There are lots of traditions to consider when planning a Chinese New Year dinner. Fish, dumplings, noodles, and greens are normally consumed because they represent a sense of togetherness, abundance, and family. Apart from the fish, this menu is vegetarian friendly. Start with vegetable dumplings with a ginger scallion dipping sauce. For the first course serve the luck bringing longevity noodles. The main course is a gorgeous whole black bass with ginger and scallions. Bok choy and broccoli, shown at left, are on the side. To take a look at these tasty recipes,
8 ounces firm tofu, cut into small cubes
1/4 pound shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and finely chopped
8 scallions, white and light green parts only, finely chopped
One-quarter of a head napa cabbage, shredded and finely chopped
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
50 wonton wrappers
Scallion-Ginger Dipping Sauce, recipe below
- In a large bowl, combine the tofu, mushrooms, scallions, cabbage, soy sauce, sesame oil and ginger.
- In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat, add the vegetable mixture and cook until tender, about 5 minutes; transfer to a bowl and let cool.
- Brush one wonton wrapper with water and place 1 heaping teaspoon filling in the center. Fold the wrapper into a triangle, squeeze out the air and press the edges together to seal, wetting the dough if necessary to make it stick. Pinch together the two corners of the folded edge. Repeat with the remaining wrappers.
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Working in batches, add the dumplings and boil until cooked through, about 3 minutes after the water returns to a boil. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain. Serve with dipping sauces.
Makes about 4 dozen.
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 finely chopped scallion
1/4 teaspoon chopped fresh ginger
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Stir well to combine.
2 quarts water
5 ounces mung bean or soybean sprouts (2 cups)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 pound fresh Chinese egg noodles
1/4 cup chicken stock, vegetable stock, or canned low-sodium broth
1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon light soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
1 tablespoon peanut oil
One 1/4-inch-thick slice of fresh ginger, lightly smashed
1/4 pound snow peas
3 large fresh water chestnuts, peeled and sliced 1/8 inch thick
- Bring the water to a boil in a large saucepan. Put the bean sprouts in a strainer, lower it into the boiling water and blanch the bean sprouts for 10 seconds. Remove the strainer and rinse the sprouts in cold water; drain well.
- Add the salt to the water in the saucepan and bring it back to a boil. Add the noodles and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Drain the noodles thoroughly in a colander and rinse them in cold water; drain. Rinse again then drain, lifting them to separate and dry the strands.
- In a small bowl, combine the chicken stock with the soy sauce and sesame oil to make the sauce.
- Warm a wok over high heat for 45 seconds. Add the peanut oil and swirl to coat the wok. Stir in the ginger and cook for 10 seconds. Add the snow peas and stir-fry until bright green, about 1 minute. Add the water chestnuts and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add the bean sprouts and stir-fry for 1 minute.
- Stir the sauce, add it to the wok and bring to a boil. Add the noodles and stir-fry until they absorb the sauce, about 1 1/2 minutes. Transfer the noodles to a platter and serve at once.
1 (3-lb) whole black bass or sea bass (not Chilean), cleaned, leaving head and tail intact
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 bunch scallions, white and pale green parts cut into very thin 2-inch strips and greens reserved separately
1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut into very thin matchsticks
3 tablespoons light soy sauce (preferably Pearl River Bridge brand)
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon peanut or vegetable oil
a large shallow baking dish (about 15 by 10 inches) to fit inside a 17- by 12- by 2 1/2-inch roasting pan
a well-seasoned 14-inch flat-bottomed wok
- Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 400°F. Put baking dish in roasting pan.
- Rinse fish and pat dry, then rub inside and out with salt. Transfer to baking dish and sprinkle with scallion strips (white and pale green) and ginger.
- Stir together soy sauce and sugar until sugar is dissolved, then pour over fish. Add enough boiling-hot water to roasting pan to reach halfway up side of baking dish. Oil a large sheet of heavy-duty foil, then tent foil (oiled side down) over fish and tightly seal around roasting pan. Carefully transfer roasting pan to oven and bake until fish is just cooked through, 30 to 35 minutes.
- While fish bakes, cut enough scallion greens diagonally into very thin slices to measure 1/2 cup (reserve remainder for another use).
- Just before serving, remove foil from fish and sprinkle with scallion greens. Heat wok over high heat until a bead of water vaporizes instantly. Pour oil around side of wok, then tilt wok to swirl oil, coating side, and heat until smoking. Remove from heat and immediately pour oil over scallion greens and fish.
Make Ahead: fish can be prepared (but not steamed) 6 hours ahead and chilled, covered.
1 pound bok choy
1 pound broccoli
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
1 to 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- Cut white stalks from bok choy; slice stems into 1-inch pieces. Coarsely chop green leaves.
- Peel stalks from broccoli; slice 1/4 inch thick. Cut florets into bite-size pieces.
- In a large skillet, bring 1/2 cup water to a boil. Add bok choy stalks and broccoli; cover. Simmer over medium-low heat until broccoli is bright green, 5 to 7 minutes. Uncover; cook on high heat until water evaporates, 2 to 4 minutes.
- Add bok choy leaves, oil, and garlic. Cook, tossing often, until garlic is fragrant, 2 minutes. Add ginger and soy sauce; stir to combine.