Chinese New Year 2011 is the Year of the Rabbit

Chinese New Year Recipes

Chinese New Year Recipes: Sesame Noodles with Chicken (left), Shrimp and Snow Pea Salad (top right), and Zesty Chile Tiger Prawns (bottom right)

I’ve never been the lucky sort, lottery tickets aren’t my thing and I can’t even recall winning a single game of Bingo. Las Vegas is all about the food, not the slots and I don’t even bother entering sweepstakes. That’s why when Chinese New Year rolls around the beginning of each year, I don’t count on luck to carry me through 12 months, but rather go the Chinese route — eat my way to please the gods of good fortune.

This year, Chinese New Year begins on February 3 and goes on for 15 days — I can’t think any other holiday that lets you feast for that long! I’ve hand-picked a big list of recipes for you to try — and since the Chinese are incredibly superstitious, there are rules of what to eat and what not to eat. One of them (on the not-eat list) is squid, called “Yow Yu.” In the olden days, workers would have to travel far from home to work, often bringing personal belongings rolled up in a blanket. When a worker was fired, he was ordered to “yow,” or roll up his blanket, packing his stuff to go home. Serving squid symbolizes being fired in the coming year. If your co-workers or subordinates pleasantly surprises you with a dish of succulent squid on February 3th, be very suspicious.

Gong Hay Fat Choy! (in Cantonese)
Gong Xi Fa Cai! (in Mandarin)
Happy Chinese New Year!

This will be the year of the Rabbit – and according to The Holiday Spot, here’s the horoscope for 2011:

A placid year, very much welcomed and needed after the ferocious year of the Tiger. We should go off to some quiet spot to lick our wounds and get some rest after all the battles of the previous year.

Good taste and refinement will shine on everything and people will acknowledge that persuasion is better than force. A congenial time in which diplomacy, international relations and politics will be given a front seat again. We will act with discretion and make reasonable concessions without too much difficulty.

A time to watch out that we do not become too indulgent. The influence of the Rabbit tends to spoil those who like too much comfort and thus impair their effectiveness and sense of duty.

Law and order will be lax; rules and regulations will not be rigidly enforced. No one seems very inclined to bother with these unpleasant realities. They are busy enjoying themselves, entertaining others or simply taking it easy. The scene is quiet and calm, even deteriorating to the point of somnolence. We will all have a tendency to put off disagreeable tasks as long as possible

Money can be made without too much labor. Our life style will be languid and leisurely as we allow ourselves the luxuries we have always craved for. A temperate year with unhurried pace. For once, it may seem possible for us to be carefree and happy without too many annoyances.

Chinese New Year Recipes

Chinese New Year Recipes: Pork Egg Rolls with Sweet and Sour Sauce (bottom left) and Chinese Dumpling Soup (right)

Recipes from Cooking Channel and Food Network

Ellie's Shrimp and Snow Pea Salad

Ellie's Shrimp and Snow Pea Salad

Recipes from Steamy Kitchen

My Mother’s Famous Chinese Egg Rolls

My Mother’s Famous Chinese Egg Rolls

—> More Chinese New Year Recipes on Steamy Kitchen

Recipes from New Asian Cuisine

Prosperity Cakes (Fatt Gou)

Prosperity Cakes (Fatt Gou) from New Asian Cuisine

Chinese New Year Recipes from Around the Web

Steamed Chicken in Lotus Leaf

Steamed Chicken in Lotus Leaf from Rasa Malaysia

Share your favorite recipes for the Chinese New Year in the comments below!

Jaden Hair is a television chef, food columnist and award-winning food blogger at Steamy Kitchen. You can watch her cook twice a month on Daytime Show, syndicated in 120 markets. Jaden is a food columnist for Discovery Health, TLC and for Tampa Tribune. Jaden is a cookbook author of The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook. With over 85,000 followers, Jaden is one of the most influential people in food on Twitter. Find out more about Jaden here.