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Posts Tagged ‘Chinese New Year’

Traditional Lunar New Year Dishes and Their Significance

The Chinese Lunar New Year is January 31. For Cooking Channel’s Luke Nyugen, that means cooking fantastic food with his family, everyone wearing red, and wishing for prosperity and luck. In this web-only video, Luke shows you what he cooked with his family to celebrate last year and why:

Check out more web-only videos with Luke Nyugen celebrating the Lunar New Year.

Watch Cooking Channel all day on January 31 to celebrate Chinese New Year with Ching-He Huang and Easy Chinese from 7am to 4pm ET, Restaurant Redemption from 4pm to 8pm ET and Ching’s Chinese New Year special at 8pm ET.

Happy Chinese New Year! and Congrats on Not Being Eaten Alive

Chinese New Year Recipes

Ever wonder who came up with the idea that “everybody’s Irish” on St. Patrick’s Day? Whoever it was, I think most of America owes them a huge thank you, or at least a shot of Jameson. But why stop there? Isn’t it time we open ourselves up to the traditions and cuisines of other cultures — especially when the cuisine is insanely delicious? Today is Chinese New Year and it’s the perfect opportunity for everyone to “be Chinese” for a day.

Tonight at 8pm ET on Ching’s Chinese New Year, host Ching-He Huang will share her “blueprint” for a fun and fortuitous Chinese New Year celebration, giving you the inside scoop on decorations, firecrackers and a mouthwatering Chinese feast that’s sure to bring you good luck in the year of the snake. Now, if you live in a city like San Francisco or New York, chances are you’re somewhat familiar with the loud and colorful festivities of Chinese New Year. (It’s hard to miss a huge red dragon marching down Main Street.) But why all the flare, you ask? It’s a holiday steeped in tradition and superstition, and it all begins with one fantastic legend. Gather around children; it’s story time:

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Dumplings Recipe for Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year Dumplings
Photo by Kankana Saxena
It is common knowledge that dumplings are considered to be lucky and are eaten for the Chinese New Year (lunar calendar), usually celebrated in February. But have you ever wondered why? “My mother is from Hong Kong,” says home cook Andrew Schrage, co-owner of MoneyCrashers.com, a financial fitness blog, “so I have always been very superstitious and cognizant of Chinese traditions. I’ve heard that the shape of dumplings resembles the gold coins of ancient China, symbolizing prosperity.”

Schrage says making dumplings was serious business in his family when he was growing up, and for the longest time only his mother was allowed to do it. “It was only after a lot of practice that my older brother or I would be allowed to help prepare the dumplings for our New Year’s meal. It was almost a rite of passage,” he says. Though it is traditional to make dumplings for New Year’s celebrations, Schrage enjoys eating them so much that now he makes them year-round.

Chef Chris Yeo serves a delicate array of dim sum at his restaurant Sino in San Jose, California, and says, “Dim sum, a type of dumpling, means ‘a little something from the heart’ and symbolizes fortune and good luck. They are small and shaped like coins, further emphasizing the good luck symbol.” He adds that dumplings resemble the ingots that once were China’s currency, so eating them brings hope of an auspicious and fortunate year. Some cooks stuff a lump of sugar in a dumpling to ensure sweetness! And there is even a tradition of hiding a coin in a dumpling now and then. “If you don’t break a tooth [when you eat the coin-filled dumpling], you are considered lucky for the year,” says Yeo.

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Chinese New Year: Recipes for the Year of the Dragon

There are many traditions and superstitions surrounding the Chinese New Year, which Steamy Kitchen’s Jaden Hair outlined for us, but as we enter the year of the Dragon, we at Cooking Channel are most excited about the holiday’s fifteen days of feasting. (Naturally.) This year, the Chinese New Year falls on Monday, January 23.

Steering clear of squid (eating the tentacled creatures during the celebration symbolizes getting fired in the coming year), we’ve rounded up some of our best Chinese recipes for your at-home celebration:

Wok-Cooked Monkfish with Sesame Soy Sauce
Cooking a fish whole — including head and tail — symbolizes togetherness and unity. Enjoy this dish on New Year’s Eve and then partake in the leftovers the next day to gurantee having more than enough food in the coming year.

Zesty Chile Tiger Prawns
Forecast a year filled with happiness and laughter with this delicious garlic and chile-flavored shrimp dish.

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Chinese New Year Gifts

Fruit such as kumquats, oranges, pomelo and mandarin orange symbolize happiness, good fortune and good health.

Part of the Chinese New Year tradition is the act of graciously giving and graciously receiving.  I remember making the rounds as a kid in Hong Kong – my parents would present baskets of fruit, a special dish or a bottle of wine; and all the kids got Red Envelopes or “hong bow.” If you’re invited to someone’s house to celebrate Chinese New Year, there are certain gifts that symbolize wonderful things — and then there are the no-no’s.

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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.

Continue Reading Chinese New Year 2011 is the Year of the Rabbit

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