Chinese New Year, also called the Lunar New Year, is a time to enjoy culinary traditions with friends and family. Many symbolic foods are served to bring luck, wealth and a long life. Tangerines and oranges, for example, are displayed and eaten because the Chinese words for “gold” and “orange” sound alike, while the word for “tangerine” sounds like “luck.” When possible, the leaves are left intact because they symbolize longevity.
Keep reading for two more symbolic foods with recipes!
1. In Cantonese, the word for “lettuce” sounds like “rising fortune.” This makes lettuce-wrapped foods popular this time of year. Try this simple recipe Asian Lettuce Wraps, which has a refreshing contrast of fresh veggies with flavorful chicken. You can substitute firm tofu for chicken to make a vegetarian dish.
ASIAN LETTUCE WRAPS
Recipe from House of Tsang
- 3/4 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, diced
- 1 8oz can sliced water chestnuts, drained & cut into quarters
- 1/3 cup House of Tsang Classic Stir Fry Sauce
- 1 tablespoon peanut oil
- 6 leaves iceberg or butter lettuce
- 3/4 cup shredded carrots
- 3/4 cup julienned peapods
- Soy sauce, for serving
In a bowl, toss together chicken, water chestnuts and stir fry sauce. Cover, and refrigerate 1 hour. In a large wok or skillet, heat oil. Add chicken mixture and stir fry 5-7 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink. Arrange chicken mixture in center of each lettuce leaf. Top with carrots and peapods. Roll up lettuce and serve with soy sauce for dipping.
2. Long noodles are a popular Chinese New Year dish because they symbolize a long life. Keep the noodles as long as possible! This is a vegetarian dish, but you could certainly add your favorite protein before you begin to stir fry the veggies.
CITRUS LO MEIN
Recipe adapted from House of Tsang
- 1 9oz package of refrigerated linguine, such as Annie Chun’s
- 1 tablespoon peanut oil
- 2 cups coarsely chopped bok choy
- 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced assorted bell peppers (green, red, yellow, orange)
- 1/2 cup peapods, diagonally sliced in half
- 1/3 cup orange juice
- 1/4 cup House of Tsang Szechuan Spicy Stir Fry Sauce
- 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
- 1 11oz can mandarin oranges, drained
- 1/3 cup honey-roasted almonds, coarsely chopped
Cook linguine according to package directions, and drain. Meanwhile, in a wok or large skillet, heat oil. Add bok choy, bell peppers and peapods. Stir fry 3-4 minutes, or until bok choy is crisp-tender. In a small bowl, whisk together orange juice, stir fry sauce and soy sauce. Add linguine and orange juice mixture to wok. Stir fry 2-3 minutes, or until linguine is coated with sauce and heated thoroughly. Remove lo mein from heat. Gently stir in mandarin oranges. Sprinkle with almonds, if desired.