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Wok Up Prosperity for Chinese New Year

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Spicy Chinese Dumplings
Chinese Cornish Game Hens
Crispy Striped Bass Fillets

(Family Features) - Festivities abound with the arrival of Chinese New Year, traditionally celebrated with a New Year's Eve feast featuring symbolic foods to bring good fortune.

The main course dishes are the most important - fish and chicken. Fish represents abundance and is rich in protein to stimulate the mind. Perhaps clearer thinking is the best way to bring better luck! Chickens signify happiness and a long marriage. Roosters have a place of honor in the Chinese zodiac, and their crowing drives away evil spirits.

Here are recipes featuring both items, from Executive Chef Andy Kao of Panda Express. Round out the menu with noodles or rice, vegetables and a side dish like dumplings. Dessert can be as simple as tangerines, which symbolize prosperity.

The Dish on Dumplings

Dumpling parties are a highly anticipated part of the holiday; it's a family tradition for everyone to help create the delicacies and feast on them. Because their shape resembles ancient Chinese currency, dumplings reflect wealth. A coin is often hidden in one of them as a sign of good fortune for whoever finds it.

Spicy Chinese Dumplings

Ingredients
  • 1/2 pound ground chicken
  • 1/4 cup minced green onion
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh coriander
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon chili oil (optional)
  • 1/3 cup minced shiitake mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup minced Napa cabbage
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 30 round Chinese dumpling wrappers
  • Coriander, chopped peanuts and minced red bell pepper, for garnish

Preparation
    1. Mix all ingredients from chicken through salt in a bowl just until blended. Lightly brush edges of a dumpling wrapper with water. Place 1 tablespoon chicken mixture in center of wrapper and fold in half. Pinch edges to seal and pinch pleats around curved edge. Repeat with remaining ingredients, placing dumplings on a tray in a single layer. Cover and refrigerate until ready to cook. (Dumplings may be formed up to 2 hours ahead).
    2. At serving time, boil 2 quarts of water in large wok or saucepan. Gently drop dumplings into water several at a time. Cook 5 to 6 minutes or until cooked through. Remove with slotted spoon, drain briefly, and place in warm serving bowls. Serve with soy sauce or other dipping sauce on side or drizzled on top, and garnish with items such as coriander, chopped peanuts and minced red bell pepper.

Serves
Yield about 30 dumplings

Notes, Tips & Suggestions
Note: For mild flavor, omit chili oil.

Chinese Cornish Game Hens

Ingredients
  • 2 Cornish game hens (1 pound each)
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 quart chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons sliced green onion, including tops
  • 2 tablespoons Chinese 5-spice powder
  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 quarts vegetable oil
  • Fresh coriander, for garnish
Dipping sauce, recipe follows
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh coriander
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • Dash red pepper flakes

Preparation
    1. Dry hens with paper towels and rub with salt. Cover loosely and refrigerate 8 hours. Rinse salt from hens and dry with paper towels.
    2. Stir broth, soy sauce, green onion, 5-spice powder, ginger and sugar in medium-large saucepan. Bring to a boil; add hens. Bring to a boil again and lower heat; simmer 25 minutes. Remove hens from broth; discard broth mixture. Dry hens with paper towel; set aside.
    3. Heat oil in large wok (or deep, heavy saucepan) to 350°F. Add hens and cook about 8 minutes, until browned and cooked through. Serve garnished with fresh coriander, with dipping sauce alongside.
    4. Dipping Sauce - Stir ingredients together.

Serves
Serves 2

Crispy Striped Bass Fillets

Ingredients
  • 2 striped bass, cleaned, scaled, heads removed
  • 2 (12-inch) wooden skewers, cut into 3 pieces each (6 pieces total)
  • 2 quarts vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
Dipping sauce, recipe follows
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons finely minced ginger
  • 1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced onion
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese garlic and red chili paste
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced red fresh chili
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch mixed with 2 teaspoons cold water

Preparation
    1. With sharp knife, cut striped bass along back, starting about 3 inches below tail. Scrape knife against bones to free fillet, keeping skin intact. Repeat on both sides of fillet and cut out bones. (Fish tail remains intact, attached to 2 boned fillet pieces that will be spread on plate after cooking). Insert 1 skewer into tail. Insert 2 skewers into fillets on either side of tail. (This holds fish in place during cooking). Repeat with remaining striped bass.
    2. Heat oil in large wok to 350°: to 375°F (or in deep saucepan large enough to hold fish). Brush both sides of fish with soy sauce and coat lightly with cornstarch. Gently slide fish into hot oil and cook 6 to 8 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove from wok and place on serving plates. Carefully remove skewers and spread out fillet sides, with tail up for dramatic presentation. Serve with dipping sauce.
    3. Dipping Sauce - Heat oil in small sauce pan over medium heat. Stir in ginger, garlic and onion and cook, stirring, 2 minutes or until onion is softened. Remove from heat and whisk in remaining ingredients. Return pan to heat and bring to a boil. Remove from heat; keep sauce warm while cooking fish.

Serves
Serves 2

SOURCE: Panda Express



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