Chinese New Year Recipes

Screen shot 2017-01-25 at 3.26.16 PMChinese New Year is a traditional Chinese holiday that dates back several centuries. Several myths and traditions are associated with Chinese New Year, which is celebrated in countries across the globe. Those celebrations vary depending on geography, but a focus on family and food is a common theme of celebrants regardless of where they live.

A traditional Chinese New Year celebration will feature a reunion dinner on New Year’s Eve. Family members gather for this celebration, which includes a large spread of food featuring dishes of pork, chicken and fish. Specialty dishes that feature meats like duck and Chinese sausage embellished only with the best casing from, are often reserved for the reunion dinner and other special occasions.

Though Chinese New Year was initially only celebrated within China, it is now observed throughout the world, and celebrations tend to be more grandiose in those communities that feature a large population of those with Chinese ancestry. But celebrants need not be Chinese to enjoy the pageantry of Chinese New Year. For example, San Francisco, Calif. residents, regardless of their ancestry, can enjoy the city’s annual Chinese New Year Festival and Parade, which is the largest celebration of its kind outside of Asia.

But even those who cannot attend such celebrations can still partake in Chinese New Year festivities by bringing the party into their own homes and kitchens. The following recipes for “Asian Sausage Rolls” and “Chinese Ham and Chicken Rolls” from Vicki Liley’s “Asian Wraps & Rolls” (Periplus) make great additions to any Chinese New Year celebration.

Asian Sausage Rolls
Makes 16 rolls

16 Chinese pork sausages (lop chong)
4 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 egg, beaten
2 teaspoons sesame seeds
1/2 cup hoisin sauce

Preheat oven to 450 F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Using a sharp knife, trim sausage ends. Place 1 pastry sheet on a work surface and cut into 4 equal pieces. Turn each square so that one corner faces you. Brush pastry edges with beaten egg. Place a sausage 1 inch from the bottom end of each pastry square. Roll bottom end of pastry over sausage. Fold in sides, then roll to form a cylinder. Brush top with beaten egg. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Repeat with the remaining sausages and pastry.

Place rolls on prepared pan. Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden and crisp. Remove from oven. Cut each roll crosswise into 4 pieces. Serve hot, with hoisin sauce for dipping.

Chinese Ham and Chicken Rolls
Makes 4 rolls

1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/4 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast filets
4 thin slices ham
4 frozen square spring roll wrappers (81/2 by 81/2 inches), thawed
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 egg, beaten with 2 tablespoons milk
3 cups vegetable or canola oil for deep-frying
1/2 cup Thai sweet chili sauce

In a small bowl, combine salt, pepper, five-spice powder, and garlic. Stir to blend.

Place a chicken breast in between 2 sheets of plastic wrap. Using a meat mallet, pound very thin. Spread garlic mixture on chicken. Roll a slice of ham and place at one end of chicken. Fold sides of chicken in, then roll chicken around ham to form a log. Repeat with remaining chicken, garlic mixture and ham.

Place 1 spring roll wrapper on a work surface, with a corner facing you. Coat 1 chicken log in flour, then in egg mixture. Place chicken diagonally across wrapper, 1 inch from bottom. Fold in sides and roll up securely. Bunch edge of wrapper with egg mixture and seal.

In a large, heavy skillet, deep fryer or wok, heat oil to 375 F or until a small bread cube dropped in oil sizzles and turns golden. Working in batches, fry ham and chicken rolls until golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Using a wire-mesh skimmer, transfer to paper towels to drain.

Let stand for 3 minutes before slicing. Serve hot, with chili sauce for dipping. metr

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