New Year’s resolutions already a thing of the past? Your new exercise bike looking suspiciously like a clothes rack? No need to fear, Chinese New Year could be your chance for a fresh start this year.
Taking place this year on the 1st of February 2022, Chinese New Year is the perfect opportunity to celebrate getting through January (undoubtedly the worst month of the year), and to celebrate a fascinating part of Chinese culture.
In this article, I will share three recipes that should help the year of the tiger start off with a roar!
First, I thought it would be only right to start off with a takeaway classic, the spring roll. I love this recipe from Great British Chefs for its adaptability as so many different vegetables can be used in the filling making it a potentially very varied dish.
Vegetable Spring Rolls
By Sally Abé
- 1 packet of spring roll sheets
- ½ a Chinese cabbage, finely chopped
- 1 handful beansprouts
- ½ a large carrot, finely chopped
- 50g of vermicelli rice noodles
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2cm ginger, minced
- 1 tbsp coriander
- 2 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp rice wine
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 3 tsp cornflour mixed with 3 tbsp water
- Oil for frying
- Soak the noodles in warm water for 8-10 minutes.
- Heat a wok over high heat with the sesame oil, add the cabbage, carrot, and beansprouts, and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
- Add the garlic and ginger and cook until softened. Stir in the soy sauce, rice wine, spring onions and coriander.
- Transfer to a bowl to cool slightly and drain off any excess moisture. Meanwhile, drain the soaked noodles well and stir them into the vegetables.
- Lay one spring roll sheet on a clean work surface with a corner facing towards you.
- Place 1 tbsp of the vegetable mixture on the corner of the pastry and diagonally roll the pastry up tightly around the filling, folding in the corners from either side and sealing with cornflour as you get to the middle.
- Repeat with the rest of the mixture and pastry.
- Fill a deep saucepan with oil and heat to 180°C. Deep-fry the spring rolls in batches for 2–3 minutes, until golden brown and crispy. Serve immediately.
Next, I thought I would share a recipe for my go-to Chinese takeaway choice, Crispy Chilli Beef. I must admit, I am that annoying person who refuses to change their Chinese order but once you’ve tried it, you’ll never go back to Chicken Chow Mein. This recipe has been adapted from Kitchen Sanctuary.
Crispy Chilli Beef
By Nicky Corbishley
- 3 thin steaks cut into thin strips
- 1 small egg
- 4 tbsp cornflour
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- 1/8 tsp white pepper
- 4 ½ tbsp sunflower oil
- 1 medium onion
- 1 red chilli
- 1 tsp minced ginger
- 3 garlic cloves
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 3 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 2 tbsp tomato puree
- 6 tbsp caster sugar
- 2 tbsp tomato ketchup
- 2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
- Place the steak strips and egg in a bowl and mix together to coat the steak.
- Mix together the cornflour, salt, black pepper and white pepper.
- Toss the cornflour mixture together with the steak.
- Heat 3 tbsp of the oil in a large frying pan or wok over high heat.
- When the oil is hot, add in half the beef, a strip at a time, and spread them out.
- Fry until dark brown and crispy, trying not to move the meat around too much.
- Remove the meat from the pan after around 5-6 minutes.
- Add another tbsp of oil to the pan and repeat to cook the second batch of the beef.
- Add in the sliced onion and cook for 2 minutes until slightly softened.
- Add in the chilli, ginger, and garlic and cook for 30 seconds whilst stirring.
- Add the rice vinegar, soy sauce, tomato puree, sugar, ketchup and sweet chilli sauce to the pan.
- Turn up the heat and let it bubble for a few minutes until it starts to reduce slightly.
- Add the beef back in and heat through for 1-2 minutes until the beef is hot.
- Serve with rice or noodles.
Finally, I thought I should share a recipe for a traditional Chinese New Year dessert, the sweet rice cake. Although it may sound unusual, I would definitely recommend trying this recipe adapted from The Woks of Life because it truly looks and tastes delicious!
Chinese New Year Sweet Rice Cake (Nian Gao)
- 2 tsp vegetable oil
- 830- 950ml of water
- 4 slices ginger
- 400g dark brown sugar
- ½ tsp ground allspice
- 680g glutinous rice flour
- 225g rice flour
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp dark molasses
- Zest of 1 large orange
- 6 dried dates
- Brush the insides of two 8-inch round baking tins with vegetable oil.
- Add 830ml water and ginger to a pot, bring it to a boil, and let simmer for 10 minutes over low to medium heat with the lid covered.
- Turn off the heat and stir in the brown sugar and allspice until the sugar is dissolved.
- Remove the ginger slices and add the rest of the water.
- In a large mixing bowl, mix the two kinds of flours together and slowly add in the sugar water mixture.
- Stir in the vanilla extract, molasses, orange zest, and two teaspoons of vegetable oil until thoroughly combined.
- Pour the batter evenly into the two pans and top each one with three dates in the centre.
- Put both pans into a double-decker bamboo steamer and steam for 1 hour on high.
- After 1 hour, pole a toothpick into the rice cake, it’s cooked if it comes out clean.