Chinese New Year falls this Sunday, February 10. The most important of traditional Chinese holidays, traditions vary by region – but one of the most typical around the country is a New Year’s Eve dinner. Tangerines, long noodles and fish are common, and dumplings are made while waiting up for midnight firework displays. If you’re snowed in Saturday night — like much of the east coast may be — ring in the Chinese New Year right with these five Chinese New Year staples.
Anthropology professor and The Food of China author E.N. Anderson told NPR there are many special foods of Chinese New Year, but one of the most important things to include — in food, clothing or decorations — is the color red. “Red is the color of blood and therefore life, health and strength — the color of all good things in China,” he said. Tangerines are popular, as well as dried fruits and seeds.
Another tradition is nian gao, or year cake, made with sticky rice. here’s a vegan nian gao recipe that uses red beans, coconut milk and not a ton of sugar. Here’s a more traditional recipe that uses brown sugar, egg and sesame seeds and fries the cakes in vegetable oil.
Long noodles symbolize long life. This recipe uses vegetable broth, toasted sesame oil, cabbage, bean sprouts, roasted peanuts and other spices and nuts to season long noodles (they suggest angel hair pasta, but you could use soba or wide lo mein noodles). // GET THE RECIPE, via Whole Foods Market
Jai is a Buddhist, vegetarian stew eaten because it’s cleansing and packed with traditional good luck foods, like sea moss, lotus seeds, long noodles and black mushrooms. // GET THE RECIPE, via Chow.com
Dumplings are made after dinner, when the whole family gathers to chat, cook and wait for the midnight fireworks. The dumplings are stuffed with simple ingredients like cabbage or pork and then pan-fried or boiled. Here’s a pork and cabbage dumpling recipe from Alexandra’s Kitchen.
Here’s a recipe for vegan dumplings, filled with mushrooms, garlic, spinach, ginger, bok choy and more. // GET THE RECIPE, via OneGreenPlanet
And another vegan dumpling recipe, but these are friend crispy in a wok. // GET THE RECIPE, via Calm Mind Busy Body