Chinese New Year is a huge celebration for Chinese-Americans as well, and there are tons of traditions that help ring in the festival. Alongside gifts, parties, and decorations, special “lucky” foods are presented to bring prosperity in the upcoming year, like coin-shaped dumplings, long noodles to represent longevity, and oranges, which are a Chinese symbol of luck and good fortune.
Since food is so central to the celebration, a Chinese-inspired dinner is a great way for you and your family to share in the tradition of our friends and neighbors. China is a very large country with many regions and a long history, which means there are many variations in what is considered traditional.
Most Americans have become familiar with a style of Chinese food that bears only a mild resemblance to what diners in China eat every day. While American-style Chinese food may not always be authentic to the flavors of China, it is an opportunity to introduce our families, especially children with developing palates, to flavors they may not experience every day.
Despite our best efforts, kids aren’t always open to trying new foods, so in this recipe for Take Out-Style Chicken and Broccoli, we offer an easy and familiar dish to teach an essential technique in Asian cuisine: stir frying, in which most ingredients can be used interchangeably, like shrimp, pork, or tofu instead of chicken.
Once you have the hang of stir frying, you can begin to experiment with new ingredients. This recipe already uses fresh ginger, scallions and soy sauce. But your family might be surprised to learn that they love sesame oil, hot chilies, Szechuan peppercorns and oyster sauce (a very common Chinese ingredient that acts more like a seasoning than its own flavor).
We live in a global community where we are inspired by the traditions of people halfway across the world. This Chinese New Year, take the opportunity to share in the celebration — and maybe next year you’ll be ready to make those coin-shaped dumplings!
Here are a few of our favorite dishes that you can make to celebrate the Lunar New Year! They aren't all Chinese, since the celebration occurs all over Asia.
Shrimp Dumplings (Har Gow)
Chilled Chile-Garlic Noodles with Shrimp
Korean-Style Braised Short Ribs
Moo Shu Vegetables
Pan-Steamed Cilantro and Pork Dumplings
Spicy Tofu with Mushrooms
Thai Green Curry with Pork and Vegetables
Braised Bok Choy