Happy Chinese New Year!!!
Chinese New Year begins on the first day of the lunar calendar, and is considered the first day of Spring. Commonly called the Spring Festival – this year it falls on January, 31st 2014. Chinese New Year is rich with history and also folklore; dating back to at least 14 century B.C., and the Shang Dynasty!
Historically, families prepared for New Years by cleaning the house. Cleaning was thought to get rid of the old, and usher in the new. Among other rituals and superstitions, it was also customary for people to offer sacrifices to their ancestors and Gods. Many of these customs were meant to bring good luck to the household.
Today there are many interpretations of the holiday. For many, it’s simply a time to celebrate with family, as well as a well deserved respite from work.
For my family, the feast on New Year’s Eve is our celebration. What’s better than great food and great family?!
The Chinese are superstitious – especially when it comes to their food. Take for example the photo above. The word for fish in Chinese is “Yu,” which is the same pronunciation for the word “surplus,” symbolizing abundance. Traditionally, families leave a little left over fish to symbolize that there will be enough for the family in the coming year. The fish is always served whole, with the head representing a good start to the year, and the tail representing a good ending. In Chinese, the words for “gold,” and “orange,” sound the same, so it is believed that tangerines symbolize wealth. Also, the word for tangerine sounds like “luck,” and the leaves symbolize longevity. The chrysanthemum flowers in the tea cup brings a life of ease, and the red candies bring more good luck.
We aren’t all that superstitious here at Pheasant & Hare, but we wish all of you abundance, wealth, longevity, and good luck in 2014!
Traditional, simple, and delicious, try the steamed fish at your Chinese New Year feast! The recipe comes from a page out of Mama Wong’s cookbook!
Ginger Scallion Steamed Fish
1 1-2 lb. whole fish (we like sustainably sourced sea bass, striped bass, trout or walleye)
3 scallions slivered
1 large finger of fresh ginger root matchsticked
1/3 cup of grape seed or canola oil
2-3 T of light soy sauce (we like Golden Mountain Seasoning)
Mama Wong says, “steam the fish directly on the serving platter, or on a glass Pyrex pie plate.” Place a small metal steam rack into a large stock pot, and fill the pot with water just to the top of the rack, bring to a boil. Place your fish with the serving platter or pie plate on the rack, and steam for 10-15 minutes.
While the fish is steaming, sliver the scallions and matchstick the ginger. When the fish is cooked, remove from heat. If the fish was steamed on Pyrex, transfer the fish to a serving platter, and top with the scallions and ginger. In a small saucepan, heat the oil until it just smokes. Carefully pour the hot oil over the aromatics and fish. There should be plenty of sizzling! Finish the dish with the soy sauce.
Gung Hay Fat Choy!
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