Tag Archives: chinese new year

Chinese New Year

10 Feb





Year of the Dragon

20 Jan

Monday may be the start of the Year of the Dragon, but around here, it’s going to be Year of the Dumpling.

We love the colour and excitement of Chinatown during the lunar new year celebration. And as much as we adore the cacophany of packed restaurants and all the tastes, we’re always inspired to try our hand at home with some exotic recipes.
We’ve been making traditional shu mai and har gow at home for years. But the idea of using chopped boneless country-style pork ribs and combining with gelatin might be our most authentic shu mai yet.

And there are some exciting new wave recipes we’re dying to finally try. Cook’s Illustrated has an interesting curried chicken with carrots and basil.

And for those too lazy to fill another dumpling wrapper, we have some chicken balls combining colourful shredded carrot and green onion, and turkey scallion balls with soy-ginger glaze.

So to start, here is Cook’s Illustrated’s take using a food processor to grind boneless country-style ribs in two batches: one chunky and one fine. Once combined, the smaller pieces helped hold the larger bits together and add a pleasant textural contrast. A mixture of powdered gelatin and cornstarch keeps the filling moist.

Do not trim the excess fat from the ribs; it contributes flavor and moistness. Use any size shrimp except popcorn shrimp; there’s no need to halve shrimp smaller than 26 to 30 per pound before processing.
Makes about 40 dumplings, serving 6 to 8 as an appetizer

Steamed Chinese Dumplings (Shu Mai)
From Cook’s Illustrated September 1, 2010
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon unflavored powdered gelatin
1 pound boneless country-style pork ribs , cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 pound shrimp, peeled, tails removed and halved lengthwise
1/4 cup water chestnuts , chopped
4 dried shiitake mushroom caps (about 3/4 ounce), soaked in hot water 30 minutes, squeezed dry, and cut into 1/4-inch dice
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon Chinese rice cooking wine (Shaoxing) or dry sherry
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1(1 pound) package 5 1/2 inch square egg roll wrappers
1/4 cup carrot, finely grated

Combine soy sauce and gelatin in small bowl. Set aside to allow gelatin to bloom, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, place half of pork in food processor and pulse until coarsely ground into approximate 1/8-inch pieces, about ten 1-second pulses; transfer to large bowl. Add shrimp and remaining pork to food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped into approximate ¼-inch pieces, about five 1-second pulses. Transfer to bowl with more finely ground pork. Stir in soy sauce mixture, water chestnuts, mushrooms, cornstarch, cilantro, sesame oil, wine, vinegar, sugar, ginger, salt, and pepper.

Divide egg roll wrappers into 3 stacks (6 to 7 per stack). Using 3-inch biscuit cutter, cut two 3-inch rounds from each stack of egg roll wrappers (you should have 40 to 42 rounds). Cover rounds with moist paper towels to prevent drying.

Working with 6 rounds at a time, brush edges of each round lightly with water. Place heaping tablespoon of filling into center of each round. Following illustrations below, form dumplings, crimping wrapper around sides of filling and leaving top exposed. Transfer to parchment-lined baking sheet, cover with damp kitchen towel, and repeat with remaining wrappers and filling. Top center of each dumpling with pinch of grated carrot.

Cut piece of parchment slightly smaller than diameter of steamer basket and place in basket. Poke about 20 small holes in parchment and lightly coat with nonstick cooking spray. Place batches of dumplings on parchment liner, making sure they are not touching. Set steamer over simmering water and cook, covered, until no longer pink, 8 to 10 minutes.

Serve immediately with chili oil.

Teriyaki Trail

1 Feb

teriyaki trail 1

Another vintage spread from the pages of Seventeen magazine, circa 1986, we think.
Even though it’s Japanese, Happy Chinese New Year!

teriyaki trail 2

Cantonese New Year

31 Jan


Join us for a playful retro nod towards the North Americanized Chinese food of our childhood.

Our neighbourhood takeout joint was Ming’s Kitchen; a 1970s Cantonese oasis for screaming, whining kids crazy for egg rolls.


For years, those hot, white plastic cylinders always contained the same order: wonton soup, chicken so gai or almond gai ding, moo goo gai pan, and of course, sweet and sour spareribs.


