Three Recipes to cook for the Chinese New Year celebrations

Chinese New Year, also known as the Lunar New Year or Spring Festival, is an important celebration for Chinese communities worldwide. It is known as the Lunar New Year because it begins at the same time as the new moon. Festivities will last for just over two weeks following the phases of the moon. Chinese New Year is famous for the rich food, fireworks and red colours that accompany the celebrations. Fireworks are set off to chase away a terrifying monster which ancient legend says would otherwise appear at the beginning of each new moon. The last event marking the closing of the Chinese New Year celebrations is the Lantern Festival. People hang and carry lanterns and there are often colourful parades of dragon-shaped lanterns and dancing all through the night.  

According to Chinese tradition, each year is represented and name after one of twelve animals. This is known as the Chinese Zodiac. Each animal has its own characteristics, and it is believed that people born in a certain year will share similar personalities to their zodiac animal. For example, anyone born in this Chinese New Year, 2022, will be born in the year of the Tiger and this animal is a symbol of bravery, generosity, and strength. Can you find out what your Chinese Zodiac sign is? 

To celebrate Chinese New Year, why not try out some of these delicious (and healthy) recipes. We hope you enjoy!  

Omelette Spring Roll – known as ‘Chun Geun’, symbol of wealth

Makes 7 omelette spring rolls 

Ingredients  

  • 100g Mushrooms (finely sliced) 
  • ½ Red Onion (finely sliced) 
  • 2 Spring Onions (chopped)  
  • 1 Garlic Clove (chopped) 
  • 120g Beansprouts  
  • 1 Carrot (grated) 
  • 5 Large Eggs 
  • 2 tsp Oil  
  • 2 tsp soy sauce 
  • 1 tsp ginger (grated) 
  • Salt and Pepper to taste 
  • Optional: 2 tbsp hoisin or oyster sauce (to cook). Sriracha sauce and soy sauce (to serve) 

Method:  

  1. Prepare the vegetables and ingredients as stated in the ingredients section  
  2. Heat 1tsp of the oil in a medium-sized non-stick pan and add the red onion, spring onion, ginger and garlic.  
  3. Next, add the beansprouts. Finally, add the mushrooms and carrots 
  4. Season the vegetables with salt, pepper and the soy sauce and optional hoisin sauce and leave to fry 
  5. When some of the liquid has evaporated, the mushroom and carrot is softened and the beansprouts have cooked, (they will look almost see-through and shrink slightly) remove the vegetables from the pan and set aside on a plate.  
  6. Next, whisk the eggs. You can add a little bit of milk to this mixture, but this is optional. 
  7. Season the whisked eggs with salt and pepper.  
  8. Now add the remaining tsp of oil to the pan and heat 
  9. When hot, add a little bit of the egg mixture (approximately 3tbsp). Swirl it in the pan to make sure it covers the entire surface.  
  10. Cook the egg for 30 seconds or until the mixture has set. Then, gently, using spatula or palette knife, turn the egg over (like flipping a pancake!). Cook for another 30 seconds.  
  11. Remove the egg omelette and place onto a plate. You can turn your oven on to low and place the plate in there to keep the egg omelettes warm while you cook the remaining mixture. 
  12. Repeat the cooking process with the rest of the egg mixture. You should get approximately 7 egg omelettes.  
  13. When all the omlettes are made and vegetable filling is ready place one omelette at a time onto a plate. Spoon some of the mixture down the right-hand side of the omelette.   
  14. Take the top and bottom of the omelette and fold them both in and on top of the filling. Then, starting from the right-hand side with the filling roll the omlette. (See the pictures for help!).  
  15. Repeat for all the filling and omelettes 
  16. Finally serve with a dipping of your choice and side salad! Enjoy! 
Lion’s Head Meatballs – known as shīzitóu

Makes 5-6 large meatballs 

Ingredients   

For the Meatballs: 

