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year, take two
how to host a Chinese New Year's feast
by Yee-Fan Sun
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continued from page 2
In my family, Chinese New Year dinner always means one thing: hot
It's like the Chinese version of fondue, only instead of a big vat of
bubbling cheese, the dish features a gently simmering broth that sits in
the center of the dinner table, surrounded by an assortment of meat,
veggies and more, that folks can select at will and cook in the communal
broth. It's both festive and completely easy on the host, as all the
work (mostly just prepping and cutting ingredients) can be done well
ahead of mealtime.
boy is the laziest eater in the whole universe, however, and prefers to
have his meals ready-cooked and seasoned for him, I sometimes do
dumplings instead of hot pot for the big New Year's feast.
Dumplings are one of those foods that even the pickiest of eaters
seems to adore; you can make them in the traditional meat version,
or try an all-veggie alternative that's just as tasty. Get folks
over for some communal dumpling-making and making the dumplings
becomes almost as fun as eating them.
While an all-dumpling
extravaganza is a pretty normal (and well-received) dinner for my
family, I know that non-Chinese folks sometimes think of dumplings
as appetizers rather than a main course, and consequently find it
a little weird not to have any other options or courses at a meal.
If you'd like to create a more well-rounded meal, supplement the
dumplings with some Chinese soup. Chicken and corn soup is a
quick, easy and very delicious favorite; egg drop soup is another
stop: still more
You can make a
no-heat version of this dish by substituting the chile
pepper with some red bell pepper.
1 lb. mung bean
sprouts, (scraggly roots
1 medium-hot red chile pepper (like a jalapeno or
sliced in very thin 1" strips
2 stalks scallions, cut into 2-3" long sections and
¼ tsp. rice wine vinegar
1 tsp. sesame oil
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp. ground black pepper
serves 6 as a
Heat up a
tablespoon of vegetable oil in a wok until just sending off
wisps. Add scallions and stir; slide in the bean sprouts and
half the chile, and stir-fry for a minute or two, just until
the sprouts begin to turn translucent. Add the vinegar,
sesame oil, salt and pepper and stir well. Turn off heat,
taste, and add more chile, salt or other seasonings as
lounge . nourish
host . laze
. home .