World Tour: Chinese New Year

[ 1 ] January 28, 2011 |

Millions will be ringing in the Year of the Rabbit on the Chinese New Year, which falls on February 3rd this year.  Just like here in the States, the beginning of a new year is commemorated with family, celebrations and traditionally fortune-bringing dishes.  Since airline tickets to China aren’t cheap, you can celebrate the occasion in your very own home with the preparation of a couple of traditional, Chinese New Year dishes.

The Food Network offers several Chinese New Year dishes, both traditional and with modern flare.

Traditional Mandarin Fried Rice:

This recipe cooks in just 12 minutes and serves four.

  • Canola oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons minced ginger
  • 1 bunch chopped scallions, green and white separated
  • 1 lapchang, diced (Chinese sausage), can substitute with 4 strips of cooked bacon
  • 8 cups cooked, day-old long grain rice
  • 3 tablespoons thin soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • Salt


In a wok, add 2 tablespoons of oil and quickly soft-scramble the eggs. Remove the eggs. In the same wok, coat with oil and stir-fry garlic and ginger. Add white scallions and lapchang. Add rice and mix thoroughly. Add soy sauce, white pepper and scrambled eggs. Check for seasoning. Serve immediately.


In some Chinese households, fish is part of dinner for New Year’s Eve, however; the dish is only partly eaten and the rest is saved for the next day.  This tradition symbolizes the Chinese phrase, “may there be surpluses every year,” which sounds the same as “may there be fish every year.”

Chinese Whole Fish with Black Bean Sauce:

This dish cooks in just 28 minutes and serves four.


  • Peanut oil or vegetable oil, for frying
  • 2 (1 1/2 to 2-pound) Petrole soles, scaled and eviscerated, head off
  • 2 tablespoons Chinese fermented black beans, rinsed well and drained
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon mirin
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons minced ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • Red Pepper Dipping Sauce, recipe follows, accompaniment
  • Steamed white rice, accompaniment
  • 1/4 cup green onions sliced on the bias, garnish


In a large wok or pot, heat the vegetable oil to 400 degrees F.

Make 2 or 3 slashes diagonally across the flesh of each side of the fish.

In a small bowl, mash the black beans and garlic. Add the rice wine, oil, ginger, sugar, pepper flakes, and salt, and whisk to combine. Rub the mixture over the outside of the fish, rubbing onto the slashes.

In a shallow bowl, combine the cornstarch and flour. Dredge the fish in the mixture and shake to remove any excess. Carefully slide the flour-coated fish into the hot oil. Fry until golden brown, about 5 to 8 minutes, turning as necessary with tongs. Remove and drain on paper towels.

To serve, arrange the fried fish on a platter with the red pepper sauce and rice. Garnish with the chopped green onions and serve immediately.

Red Pepper Dipping Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dried red chile flakes
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons peanut oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green onions
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger

Combine all the ingredients in a decorative bowl and mix. Set aside at room temperature until ready to serve.

Yield: about 1/3 cup


Don’t worry if your United Airlines points aren’t where you want them to be for a flight to China.  Introduce your friends and family to something new and celebrate the Chinese New Year in the comfort of your own home.

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Category: holiday cooking, World Tour

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  1. Mary says:

    I love lapchang. Then again, I just love fat. That’s where the flavor is. My mom uses Spam instead of sausage sometimes. Strangely, it’s good.

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