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Every year people claim that this year has got to be better than the last– but this year it might actually be true! Today begins the Year of the Dragon, a symbol which is commonly associated with power and strength in Chinese culture. Not only can we all expect to experience good luck and abundance this year, but those born in the year of the dragon (which includes 1904, 1916, 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976 and 1988) are said to be stronger, more intelligent, and extra self-assured.
To commemorate this coming year, start it off right by eating some of these lucky foods commonly consumed during Chinese New Year celebrations: long noodles for a long life, fish for wishes and abundance, and oranges to symbolize luck and wealth.
Looking for something a little more substantial than orange and noodles, though? Here are a couple of great, authentic recipes. Try some Chinese Greens with Oyster Sauce as a starter, Chow Mein as the main dish, and, of course, some delicious Oolong Tea on the side.
Recipe: Restaurant-style Chinese Greens with Oyster Sauce
Your favorite Chinese greens (I used 6 baby bok choy for my dish)
1 tablespoon oyster sauce (Lee Kum Kee brand preferred)
1 tablespoon water
1/4 teaspoon cooking oil
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 dashes of white pepper powder
2 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
1 teaspoon oil
Prepare the garlic oil first by heating up your wok and stir fry the minced garlic until they turn light brown. Dish out and set aside.
Heat up a pot of water and bring it to boil. Add two small drops of cooking oil into the water. Drop your vegetables into the boiling water and quickly blanch them for about 20-30 seconds (depends on the quantity). As soon as they turn slightly wilted, transfer them out and drain the excess water off the vegetables. Arrange the vegetables on a plate.
In a wok, heat up the cooking oil, and then add the oyster sauce, water, sugar, and white pepper powder. As soon as the sauce heats up and blends well, transfer and drench it over the blanced vegetables. Top the vegetables with the garlic oil and serve immediately.
For the garlic oil, the garlic will continue to cook in the oil so as soon as they turnlight brown in the wok, you should dish it out. Eventually, they will turn golden brown.
Chow Mein (Chinese Noodles) Recipe
8 oz. steamed chow mein (Chinese noodles)
2 oz. pork (cut into thin slices)
5 shrimp (shelled and deveined)
3 garlic cloves (finely chopped)
1/2 cup shredded cabbage
1/4 cup shredded carrot
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon Chinese dark soy sauce
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons cooking oil
2 stalks scallions (cut into 2-inch length)
Salt to taste
Soak the steamed chow mein in cold water for about 5 minutes. Rinse a few times until the water turns clear and the chow mein is soft. Drain the excess water and set aside. (Don’t over soak the chow mein or the noodles will get limpy and soggy.)
In a small mixing bowl, mix all the seasoning ingredients. Set aside.
Heat up the wok with the cooking oil. Add in the chopped garlic and stir-fry until light brown or aromatic. Add the pork and shrimp and stir fry until they are half done. Add the shredded cabbage and carrot into the wok and do a few quick stirs. Add the noodles , the seasoning mixture and the water. Continue to stir until the noodles are well blended with the seasonings and completely cooked through. Add the chopped scallions, do a few final stirs, dish out and and serve hot.
Try these and more authentic Chinese recipes at RasaMalaysia.com.