IMG_6170 (1).JPG

Curiously, the tender almond chicken is a treat we won’t outgrow. We’ll skip the deep-frying and the gravy cloak of cornstarch-thickened chicken broth and soy. Bright lemon sauce and a bed of braised bok choy sounds lovely.

ALMOND CHICKEN with lemon sauce
Serves 4
3/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 cups sliced almonds, broken into pieces (try some ground coursely)
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons water
2 whole boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons canola oil

Preheat oven to 400º. Place breadcrumbs in a medium bowl, and season with salt and pepper. Place almonds in a separate bowl, and set aside. Place eggs in a small bowl with 2 teaspoons water, and beat lightly. Dip chicken in egg mixture, wiping away excess with your fingers, and dip in breadcrumb mixture. Dredge until lightly coated. Dip in egg again, and then coat thoroughly with almonds.

Heat butter and oil in a 12-inch ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Sauté chicken until nicely browned, about 3 minutes, and turn over. Cook 1 minute more; then transfer pan to oven, and bake until chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes.

Lemon Sauce:

1 tablespoon slivered garlic

1 tablespoon slivered ginger

3/4 cup chicken stock

3 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon grated lemon rind

2 teaspoons cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons water

1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

With pan on high heat, add garlic and ginger and stir-fry for 30 seconds, then add stock, lemon juice, sugar, soy sauce and lemon rind. Bring to boil, add cornstarch mixture and sesame oil and stir until thickened. Remove from heat and toss with chicken.
Serve on bed of shredded crunchy iceberg lettuce or braised bok choy

Countdown to Chinese New Year

30 Jan

This week, Saucy Cherie is rolling out some vintage Seventeen magazine recipes for celebrating Chinese New Year.

This is from 1985. Vintage, baby.
get out your chopsticks 1get out your chopsticks 2



Longevity Noodles

24 Jan
Take out sesame noodles nyt
Take out sesame noodles nyt

“Shanghai Garden. May I help you?”
“I’d like to order some take-out.”
“Address, please.”
“331 West 78th Street. Apartment 4F. I’d like to order some chicken with broccoli in a brown…”
“Brown sauce with brown rice. Cold noodles. I know. Every night the same!”

Miranda Hobbes’s yen for brown sauce may elude us, but we are down with the cold noodles.

With Chinese New Year looming Feb. 3, we’re embarking on a countdown.

First, a NYT version and then, David Lebovitz. How can you go wrong?

Recipe from Sam Sifton, New York Times, adapted from Martin Yan, Marian Burros, and memory.
1 pound Chinese egg noodles (1/8,-inch-thick), frozen or (preferably) fresh, available in Asian markets

2 tablespoons sesame oil, plus a splash

3½ tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons Chinese rice vinegar

2 tablespoons Chinese sesame paste

1 tablespoon smooth peanut butter

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon finely grated ginger

2 teaspoons minced garlic

2 teaspoons chili-garlic paste, or to taste

Half a cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/8,-by- 1/8,-by-2-inch sticks

¼ cup chopped roasted peanuts.

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add noodles and cook until barely tender, about 5 minutes; they should retain a hint of chewiness. Drain, rinse with cold water, drain again and toss with a splash of sesame oil.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the remaining 2 tablespoons sesame oil, the soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame paste, peanut butter, sugar, ginger, garlic and chili-garlic paste.

3. Pour the sauce over the noodles and toss. Transfer to a serving bowl, and garnish with cucumber and peanuts. Serves 4.


The “Chinese sesame paste,” above, is made of toasted sesame seeds; it is not the same as tahini, the Middle Eastern paste made of plain, untoasted sesame. But you could use tahini in a pinch. You need only add a little toasted sesame oil to compensate for flavor, and perhaps some peanut butter to keep the sauce emulsified.

By all means, add some Sichuan peppercorns if you like: toast a tablespoon’s worth in a dry pan, crush lightly and whisk the resulting mess into your sauce.


David Lebovitz
Peanut Sauce

Four servings

This recipe makes about 2 cups (500ml) of peanut sauce, which is more than you’ll need for four servings. But it’s pretty great on white rice as an afternoon snack or French fries.

The chicken needs to be hand-shredded since the uneven surface makes it easier for the peanut sauce to adhere to the meat. Toast the peanuts in a 350ºF (180ºC) oven on a baking sheet for about twelve minutes, stirring a few times during baking, until they’re well-toasted.

