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Happy Chinese New Year!

Posted by in Holidays, Looks Delicious!

Tasty Kitchen Blog: Happy Chinese New Year! Guest post by Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen.

This Sunday is not only Valentine’s Day. It’s also Chinese New Year—the Year of the Tiger! Since the Chinese calendar is based on the solar and lunar patterns, every year the holiday falls on a different day. Luckily, the color red is popular for both Valentine’s Day and Chinese New Year.

It’s good luck to eat specific foods on Chinese New Year (we are very superstitious people), and different dishes have different meanings. I’m not the type of person to take chances on ruining my good fortune, so whether I absolutely believe the superstitions or not, I’m going for it. Plus, if I didn’t, my Mom would be on my case for sure. She’s in California and I’m in Florida, so our phone conversations the day before go like this every single year:

“Are you going to make some lettuce for prosperity?”
- Yes Mom.

“How about shrimp for happiness?”
- Yes Mom.

“Make sure you don’t sweep the floor on Chinese New Year! You’ll sweep out all the good fortune!”
- Okay Mom.

“And take the children for a haircut today, not tomorrow or they’ll cut off their good luck!”
- I already did Mom.

“Did you buy some Chinese candy to bring in joy?”
- Yup.

“AYYAHH! But don’t let the children eat too much candy or they’ll get bad teeth!”
- (Sigh.)

My loving mother always makes sure that I’m following the rules our ancestors have followed for generations! And I gotta say, so far so good. We’re happy, healthy and always have more than enough.

If you’re looking for some fantastic recipes for Chinese New Year, how about these:

Tasty Kitchen Blog: Happy Chinese New Year! (Lettuce Wraps, recipe submitted by TK member tfenger, photo by Ree Drummond)

Lettuce Wraps by tfenger: These lettuce wraps symbolize growing wealth!

Or you can also make Chinese Takeout Garlic Shrimp by Joolsey. Shrimp in Chinese is pronounced “haa”—symbolizing laughter and happiness!

Tasty Kitchen Blog: Happy Chinese New Year! (Cheesecake Chinese Style, recipe submitted by TK member shecancook2)

Cheesecake Chinese Style by shecancook2: Here’s a twist on cheesecake. The great thing about this dessert is that they look like golden bars, which of course means wealth and prosperity!

Tasty Kitchen Blog: Happy Chinese New Year! (Asian Orange Chicken, recipe from Bobby of Blog Chef)

Asian Orange Chicken from Blog Chef: Eating oranges symbolizes wealth. This is a perfect recipe that I think I’ll be making for Chinese New Year!

Or try some Tangerine Beef by saucyblonde. This is a great dish for attracting wealth. Tangerines are always part of a Chinese New Year tablescape.*

Tasty Kitchen Blog: Happy Chinese New Year! (Asian Dumpling and Vegetable Soup, recipe submitted by TK member Lauren of The Beneshes)

Asian Dumpling Soup with Vegetables by Lauren: For prosperity, make sure you have some dumplings on the table! And you don’t even have to make the dumplings from scratch. Your local Asian market, Whole Foods and many supermarkets will have frozen dumplings.

Tasty Kitchen Blog: Happy Chinese New Year! (Asian Noodle Salad, recipe from Ree Drummond)

Ree’s Asian Noodle Salad: For long, long life. But remember, do not cut the noodle strands. Leave ‘em long. Otherwise you’d be “cutting your life short!”

*Oh. My. Did I really use the word “tablescape“? What’s next? Interchangeable curtains in my kitchen window to match my outfit every day?


Jaden Hair is a food writer, television personality, and food photographer based in Tampa Bay, Florida. Find more of her recipes in her blog, Steamy Kitchen, where you can also read more about Jaden’s new book, The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook, and the rave reviews it’s received!



Comments are closed for this recipe.

Vickie on 2.19.2010

The orange chicken wings are fantastic. I would love the turqouise pot.

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maggiemay on 2.14.2010

Jaden – I can’t tell you how much your post made me laugh (and how much I could relate to it). My former husband is Chinese and that meant I went to many New Year’s Dinners at my mother-in-law’s home. Though she didn’t speak English, I remember her telling him the same things, and him translating them for me. (Except you forgot the question about remembering the lai see for our nieces.) :o)

I still miss her (homemade) dumplings. I seriously considered asking for them as “alimony” in our divorce (LOL).

Gung HayFat Choy.

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MS Hospitality on 2.14.2010

“Gong Hay Fat Choy” and a Lucky New Year too!
Loved the recipes.

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steamykitchen on 2.13.2010

@Aggie- well thank you!!

@Savourfare Ree’s noodle salad would be perfect. have a fantastic Sunday!

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savourfare on 2.13.2010

Thanks for some of the traditions! We’re doing guinea fowl for Valentines Day this year, but I might just go with Ree’s Asian noodle salad for lunch!

