Chinese With Ease
Secrets and Symbols for a Chinese New Year Feast
(Family Features) - Starting January 26, you've got a whole new reason - and a whole new season - to celebrate. It's the start of the 15-day Chinese New Year festival and the first day of lunar year 4707, the Year of the Ox.
Chinese New Year is all about spectacle, from the fireworks and dancing dragons to the fabulous food. That's why it's a holiday anyone can enjoy ... and a perfect time to host a party with a surefire theme and plenty of crowd-pleasing surprises.
For most home cooks, the biggest surprise of all is that Chinese cooking can be both fun and easy. The secret is to start with foolproof recipes and high-quality, authentic sauces that do most of the heavy lifting for you.
And the good news is, they're no further away than the Asian section of your supermarket, where you'll find all kinds of ready-to-use Kikkoman sauces. In addition to the traditional flavors of teriyaki, sweet and sour and soy sauce, try some of the more exotic options such as the citrus-spiked soy sauce known as Ponzu. They're all made right here in the United States with North American ingredients, expertly blended and balanced for authentic Asian flavor.
Symbols Made Simple
From the décor and color scheme to the food, Chinese New Year is rich in beautiful symbols. If you've got a round table, this is the time to use it, because it is a sign of wholeness. Decorate it with red and gold accents to represent good luck and prosperity.
Noodles - in dishes such as Wonton Soup and silky Sesame Ginger Noodles - stand for longevity. Roasted Duck is a traditional New Year favorite, its golden color symbolizing good fortune for the year ahead. And Steamed Fish is a centuries-old sign of abundance.
Round Out the Menu
Supplement the meal with other symbolic foods, such as:
- store-bought pot stickers or spring rolls (said to bring prosperity because they resemble gold ingots)
- a bowl of tangerines or oranges (their Chinese names sound like the words for "luck" and "wealth")
- fortune cookies to go with dessert - you can even insert your own customized fortunes for the year ahead.
Get the Guide
For more Chinese New Year entertaining tips and recipes, download Kikkoman's official Chinese New Year Celebration Guide at kikkomanusa.com.
Did You Know?
The term "Wonton" comes from the Chinese phrase swallowing clouds.
1 (4 to 5-pound) fresh or thawed duckling,
3 tablespoons Kikkoman Soy Sauce
2 tablespoons dry sherry
1 tablespoon five-spice powder*
1 tablespoon powdered ginger
1 teaspoon ground pepper
Heat oven to 350°F. Rinse duckling; drain and pat dry. Discard excess fat; pierce skin thoroughly with fork. Combine soy sauce, sherry, five-spice, ginger and pepper in large bowl. Add duckling; rub with mixture and let stand 30 minutes.
Place on rack in shallow roasting pan, skin side up. Roast 1 hour and 10 minutes. Remove from oven; drain off pan drippings. Turn oven temperature to broil and raise oven rack 4 to 5 inches from heat source. Broil duckling 2 to 3 minutes or until skin is crisp.
*If five-spice powder is not available, combine 1 teaspoon crushed fennel seed, 1/2 teaspoon crushed anise seed, and 1/2 teaspoon each ground cinnamon, cloves and ginger.
3/4 pound sole fillets
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, slivered
2 green onions, slivered
1 tablespoon Kikkoman Soy Sauce
1 teaspoon dry sherry
1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Arrange fish on heatproof plate that fits in bamboo steamer or on wire rack placed in large skillet with cover. Sprinkle ginger and green onions evenly over fish.
Combine soy sauce, sherry and sesame oil in small bowl. Pour enough water into wok or skillet to come about 1 inch below steamer or rack; bring to boil. Place plate in steamer or on rack. Cover and steam 2 to 3 minutes, or until fish flakes easily when tested with fork. Drain off liquid from plate; keep fish warm.
Heat vegetable oil in small saucepan until very hot; drizzle evenly over fish. Immediately top with soy sauce mixture.
1 pound uncooked fresh Chinese-style
thin egg noodles, spaghetti,
vermicelli or linguine
1/4 cup Kikkoman Soy Sauce
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3/4 cup sliced green onions and tops
2 tablespoons Asian sesame oil
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
Cook noodles according to package directions, omitting salt; drain, rinse under cold water and drain thoroughly.
Combine soy sauce, vinegar, ginger, sugar, cornstarch and water. Heat vegetable oil in hot wok or large skillet over high heat. Add green onions and stir-fry 10 seconds. Add soy sauce mixture; cook, stirring, until sauce comes to a boil. Add noodles; cook, stirring, 1 minute or until sauce returns to boil and noodles are evenly coated with sauce. Remove from heat. Add sesame oil and sesame seeds; toss well to combine.
1/4 pound lean ground pork
2 ounces medium raw shrimp, peeled,
deveined and minced
2 tablespoons minced green onions
4 teaspoons Kikkoman Soy Sauce,
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
24 wonton wrappers
3 (14-ounce) cans chicken broth
1/4 cup dry sherry
1/2 pound bok choy
2 tablespoons chopped green onions and tops
1/2 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
Combine pork, shrimp, minced green onions, 2 teaspoons soy sauce, cornstarch and ginger in medium bowl; mix well.
Arrange several wonton wrappers on clean surface; cover remaining wrappers to prevent drying out. Place 1 teaspoon pork mixture in center of each wrapper. Fold wrapper over filling to form a triangle. Gently fold center point down and moisten left corner with water. Twist and overlap opposite corner over moistened corner; press firmly to seal. Repeat with remaining pork mixture and wrappers.
Bring 4 cups water to boil in large saucepan. Add wontons. Simmer 3 minutes; remove with slotted spoon. Discard water; pour broth and sherry into same saucepan. Cut bok choy crosswise into 1/2-inch slices, separating stems from leaves. Add stems to broth mixture; bring to boil.
Add wontons; simmer 1 minute. Add bok choy leaves and chopped green onions; simmer 1 minute longer. Remove from heat; stir in remaining 2 teaspoons soy sauce and sesame oil. Serve immediately.