Tuesday is Chinese New Year and food plays an important role, not only for its intense and unique flavors but also for being hugely symbolic, with many dishes believed to be “lucky.” Bottomlessbrunch.com has provided us with some delicious recipes for you to try at home.
Salt and Pepper Tofu
If you’re looking for a vegan option that is full of classic Chinese flavor, then you have to try this salt and pepper tofu recipe. It’s quick and easy to make and has a good combination of spicy, sweet and earthy flavors that should go down well with everyone.
- 396g firm tofu
- 2 tbsp cornflower
- 1 tsp Sichuan ground into a powder
- 2 tbsp sunflower oil
- 2 red peppers sliced into pieces
- ¼ of whole broccoli head, chopped into small florets
- 100g beansprouts
- 2 tsp low-salt soy sauce
- Sweet chili oil, for drizzling
- Start by making sure your tofu is dry, as this will give it a firmer texture once cooked. You can do this by wrapping it in kitchen roll to soak up any excess moisture, or you can even place a chopping board on top of it for 20 minutes to squeeze out the liquid.
- Cut the tofu in half down the middle and cut each piece into four triangles, then in half again until you have 16 pieces. Meanwhile, in a bowl, mix the cornflower, Sichuan and 1 tsp of salt and coat each piece of tofu in the mixture.
- Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a large frying pan or wok and add in your sliced peppers and broccoli and stir-fry until soft.
- Next add in the beansprouts and soy sauce, cooking for another 2 minutes, as you want your vegetables to still be crunchy.
- Heat another tbsp of oil in a large pan and fry the coated tofu for 10 minutes, turning the pieces halfway through cooking.
- Once crisp, serve on top of the vegetables and drizzle with some sweet chili sauce.
Chicken Chow Mein
Chinese New Year wouldn’t be complete without a noodle dish, and Chinese chow mein is a favorite among many. The flavorsome recipe is the perfect combination of sweet and savory, and noodles are even believed to bring happiness and longevity in the year ahead.
- 225g fresh egg noodles
- 1 tbsp sesame oil, plus 1 tsp
- 100g chicken breasts, cut into small pieces
- 2½ tbsp groundnut oil
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 50g mangetout, finely shredded
- 1 carrot, finely shredded
- 2 spring onions, finely chopped
- 2 tsp light soy sauce
- 2 tsp dark soy sauce
- 2 tbsp Shaohsing rice wine
- ½ tsp freshly ground white pepper
- ½ tsp golden caster (superfine) sugar
- In a pan of boiling water, cook the egg noodles for 3-5 mins, then drain and transfer them to cold water. Remove them and drain thoroughly, toss them with 1 tbsp of sesame oil and put to one side.
- In a bowl combine your chopped chicken breast with 1 tsp sesame oil, 2 tsp Shaohsing rice wine, ½ tsp white pepper and ½ tsp salt for the marinade, mix together and leave to marinate.
- Heat a wok or large frying pan over a medium-high heat, add in 1 tbsp groundnut oil and add the chicken, stir-frying until cooked.
- In another wok, add 1½ tbsps of groundnut oil and wait until hot, add 2 finely chopped garlic cloves and stir-fry until fragrant, before adding 50g of finely shredded mangetout and finely shredded carrot, stir fry for a minute.
- Add in the noodles, 2 tsp light soy sauce, 2 tsp dark soy sauce,1 tbsp Shaohsing rice wine, ½ tsp golden caster sugar, 2 finely chopped spring onions and stir fry for a couple of minutes.
- Add in the chicken to the noodles and vegetables and stir-fry until everything is warmed through.
- Add 1 tsp sesame oil and give everything a good stir, before putting it on a plate to serve.
This pork dumpling recipe is a great sharing dish that not only tastes great, but also ties into the traditions of Chinese New Year. Dumplings are a staple dish to serve that represent future wealth, due to their shape resembling the look of ancient Chinese money.