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Aggie's Kitchen on 2.13.2010

It’s funny that I just stumbled onto this post…I was thinking of Chinese New Year tomorrow and was going straight to your cookbook to find some inspiration!!

Katie (The Life of a Firefighter's Wife) on 2.13.2010

Thanks for getting back to me, Jaden. I appreciate it!! If I had more time, I’d make those egg rolls, too. I can’t wait to try them!

b on 2.13.2010

Yup, thanks, okay, yes–and much appreciation to Jaden–I found your Mom’s recipe. Thanks Mom!

JeanneW on 2.12.2010

Don’t forget noodles for a long life! Happy Chinese New Year!

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cowgirlinthecity on 2.12.2010

Happy Chinese New Year to You too! :) My husband is Chinese so this is a new holiday that I’m learning to love! Thanks for the recipes!

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steamykitchen on 2.12.2010

@Jessica- thank you! actually garlic butter noodles would be perfect for Chinese New Year. Long Life!

@Pam-oh I didn’t even think about matchy matchy Kitchen Aids!

@Nina C- yes! Happy New Year to you too. “Gong Hay Fat Choy”

@Katie – yes, it’s perfect. Beef and Broccoli no real meaning so you’re safe! ;-)

@B- Recipe for my Mom’s famous crispy egg rolls:

Missy on 2.12.2010

Laughing at your *comment* because I’ve decided I can’t watch that show for that very reason. And do you really have to dress your kitchen to match your outfit and your tablescape?

on 2.12.2010

新年快乐! Thank you so much for these recipes, Jaden. I know my daughter will especially enjoy the shrimp. Now if only we can get to the store — still snowed in after two blizzards in six days.

alexson @ bigger, better, best on 2.12.2010

I KNEW I wasn’t the only one who noticed the curtains and matching outfits. I only watch that show when I feel like getting riled up.

All these dishes look delicious! Can’t wait to try a few!

Amy from She Wears Many Hats (missamy) on 2.12.2010

How can I put off a craving for Chinese food now until Sunday? That’s two whole days?

Molly on 2.12.2010

Man, this is perfect…I just got a box full of Chinese foodstuffs from a friend of mine and had no idea what to do with it all. Fortunately, when in doubt there’s Tasty Kitchen to confer with. :D

The Teacher Cooks on 2.12.2010

The conversation with your mom is like most ending with “yes mom”. Your choices are mouth watering. I look forward to trying them.

RD on 2.12.2010

One question: How do you remember the many symbols of the many foods?! And I love that Chinese New Year falls on Valentine this year. Great post–I think I want some noodles for breakfast!

Goannatree on 2.12.2010

yum. good thing it is almost lunch because this post made me hungry. I am very much looking forward to making many of these dishes. Thanks!

b on 2.12.2010

Where is your recipe for the spring roll?

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Ree | The Pioneer Woman on 2.12.2010

I loved the conversation with your mommy, Jaden!

And I loved learning about the traditions behind the holiday..and how you can honor them with FOOD.

Katie (The Life of a Firefighter's Wife) on 2.12.2010

Jaden, I was invited to a Chinese new year party and was asked to bring a dish. I was going to bring your beef and broccoli recipe that Ree shared–would that be appropriate? I didn’t know there was such a degree of tradition with the food and I would hate to accidentally bring a bad luck dish.

Nina C on 2.12.2010

thanks for those recipes. there is a local vegan restaurant that makes the BEST lettuce wraps I’ve ever had. I haven’t tried them at home…I’ll have to check out that recipe. Happy New Year (is that ok to say?)

pdxknitterati on 2.12.2010

Happy new year! My mom asks me all the same questions, too…

Brenna on 2.11.2010

She also says lemon really drawn out llllllemon! You should start that too :)

Christine on 2.11.2010

When you break out something as bad as the infamous Sandra Lee Kwanzaa Cake then we might have to limit the tablescapes!!

Emily on 2.11.2010

Oh, I’m cracking up at the tablescape comment!

slammie on 2.11.2010

Don’t forget the red envelopes!

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Pam P on 2.11.2010

the reason we adore you Jaden, is that there is real food in your food and no tablescapes, just centerpieces! Centerpieces are perfectly acceptable. Matching your outfit to your Kitchen Aid and then opening a tube of sugar cookie dough, thus making the owning of a Kitchen Aid seem stupid, is not.

Happy Year of the Tiger!

Jessica on 2.11.2010

Hahaha I am shocked that you used tablescape, Jaden!! I have to say, I have Jaden’s cookbook and it is FABULOUS. I had never cooked many Asian dishes at home, but I have made 10 + recipes form the book. She recommended the garlic butter noodles, which are out of this world of course. The pad thai is incredible too – in fact, that is what we made on New Years! :)