Thursday, February 11, 2010

Happy Chinese New Year

The Chinese New Year is this Sunday, February 14, 2010. This is the year of the Tiger. It is the first day of the Chinese lunar calendar which is based on the cycles of the moon. It is also called the Spring Festival because it marks the end of winter and the beginning of Spring!

What are some of the traditions of the Chinese New Year?

It is traditional to clean your house starting a month before the New Year to make room for good luck. The color red represents happiness and is used to decorate. Gold is a sign of wealth. Doors and windows are decorated with special red cutouts called Jianzhi and scrolls with good wishes for prosperity and wealth. Families wear red and celebrate with a feast followed by fireworks which are thought to scare away evil spirits. Red envelopes filled with an even amount of money are given away as a symbol of good luck. Lions are considered to be good omens and the lion dance repels demons. The dragon represents strength, wisdom, and good fortune.

If you want to have your own celebration you can buy decorations from the Oriental Trading Company or Wear red clothes and buy some Chinese takeout food or try some simple Chinese dishes. Afterwards, set off some fireworks.

Here are a few of my favorite Americanized Chinese dishes:

Pepper Steak
1 ½ lbs. sirloin
½ tsp. salt
2 medium chopped onions
1 cup beef broth
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 clove garlic
2 green peppers cut into 1 inch pieces
2 tbsp corn starch
½ cup cold water
Trim fat and bone from sirloin and cut into strips. Spray skillet with Pam and brown meat. Season and push to side of skillet... Add onions and cook until tender. Stir in broth, soy sauce, and garlic. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Add sliced green pepper. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Blend cornstarch and water. Gradually stir into meat mixture. Cook stirring constantly until mixture thickens and starts to boil. Serve over rice.

Sticky Chinese Chicken
1 cup finely crushed onion and garlic croutons
¼ cup cornstarch
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into 1 inch pieces
1/1 cup canola oil
In a large bowl: whisk crouton crumbs, and cornstarch. Stir in soy sauce. Add chicken and toss until completely coated. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add chicken and cook covered for 20-25 minutes until crispy and cooked all the way through. Turn 4-5 times during cooking to avoid burning. Drain on paper towels. Serve immediately over rice.

Sesame Chicken
1/3 cup sesame seeds
2 tbsp. flour
1 egg white
¼ tsp. Asian sesame oil
½ tsp salt
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tbsp butter or margarine
Mix sesame seeds and flour. Beat egg white with sesame oil and salt. Dip chicken breasts into egg white, letting excess drip off, coat with sesame seed mixture.
Heat oil and butter in 12" nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook chicken 5 to 6 minutes per side, until browned and cooked through.

Serve any of those dishes with rice and sugar snap peas.
For dessert have some fortune cookies.

Gung Hay Fat Choy!!!!!

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