2 cups (300g) dark roasted unsalted peanuts
1/2 to 3/4 cup (125-180ml) hot black tea
1/2 cup (125ml) oil, preferably peanut (see Notes) or coconut milk
1 tablespoon (10g) peeled and minced fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 small chiles, seeded and finely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt
1 tablespoon light or dark brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground Szechuan pepper (if available)
1/4 cup (60ml) fresh lime or lemon juice
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1 1/2 teaspoons chili paste or chili oil
1/3 cup (15g) packed cilantro sprigs or chives
1 tablespoon fish sauce

1 pound (450g) wide Chinese noodles, often called Shanghai noodles (see Notes)

2 chicken breasts, boneless or on the bone
1 large cucumber
sprigs of cilantro

1. Put the peanuts, 1/2 cup (125ml) of hot tea, and the oil or coconut milk in a blender.

2. Turn the machine on and let it run for a few minutes until the peanuts are almost smooth. Then add the remaining ingredients and let the machine run until the sauce is pureed.

3. Check the consistency. If it’s too thick for your liking, add up to another 1/4 cup (55ml) of tea.

4. Cook the noodles in a pot of boiling salted water according to the time on the package. (I usually cook them a little less, since I like them chewy.)

5. Once done, drain and immediately run cold water over the noodles in the colander, turning them with tongs to cool them as rapidly as possible. Toss the noodles in a drizzle of oil and set aside.

6. Put the chicken breasts in a medium saucepan, cover with cold water and add enough salt to estimate the saltiness of sea water. Cover and bring the water to a boil.

7. Once the water comes to a boil, turn off the heat and leave the chicken breasts in the water for twenty minutes, covered. After twenty minutes, remove the chicken breasts from the liquid and let sit until cool enough to handle.

8. Shred the chicken breasts by hand into bite-size strips.

9. Peel the cucumber. Cut it in half lengthwise then remove the seeds with a spoon. Slice the cucumber diagonally.

10. Divide the noodles between the four bowls, top with chicken and cucumbers, then add a few generous, heaping spoonfuls of peanut sauce. Garnish with sprigs of cilantro and encourage guests to mix everything together in their own bowls.

Storage Tips: The peanut sauce can be made up to one week in advance and refrigerated, or frozen for up to two months. The chicken breasts and the noodles can be cooked and refrigerated up to one day ahead.

Cold Sesame Noodles
Adapted from Susanna Foo’s Chinese Cuisine (Chapters), this noodle salad is garnished at the last minute with crisp vegetables.

2    tablespoons (25 ml) corn or olive oil

1    pound (500 g) fresh Chinese noodles


2    tablespoons (25 ml) oil

2    cloves garlic, minced

1/2    cup (125 ml) sesame paste or natural peanut butter

1/3    cup (75 ml) soy sauce

1    tablespoon (15 ml) balsamic vinegar

1-2    teaspoons (5-10 ml) Tabasco sauce

1    tablespoon (15 ml) sugar

1/3    cup (75 ml) chicken stock

1/4    cup (50 ml) finely chopped unsalted peanuts


1/2    cup (125 ml) julienned Belgian endive or cabbage

1/2    cup (125 ml) peeled, julienned seeded cucumber

1/2    cup (125 ml) julienned red bell pepper

1/2    cup (125 ml) minced fresh cilantro leaves

1/4    cup (50 ml) toasted sesame seeds

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of oil and pasta and cook for 3-5 minutes, until tender but firm. Do not overcook. Drain and toss with remaining oil. Spread on a large baking sheet, cover with plastic and cool. Place in a plastic bag and refrigerate until cold, up to 1 day in advance.

For dressing, heat oil in a skillet and cook garlic until golden. Remove from heat and add sesame paste, soy sauce, vinegar, Tabasco and sugar. Stir to form a thick paste. Bring stock to a boil and slowly add to paste, mixing well. Stir in peanuts.

To assemble, toss the cold noodles with 1/2- 3/4 cup of dressing (the leftover dressing will keep, refrigerated, for a week or can be frozen).

Mound the noodles on individual plates and garnish with endive, cucumber, bell pepper, cilantro and sesame seeds. Serves 4 as a main course.