Over a billion people in China and millions around the world are celebrating the first day of the Chinese New Year. It started today, February 18 and 19 in Asia. It’s the most important of Chinese holidays, kicking off a celebration that lasts for 15 days and culminates with the Lantern Festival.
Each year is associated with one of 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac. For 2015, it’s the Year of the Sheep
(or Goat or Ram … the Chinese character is the same). The Year of the Goat is said to bring stability and tranquility and is also supposed to be a good time for education — making it a great time to learn how to make some new recipes.
Fish is often served because the Chinese word for fish, yú, sounds like the Chinese word for abundance. Chinese dumplings are also said to bring prosperity — and the more you eat, the better. Duck, one of my favorite dishes, symbolizes fertility and health. Chinese tradition holds that duck and chicken should be brought to the table whole for the New Year’s dinner — only then can the carving begin.
This weekend is the famous Chinese New Year parade and celebrations in China Town, Chicago.
We won’t be attending this year because the weather is predicted to be bitter cold. There aren’t any good Chinese restaurant where we live and decided to make a few recipes tonight and tomorrow.
Tonight’s meal, Uncle Lang’s Three Teacup Chicken served over brown rice and Chinese Zucchini.
Three teacup chicken refers to the small Chinese teacup, which is used to measure the sauce (soy sauce, vinegar, and sugar). Another easy and flavorful dish which was made in a wok, but you could use a large skillet if you don’t have one.
Tomorrow’s dinner I’m making homemade pork pot stickers. Mr. C loves these and I’ll make a large batch and freeze half of for future use.
One of the spices used in the dish is Star Anise, if you don’t have you could use Chinese 5 Spice found in most grocery stores.
Jim Lahey No Knead Bread
Uncle Lang’s Three Teacup Chicken
3 whole star anise (if you don’t have used a tsp of Chinese 5 Spice)
1/4 cup soy sauce or GF soy sauce like Tamari
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons Shao Hsing rice (found in most larger grocery stores) wine or dry sherry
1/2 teaspoons peanut oil
4 whole chicken legs or 4 small breast halves on the bone (about 2 pounds). White meat use bone in chicken breast.
3 medium garlic cloves, smashed
6 slices ginger
1/2 cup chicken broth, preferably homemade
In a medium bowl, combine the star anise, soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, and rice wine. Set aside.
Heat a wok over high heat until it starts smoking. Swirl in the oil and carefully add the chicken skin side down, spreading it in the wok. Cook, undisturbed 3 to 4 minutes, adjusting the heat between medium and medium-high to let the chicken brown.
Add the garlic and ginger. Then, using a metal spatula, turn the chicken over, and pan-fry 3 to 4 minutes, or until the chicken is browned but not cooked through. Stir the soy sauce mixture, and swirl it into the wok. Turn the chicken over. It should be golden brown. Swirl the broth into the wok, cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook 8-12 minutes (5 minutes for the breast).
Cut about 1 pound zucchini into long wedges. Heat light olive oil (minimal olive flavor) in a saute pan, cook until done. Add 2 teaspoon soy sauce. Before serving sprinkle with sesame seeds.