This year Chinese New Year is being celebrated on January 23 through February 6; it is also the year of dragon which symbolizes luck and power to those lucky enough to be born around this mystic symbol. While some would go out and celebrate this event with friends and families, dining in restaurants; there are those who celebrate this event amongst their household, cooking traditional dishes that celebrates this momentous event. From roasted duck to the stick dessert that is rice cake, here are three well deserved dishes that can spice up your household during the Year of the Dragon:
ASIAN FIVE SPICE POWDER
In every Asian dish that involves meat ingredients, the Five Spice powder is never that far away from its list of added ingredients. Once placed alongside with any meat ingredient and left for a duration of time to marinade, it flavors not only the meat inside and out but also gives it that pudgent spice aroma that can surely fool the nose into knowing that the dish will be delicious. While most Asian markets or any gorcery stores that sells these could go for about probably a few bucks; most dare daring cooks would make it at home. Below is the one-two step in making this special spice powder.
2 Tablspoons whole black peppercorns
3 star anise
2 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 3-inch cinnamon sticks broken into pieces
6 whole cloves
1) Begin first by cooking the peppercorns onto a skillet under medium heat for a good minute or two, or until it becomes fragrant after which you can remove it from the pan and set aside. (Note: Cooking it too long will cause it to burn)
2) Repeat step one for the rest of the other ingredients until all spices have been cooked; place all ingredients in a spice grinder or a coffee grinder if you have one and blend into a poweder. Keep it remained inside the grinder until the powder cools down and then transfer to a small container.
Close with a lid and store in a dark place for at least a month.
Makes about 1/4 cup
FIVE SPICE CHICKEN
The Five Spice Chicken is a wonderful dish that consist of several key Asian ingredients that delights both the nose and tastebuds of the mouth making it a mouthwatering meal that anyone could have.
3 Tablespoons of Soy Sauce
3 Tablespoons of Vegetable Oil
2 Tablespoons of Sherry Wine
2 Shallots minced
2 Tablespoons or 1/4 of Ginger sliced thinly then minced
2 Tablespoons Five Spice
2 Tablspoons Brown Sugar
1/2 teaspoons Anise Seeds
Pinch of Salt
Whole chicken cut into quarters
1) Begin with marinating the chicken in a large bowl; combine all the ingredients together and allow it to marinate for about at least two to three hours or overnight if it will be roasted on the next following day. This process will allow it to absorb the flavors of the five spice while making it tender later while roasting.
2) Preheat the oven to 350*F. Before placing the chicken pieces into a small roasting pan, swirl the chicken pieces once more in its marinate before placing onto the pan. Place into oven and roast for about 40-30 minutes or until chicken becomes very tender.
3) When finished, place the pieces onto a serving plate and garnish with some fresh sliced green onions.
*Serves 3-4 servings
EGG FOO YOUNG
In most restaurants Egg Foo Young was a dish traditionally served as an appetizer before the main meal but can also be served as a stand by dish and for any meal of day whether that meant eating it at breakfast, lunch or even dinner.
1 cup of button mushrooms sliced
1 1/2 white onions, thinly sliced
1/2 pound of bean sprouts
1 1/2 cups of protein diced (chicken, pork, shrimp, etc.)
6 large eggs beaten
Foo Young Sauce:
1 cup of chicken broth
2 Tablespoons of soy sauce
1 Tablespoon of cornstarch for slurry
Pinch of salt and pepper
Foo Young Sauce
1) Pour the chicken broth and soy sauce into a small saucepan. Mix together with a whisk and bring it to a simmer.
2) Prepare a cornstarch slurry consist of cornstarch and a little water in a small bowl. Mix well and add to saucepan while stirring it constantly to prevent it from forming clumps. Remove from heat and set aside.
Egg Foo Young
1) Begin by cooking the mushrooms, onions and bean sprouts one at a time in the same skillet for about 2 minutes or until they are well soften. Place them altogether in a bowl and allow it to cool down for about five minutes.
2) While the vegetables are cooling aside, begin to cook the protein until fully cooked; set aside. (Note: If you are cooking shrimp, skip step two and go to step three. This prevents it from becoming too rubbery later on)
3) Crack all the eggs into a large bowl and season with salt and pepper, mix well. Add both the protein and the vegetables together and fold into the egg mixture.
4) Preheat a skillet with frying oil and allow it to heat up. Then using a soup bowl spoon or a ladel, spoon up one egg mixture and slowly pour that into the pan.
5) Cook it until the sides of the foo young begin to whiten and turn brown on the bottom. While this is happening, spoon a little bit of the hot oil and pour it onto the top of the foo young mixture to allow it to cook so that when you flip it, the mixture will not spill back into the pan.
6) Using a spatula, carefully flip the foo young over so that it can continue cooking the other side. Allow it to cook for another 3 minutes and remove. Place foo young patties onto a plate lined with paper towels and cool. To serve, take one Egg Foo Young and place onto plate while pouring over the Egg Foo Young Sauce over it. Garnish with sliced green onions and serve.
*Serves 2-3 servings
VEGGIE STIR FRY
In many Asian cookery, a stir fry is never far from the table and no stir fry is one in the same; each can come in its own variation. Stir fry is usually a dish consist of either leftover meats like chicken or beef that was served the last following day to vegetables that are thrown together to make a quick but healthy meal on the fly. Here is one variation of that dish.
2 lotus roots peeled and sliced 1/4 inch
2 bell peppers cut into large dices
1 crown of brocoli cut into bit size pieces
2 large carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/2 inch coins
2 onions rough chopped
1 pound of button mushrooms, sliced
1/4 teaspoon of minced chili peppers
2 cloves of garlic pressed
1/4 teaspoon of ginger minced
1 1/2 Tablespoon of soy sauce
pinch salt and pepper to taste
1) In a medium wok heat up oil until it is smoking hot; throw in the garlic and onions and cook until the onions are sweated. Next add in the ginger and continue cooking.
2) Lower the heat to a medium and add in the carrots and lotus root; continue cooking until they are slightly soften but still maintain crunchiness then add in the mushrooms, brocoli and bell peppers, mix well. Continue cooking until the brocoli are soft.
3) Add in the chili peppers, soy sauce, salt and pepper to season the stir-fry. Cook for another ten minutes or until all vegetables are tender. Take off from heat and place onto plate to serve.
*Serves 3-5 servings