With Chinese New Year just around the corner, it’s time for feasting and reuniting with our loved ones over a meal! We love celebrating Chinese New Year as it reminds us of all the well-kept traditions passed through generations. From saying auspicious greetings when visiting your elders, to the superstitious culture of the do’s and don’t’s during the CNY period, and of course not forgetting the delicious recipes lovingly prepared and the significance of certain food! Some of the more common food that are significant to the occasion are oranges (wealth and prosperity), pork (wealth and abundance), eggs (fertility), long noodles (long life), mushrooms (longevity), fish (abundance) and many more!
Whether you’re dining out, ordering in, having steamboat or making home cooked dishes, here are some simple and auspicious recipes that we have gotten from our family members and inspiration online to try for your reunion dinner.
1. Braised Scallops with Shiitake Mushrooms and Broccoli
This is a popular vegetable dish we enjoy during our family meals, and you would often see it on the menu during your CNY reunion dinner or at a wedding celebration. There are many variations to this recipe but for us, we love preparing it using shiitake mushrooms and seared scallops to enhance the sweetness and delicious umami flavour. Of course, not forgetting the symbolic meaning behind the round shape of the scallops and mushrooms represents oneness, prosperity and the blossoming of new beginnings – an integral concept of reunion during Chinese New Year.
If you don’t enjoy eating broccoli, you can also replace it with bok choy or kai lan – which are longer vegetables representing long life, while leafy greens like cabbage or sang choy represent growing fortune. Check out the Braised Scallops with Shiitake Mushrooms and Broccoli recipe here.
2. Cantonese Steamed Fish
This steamed fish is one of our family’s favourite dishes – it’s super simple to make for a weeknight meal and incredibly delicious with rice. It is topped with lots of green onions, ginger and drizzled with hot oil / soy sauce mixture. For Chinese New Year, this dish is something we always look forward to on the menu as the word fish Fish (魚; yú) has a similar pronunciation to the word abundance in Mandarin. There is a common phrase we say during Chinese New Year “ 年年有鱼 (Nian Nian You Yu) ” which means may you have a surplus of fortune every year! Check out our Cantonese Steamed Fish recipe here, and remember to leave some leftovers of the fish so that there’s continued abundance in the new year too!
3. Longevity Noodles
4. Pork & Prawn Dumplings
When it comes to dumplings at the table, one is never enough. It’s a satisfying favourite for many and filled with tons of ingredients such as pork, shiitake mushrooms, prawns, chives, spring onions, and many others. No matter the ingredients, these savoury meat dumplings are typically shaped to resemble the purse used to store gold and silver by the ancient Chinese. Hence we often prepare dumplings, or even money bag wontons during Chinese New Year for prosperity and wealth!
Whether you like your dumplings filled with meat, prawns or vegetables, it’ll surely taste good and the difference is probably just how you cook them! Here’s our version of the Pork & Prawn Dumplings recipe and you can choose to steam, pan-fried or boil them.
5. Steamed Garlic Prawns
We love using prawns in our recipes and especially for Chinese New Year, this is a must-try dish to make at home for your reunion dinner. Prawns in itself have so much flavour – it’s unique sweetness gives you the option to mix it with a variety of sauces for a pleasant and savoury taste that will keep you wanting for more. Interestingly, prawns when pronounced in Cantonese is “har” – which echoes the sound of ringing laughter. Tradition has it that the more you eat prawns, you and your family will be filled with happiness and lots of laughter “har har”! Here’s our Steamed Garlic Prawns recipe that we love making – it does not require much effort, but will definitely amaze your guests with its savoury taste and presentation.
We hope you enjoy making these Chinese New Year recipes together with your family and friends – and do share them with us on our Instagram at @anaffairwithfood <3
From all of us at An Affair With Food, we wish you and your family an Ox-picious Lunar New Year filled with good health, happiness and prosperity!
With lots of love,
An Affair With Food