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Cook up good fortune for Chinese New Year

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Beef With Chilled Noodles
Shrimp With Pan-Fried Noodles

(Family Features) - Chinese New Year is a time of great celebration in China and around the globe. Millions will mark the special day with a delicious feast as the Year of the Dog is ushered in on January 29, 2006.

It's easy to take part in the festivities at home with friends and family by cooking a special meal. If any children in the group don't know how to use chopsticks, Chinese New Year is a fun time to teach them!

Incorporate noodles into any New Year menu - they symbolize long life in Chinese culture. Noodles are an ancient Chinese invention; history suggests that they come from creative street vendors in Northern China.

An endless variety of noodles abounds, offering infinite culinary possibilities. These include thin noodles and fat noodles, egg noodles and rice noodles, crispy noodles and glass noodles, wheat noodles and flat noodles, and the list goes on. The longer the noodle, the stronger its symbolism, so on Chinese New Year don't serve noodles that have been cut. Chef Andy Kao from Panda Express provides two recipes here for dishes featuring noodles to bring good fortune into the new year.

Celebrate with symbolic foods

Many foods carry special symbolism in the Chinese culture. Whether it's Chinese New Year or any other special occasion, serving these dishes can bring good fortune to everyone at your table:

  • Noodles reflect long life; the longer the noodle, the stronger its symbolism.
  • Chicken symbolizes happiness and is said to lead to a long, happy marriage.
  • Peanuts and green beans both stand for longevity.
  • The word "shrimp" sounds like the word for "laughter" in Chinese, so eating shrimp is associated with joy and happiness.
  • Oranges and tangerines symbolize wealth and prosperity.
  • Dumplings and pot stickers convey good wishes toward one's family.
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Beef With Chilled Noodles

In addition to featuring noodles for long life, this dish also makes use of the color red through the red chili powder and Japanese shredded red ginger - red symbolizes life, good fortune and happiness. -- Courtesy of Panda Express
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  • 1 pound sliced beef
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/2 egg
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
Group A (Flavored Broth)
  • 10 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons salad oil
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 teaspoon peppercorns
Group B (Cold Noodle Sauce)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3/4 cup rice vinegar
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 5 ounces Chinese white noodles
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
Group C (Condiments)
  • 1 ounce shredded cucumber
  • 1 ounce shredded pickled yellow daikon (available in Asian markets)
  • 1 tablespoon Japanese shredded red ginger (available in Asian markets)
  • Red chili powder (cayenne)
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    1. Combine beef with marinade ingredients, and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
    2. Remove beef from marinade. Combine Group A ingredients and cook in stockpot with beef approximately 1 1/2 hours, until beef is tender.
    3. Mix Group B ingredients in bowl until completely dissolved into a sauce. Store in refrigerator.
    4. Cook white noodles in boiling water approximately 1 minute. Remove and place in ice water until cold. Drain well. Coat noodles with 1 tablespoon cooking oil.
    5. Set beef on plate. Top with cold noodles.
    6. Pour 1/4 cup sauce (Group B) over noodles, and place Group C ingredients around plate.
    7. Garnish with dash of red chili powder and serve.

Serves 2
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Shrimp With Pan-Fried Noodles

This dish is full of ingredients that carry symbolism: noodles for long life, shrimp for joy and happiness, and bamboo shoots for wishing your family well. -- Courtesy of Panda Express

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 pound flour noodles, cooked
  • 1/4 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 tablespoons sliced bamboo shoots
  • 2 tablespoons sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons shredded Napa cabbage
  • 2 tablespoons sliced water chestnut
  • 1 ounce baby corn
  • 1 ounce broccoli florets
  • 1 ounce snow peas
  • 1 tablespoon chopped green onion
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger root
  • 2 tablespoons chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon Shao Hsing Cooking Wine
  • Dash sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons water
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    1. Heat oil in wok until hot. Add dry, cooked flour noodles to wok. Pan-fry noodles until browned and then lightly flatten against wok bottom. Fry until crispy and golden brown. Lift and drain extra oil, reserving 4 tablespoons. Remove noodles to serving platter.
    2. Heat 2 tablespoons reserved oil in wok until hot. Add shrimp and cook 1 minute. Add bamboo shoots, mushrooms, Napa cabbage, water chestnuts, baby corn, broccoli florets and snow peas. Stir-fry until done. Remove and drain; set aside.
    3. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons reserved oil in wok until hot. Add ginger and green onion. Stir-fry until fragrant. Add chicken broth, salt, wine and sesame oil. Bring to boil and add shrimp and vegetables. Slowly stir in cornstarch mixture to thicken sauce. Mix evenly. Remove and pour over pan-fried noodles.

Serves 3 to 4
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SOURCE: Panda Express

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