  • 500g Pork Mince (use quorn for a vegetarian alternative)  
  • 8g Grated Ginger  
  • 1 Small Onion (chopped) 
  • 2 tbsp Shaoxing Cooking Wine (a Chinese cooking wine, can be replaced with Mirin, Dry Sherry or you can choose not to add it)  
  • 2 tbsp Soy Sauce  
  • 1 tbsp Oyster Sauce  
  • 1tsp Sesame Oil 
  • ¼ tsp Five Spice Powder  
  • ½ tsp Ground Pepper  
  • ½ tsp Salt   
  • ½ tbsp Brown Sugar  
  • 2 eggs  
  • 50g Breadcrumbs  

For the Sauce: 

  • 60ml Soy Sauce  
  • 80ml water  
  • 1tbsp Oyster Sauce  
  • 5g Grated Ginger  
  • 1 Spring Onion  
  • 15g Brown Sugar  
  • 1 tbsp Shaoxing Wine  
  • 1 tsp Sesame Oil 
  • ½ tbsp flour (or cornstarch) 

Serve with rice, vegetables or a stirfry.  

 

Method:  

  1. Preheat the oven to 190˚C and line an oven tray with some baking parchment 
  2. Using a large mixing bowl place in all the ingredients listed for the meatballs.  
  3. Then, using a wooden spoon (or any large spoon) mix the ingredients together until it looks similar to a paste  
  4. Using your hands (you can wear disposable gloves) divide the pork mixture into 5-6 large portions or approximately 8 smaller ones  
  5. Take each portion and roll it in the palm of your hand until it forms a circular ball shape  
  6. Set the meatballs aside on the oven tray and when they are all prepared place into the oven for approximately 40 minutes.  
  7. You can also choose to use an air fryer at a similar temperature to the oven and cook it for about 20-30 minutes 
  8. For the sauce, add all the sauce ingredients into a small saucepan and whisk together until the flour and sugar have dissolved  
  9. Next, heat the sauce for 3-4 minutes stirring constantly until it becomes thick and sticky  
  10. Remember, while you wait for your meatballs to prepare any other sides you may wish to have with your meal 
  11. When the sauce and meatballs are finished cooking add the meatballs into the saucepan.  
  12. Coat the meatballs in the sauce. As an option you can add sesame seeds or more spring onions on top.  
  13. Finally serve the meatballs with rice and vegetables (or any side of your choosing) and enjoy! 

 

Walnut Cookies- known as hétáosū

Makes 30-40 cookies  

Ingredients  

  • 150g plain flour  
  • 75g roughly chopped walnuts (plus 30-40 extra to go on top)  
  • 25g sesame seeds, toasted 
  • ½ tsp baking soda  
  • ½ tsp baking powder  
  • ½ tsp salt  
  • 85g unsalted butter  
  • 45g caster sugar  
  • 3 egg yolks (save the whites for an egg white omelette or meringues!)  
  • 1 egg, beaten (used as a wash, alternatives include milk or melted butter)  

 

Method:  

  1. Preheat the oven to 170˚C and line two oven trays with some baking parchment 
  2. Take a small frying pan and gently toast the sesame seeds for about 2 minutes until just golden.  
  3. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder 
  4. Next, add the walnuts and toasted sesame seeds into the flour mix  
  5. Mix together these dry ingredients and set aside  
  6. In a separate, larger, bowl beat together the butter and caster sugar. The mixture should turn from a bright yellow to a slightly fluffy and paler mixture.  
  7. Then, add in the egg yolks and continue beating (you can use an electric mixer for this part too to give your arms a break!)  
  8. When all the ingredients in the egg mixture are fully combined add the dry flour and nut mixture. Add only a couple of spoonful’s at a time, mixing well in-between 
  9. The mixture will be a bit tough and dry to mix at the end so use your hands if that is easier  
  10. Next, begin to form round balls of the walnut cookie dough. You can do this by taking a small portion of the dough and gently rolling it in the palm of your hand until it forms a circular ball.  
  11. Place the round cookie dough onto the preprepared baking sheet. Then, take one of your whole walnuts and gently press this on the top of the walnut cookie dough, making sure not to press too hard so the dough keeps its shape 
  12. Repeat these steps until all the dough has been used  
  13. Next lightly brush the top of your walnut cookie dough balls with the beaten egg – this will give it an amazing shine when it comes out of the oven!  
  14. Bake the cookie dough for about 25 minutes or until golden brown  
  15. Rest the cookies on a cooling rack until cooled down before sharing and enjoying!  

 

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