My birthday falls in the middle of the week this year, so we have moved the party to this weekend. I like to have barbequed lamb, but the “spare the air” alerts have been almost constant this winter. Jan pointed out that next Friday is Chinese New Year and that we could use that as the theme.
Note: This post ties together my last nine posts. Each post covers one of the dishes I selected to make for my birthday/Chinese New Year’s dinner. In this post I try to explain my thinking in selecting each dish for this feast.
The Cantonese word for lettuce (生菜, san1 choi3) sounds like rising fortune. Lettuce wraps are an auspicious dish to serve on the New Year. These wraps can be filled with anything you would like to put in them. Lamb is an auspicious dish for my family—it is kind of a Lueck thing. I plan to fill my lettuce wraps with Mongolian lamb.
Karl’s Mongolian Lamb
Noodles are a symbol of longevity in Chinese tradition. A usual recipe for Chinese New Year would be to serve these in a Longevity Noodle Soup. Traditionally, you slurp these noodles whole without breaking them, so that you do not cut your longevity short. For my birthday/New Year’s feast I decided to go a different route.
Karl’s Cold Sichuan Noodles
Shrimp (小虾; xiǎo xiā) are a symbol of happiness and good fortune. One reason for this is that the shells turn red, a very auspicious color for the Chinese. When my son-in-law, Chris, heard about the Szechuan Salt & Pepper Shrimp that I had made last week, he requested that it be added to the menu for my birthday/Chinese New Year’s feast.
Karl’s Szechuan Salt & Pepper Shrimp II
No Chinese meal is complete without some rice. You can eat until you are bursting, but if you have not eaten at least one bite of rice, then all you have had is a “snack.” To leave rice out of a New Year’s meal would be very inauspicious.
Mimi’s Confetti Rice
I have made steamed fish before, but this one is for a New Year’s dinner. I will be stuffing this one with “lucky” ingredients. Also, instead of cutting the ginger into match sticks I will be leaving the, as “golden coins,” because that is the way much of Chinese symbolism works; if it looks like the thing, it is the thing.
Karl’s Chinese Whole Steamed Fish II
Steamed fish is something we had many times while we were in Chengdu, Sichuan, and in Hong Kong. It is actually a fairly simple recipe. I reconstructed it and I have continued to make it since we come back.
Karl’s Chinese Whole Steamed Fish