Add this to your recipe repertoire for Chinese New Year
FRIDAY 16 February marks the start of Chinese New Year 2018, which is as good an excuse as any to cook up a feast of gorgeous Chinese food for your friends. If you're thinking of holding your own party to welcome in the Year of the Earth Dog, check out this vegan recipe from Victor Yu, head chef at luxury Chinese restaurant, Yu in Alderley Edge.
His 'Salt and Pepper Tempura Vegetables' uses the new-look Tsingtao Beer which has a clean, crisp taste that complements Chinese food well. (It's down its mineral-rich spring water from the Laoshan Mountains and hand-picked native rice, apparently).
The recipe in full is below, alongside some tips for how to celebrate Chinese New Year at home.
Tsingtao Salt and Pepper Tempura Vegetables
• Batter mix: 200g plain flour, 1/2 tsp golden sugar, 300ml Tsingtao Beer, 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
• Mix of vegetables such as oyster mushrooms, aubergine, baby pak choi, spring onions, cut into big chunks
• Salt and pepper mix: 1 small diced shallot, 1 sliced spring onion, 1/2 tsp of salt, 1/4 tsp of 5 spice powder, 1/2 tsp of sugar
Mix all the ingredients for the batter mixture in a bowl and cut the vegetables (pak choi and mushrooms in half, aubergine into 3cm cubes, spring onion into 3 cm long batons).
Prepare the salt and pepper mix, chop the shallots into small dice and the chilli and spring onion into thin slices. Mix together with salt, sugar and 5 spice powder.
Heat the oil to 190 and dip each vegetable in the batter mixture and deep fry until golden brown.
Fry the salt and pepper mix in a dry hot frying pan, add the vegetables and toss to mix well.
Hold your own Chinese New Year Party
Chinese New Year, from Friday 16 February, will be known as the Year of the Dog (and the Earth Dog more specifically for 2018).
If you were born in 1922, 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, or 2006, this is your year. It's traditionally believed those born in the Year of the Dog possess the best traits of human nature, being honest, loyal, friendly and smart, with a strong sense of responsibility. That said, they're also thought to be stubborn and bad socialisers, so maybe ease them in gently to your Chinese New Year party.
Most Chinese New Year party preparations start a week before New Year’s Eve, so there’s plenty of time to get your beer on ice and use some of the tips below for an authentic celebration.
Clean your home – according to Chinese tradition, cleaning the house will ‘sweep away bad luck’ which may have accumulated inside over the past year. The clean house is then ready for good luck to start entering again.
Decorate – red is the main celebratory colour and symbolises good luck. Try to arrange decorations in quantities of eight, as it’s a very lucky number in Chinese folklore.
Firecrackers – make your party go with a bang by setting off firecrackers, which are said to scare bad spirits away.
Hand out money – prepare red and gold envelopes (Lai See) with money inside to give as gifts to young children. These symbolise prosperity and good luck.
Cook – create your own Chinese cuisine at home. It's healthier than a takeaway and your guests will be impressed.
Foods you can eat at Chinese New Year for luck include:
- Noodles – for happiness and longevity
- Dumplings and spring rolls – for wealth
- Tangyuan (sweet rice balls) – family togetherness
- Niangao (glutinous rice cake) – higher income or status
- Tangerines and oranges – fullness and wealth
- Fish – an increase in prosperity