- ½ cup soy sauce
- 1 tbsp seasoned rice vinegar
- 3 tbsp finely chopped Chinese chives
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds
- 1 tsp sriracha
- 1 pound ground pork
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 egg, beaten
- 2 tbsps soy sauce
- 1 ½ tbsps sesame oil
- 1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
- 50 dumpling wrappers
- 1 cup vegetable oil, for frying
- 1.13 liters of water, or more as needed
- Combine 1/2 a cup of soy sauce, rice vinegar, 1 tbsp of chives, sesame seeds, and sriracha sauce in a small bowl and set to one side.
- Mix the pork, garlic, egg, 2 tbsps of chives, soy sauce, sesame oil, and ginger in a large bowl and mix to combine.
- Place the first dumpling wrapper on a lightly floured work surface and spoon 1 tablespoon of the filling onto the middle. Wet the edge of the wrapper with a little bit of water and crimp the pastry together, forming small pleats and sealing the dumpling. Repeat with the remaining wrappers and filling.
- Heat 1 to 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large pan over a medium-high heat. Place around 8 to 10 dumplings in the pan and cook for around 2 minutes until browned.
- Next, pour 1 cup of water in the pan, cover with a lid or foil and cook for about 5 minutes until the dumplings are tender and the pork is cooked through. Repeat for the remaining dumplings.
- Serve the dumplings with the soy sauce mixture for dipping.
Vegetable Spring Rolls
Vegetable spring rolls are bound to go down a treat at your Chinese New Year brunch, not only because they’re super crunchy and filled with tasty vegetables, but because they signify wealth and eating them is supposed to bring you prosperity in the coming year. Who could say no?
- A packet of spring roll sheets
- 1/2 Chinese cabbage, finely sliced
- 1 handful of beansprouts
- 1/2 large carrot, finely sliced lengthways
- 50g of rice noodles
- 2 cloves of crushed garlic
- 2cm piece of ginger, minced
- 1 tbsp of coriander
- 1 tbsp of sesame oil
- 1 tbsp of Shaoxing rice wine
- 1 tbsp of soy sauce
- 3 tsp cornflower, mixed with 3 tbsp of water
- 1 tbsp of sesame oil
- Vegetable oil
- Start by soaking the noodles in warm water for around 10 minutes
- Place a wok over a high heat and add your sesame oil, cabbage, carrots and beansprouts and stir fry for around a minute.
- Add in your crushed garlic and ginger and cook for a few more minutes, before adding the soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, spring onions and coriander.
- Transfer everything from the pan into a bowl and leave it to cool slightly, draining off any excess moisture.
- Next, drain the soaked noodles well and then stir them into the vegetables.
- To get started making your spring rolls, place a layer of spring roll pastry on a clean work surface, with one of the corners facing you.
- Place around 1 tbsp of the vegetable mixture on the corner of the pastry and slowly diagonally roll the pastry up tightly around the filling. When you get closer to the centre of the pastry, tuck in the corners on either side, then brush a small amount of the cornflower mixture onto the remaining corner, finish rolling it up and press together to seal it.
- Repeat this process with the rest of the mixture and pastry to form your spring rolls.
- Finish by filling a saucepan with oil and heat to around 350 F. Once hot enough, fry the spring rolls in batches for 2–3 minutes, until golden and crispy.
Steamed Chinese-Style Sea Bass
If you’re looking for good fortune and good flavor, there has to be a fish dish on your Chinese New Year brunch menu. This steamed whole sea bass recipe is really simple to make, and it’s a great one for sharing with friends and family.
- 30g fresh ginger, peeled and cut into matchsticks
- 1 whole large sea bass (about 800g), gutted and cleaned
- 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp light soy sauce
- 1 tsp palm sugar
- 1 spring onion, diced diagonally
- ½ small pack coriander
- ½ red chile, finely sliced diagonally
- Heat your oven to 350 F, or 320 F if you have a fan oven. Place half the ginger inside the fish, before laying it on foil. Fold the sides of the foil up around the fish to create a bowl and add 1 tbsp water before sealing and cooking in the oven for 15-20 mins.
- In a separate pan heat the light and dark soy sauce, oil, palm sugar, and 1 tbsp of water until bubbling.
- Once the oven timer is up, check the fish is flaky and fully cooked and place it over a large shallow bowl.
- Top the fish with the spring onion, chile, coriander and ginger, before pouring over the sauce from your pan, to serve.