Chinese New Year: How to Celebrate with Good Food
This Chinese New Year brings in the year of the Ox. Parades may be cancelled but a lot of traditional celebrations start at home anyways! Food is especially important during lunar new year celebrations and lots of recipes are student friendly. So, let’s look at how to celebrate.
Tradition dictates that certain foods should be eaten during New Year celebrations as they represent luck in different areas of life. tradition comes from the pronunciation or appearance of the foods, not to mention the methods of preparation, presentation, and eating of the foods all hold a lot of meaning. Fish - prosperity, dumplings and spring rolls - wealth, Noodles - happiness and longevity, Niangao (a sweet rice cake) - higher income/position, Tangyuan (sweet rice balls) – family togetherness, and Good Fortune Fruit (fullness and wealth).
Don’t be intimidated though - when it comes to meals, lots of people think that Chinese cooking is confusing. However Chinese recipes follow the same steps as a lot of recipes you’ll already be familiar with – just make sure to do your prep work before starting and it’ll go smoothly. Lots of methods in Chinese cooking are all about high heat and short cooking so you don’t want to chop as you go like with a lot of recipes.
You also don’t need any unusual ingredients, garlic, ginger, spring onion, and chillies are the foundation of most dishes! Just combine these with store cupboard ingredients like soy sauce, hoisin, miso, or cheat and pick up a pre-packaged sauce. Wok vegetables are easy to come by in the supermarket, or just use the ones you have – stir-fried broccoli is delicious! Mix in some rice or noodles and protein such as tofu, chicken, beef and hey-presto! There’s loads of simple recipes out there, check out the BBC Good Food website which lets you filter results for dietary requirements.
If you do want to be a bit more adventurous and authentic, Coventry is lucky enough to have a number of Asian supermarkets where you can buy snacks, ingredients, or pre-prepared foods. The biggest is Wan Yan Hong opposite the new Empire, but there’s also a lot around town and a couple of stalls where you can get great ingredients in Coventry.
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