Xin Nian Kuaile! Happy New Year in Mandarin Chinese!
I have a special love for this holiday, not just because I love noodles and jiaozi, staples of the feast — but because I’m usually too busy with busyness to really enjoy Christmas and we’re usually travelling on New Year’s Eve and exhausted on New Year’s Day. By the time the lunar New Year rolls around, I am finally *ready* to celebrate! My friends and family get Chinese New Year’s cards instead of X-Mas cards…
The lunar New Year celebration lasts for 15 days — so if I’m not organized by day 1, I still have 14 left. It’s the perfect holiday!
A proper holiday has its own feast menu; this is my lunar New Year’s menu:
Jiaozi, aka potstickers, aka Chinese dumplings — these look kind of like gold ingots and are supposed to attract wealth. They certainly attract my appetite! I got our from Trader Joe’s, boiled them and then panfried them to golden, crispy perfection…
Next we had noodles for long life: also from Trader Joe’s and then doctored with extra garlic, fresh ginger and bok choy
And then we had my version of Chinese steamed fish. Fish is a very traditional food for a Chinese New Year’s dinner because the word for fish in Mandarin has the same sound as the word for jade, which is very powerful and lucky stuff!
I had hoped for a whole fish, but our local grocery store doesn’t sell them and I was too tired after a day at the office to venture out to 99 Ranch and fight traffic in order to get one of their amazing fish plucked straight from the tank and cleaned right there in front of you…. so we had rainbow trout fillets, not amazing, but pretty darned delicious.
NataXia’s Steamed Fish
3 rainbow trout fillets
9 cloves garlic
3 inches fresh ginger
1 bunch scallions
1 tbl light soy sauce
Rinse fish and arrange on parchment paper lining a bamboo steamer (or a regular Western Steamer). Crush garlic and spread about 3 cloves each per fish. Grate about 1 inch of fresh ginger per fish and spread generously. Top with strips of scallions. Drizzle with a little soy sauce and place over pan with boiling water. Let steam for about 20 minutes or until fish’s flesh is white and flaky.
Here’s hoping that your new year is full of good health, wealth and deliciousness!