Daily Archives: January 31, 2014

Celebrating Chinese New Year – 新年好!!!!

My local friends are comprised of a varied mix of ethnic backgrounds which makes life, and more importantly food, so much more interesting.  We try to gather and celebrate each other’s cultures when we can, and it’s a fun and great way to expose our children to international experiences through food, friends and fun.  A huge part of any culture after all is its food.  And so this past weekend we had an early celebration for Chinese New Year hosted by some friends who love food and wine as much as I.

It all began with an email chain about the frigid cold weather, noodles and hot pots, which led to us reminiscing about our post-Sandy dinner to celebrate the return of electricity, which somehow led to (I believe I was the instigator) planning a Chinese New Year party.  Date and time decided, we now had to come up with a menu and dole out the responsibilities, and in the process wound up planning a dumpling throwdown.

My contribution to the evening was Korean pork-kimchi dumpling pancakes with a spicy dipping sauce.  Yes, I know that is not Chinese but my hosts allowed it and the recipe sounded delicious.  Besides, there was a contest to win and I wanted to bring both flavor and presentation to the table even if I didn’t have time to make my own dumpling skins.  The other dumpling contributors made steamed salmon & spinach dumplings and Chinese shumai. 

Dumpling Pancake in the making
Korean Pork-Kimchi Dumpling Pancake

Steamed Salmon Dumplings

Yifu Noodles & Ba Won Ji
It was such a fun evening with so much food.  We had tofu skin two ways and small tofu appetizers for the vegetarians.  There were yifu noodles and fried rice, homemade spring rolls, baby bok choy with mushrooms, Chinese meatballs, delicacies like beef tendon and pig’s ears – a standard at any Chinese celebration, Shanghai style soup, Chicken in a delicious gravy (Ba won ji) and my favorite – steamed whole branzino garnished with ginger, scallions, and cilantro in the most flavorful & rich broth.  I could have eaten an entire fish if I hadn’t already been full from all the other delicious food.  We appropriately ended the meal with Chinese desserts – eight treasures rice and coconut nian gao. 

Homemade Spring Rolls
Tofu Skin – two ways

Braised Baby Bok Choy
Baby Bok Choy & Mushrooms


Individual Tofu Appetizers

Tendon & Ears & Other goodies

Amazing Steamed whole Branzino

Ba Won Ji – Chicken with ginger & scallions

Sadly I had to leave the celebration early to attend another party that was previously committed to, but was very thankful to the hosts for moving this New Year celebration to an earlier time so that I could partake in this amazing experience of culinary & cultural deliciousness.

Anyone hungry yet???

Happy Chinese New Year to you all!!! 

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