Chinese New Year :Year of the Ox 2021

5Oxen are honest and earnest. They are low key and never look for praise or to be the center of attention. This often hides their talent, but they’ll gain recognition through their hard work.

They believe that everyone should do what’s asked for them and stay within their bounds. Though they are kind, it’s difficult for them to understand persuasion using pathos. Rarely losing your temper, they think logically and make great leaders.

                                        Elements and fortunes

Metal 1961, 2021 These Oxen face obstacles early on, although there are no financial worries. Friends and family aren’t much help, but they will be able to enjoy a comfortable retirement.
Water 1973, 2033 These Oxen have a comfortable early life and are respected their entire life. They will have a loving family, but it’s recommended to marry late.
Wood 1925, 1985 These Oxen are multitalented and live like a breeze. There are some difficulties in the beginning, but everything smooths out.
Fire 1937, 1997 These Oxen are friendly and social. There are no financial worries their entire life.
Earth 1949, 2009 These Oxen are detailed and like being the leader. They’re usually are make a lot of money, but can’t seem to hold onto it. However, they are able to slow down and enjoy their later years.

Men born in the Ox year are reliable and trustworthy. They put their entire heart into everything they do. They feel great responsibility towards their family as well. However, due to their confidence (almost arrogance), they don’t allow anyone to go against their rules. They hold your children to high expectations, even though it might be unrealistic.

Women born in the Ox year are calm and gentle. They will never surrender to fate and rarely think of choosing an alternative. This no doubt leads to a life of struggles. But no matter what, they will walk down the road they choose until the end. Despite this stubbornness, they think and react quickly.

What is the Chinese New Year animal for 2021?
year of the Ox
2021 is a year of the Ox, starting from February 12th, 2021 (Chinese lunar New Year Day) and lasting until January 31st, 2022. It will be a Metal Ox year. The recent zodiac years of Ox sign are: 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009, 2021, 2033…An Ox year occurs every 12 years.
How long is the Chinese New Year 2021?
16 days
Chinese New Year 2021 will be observed on Friday, February 12th, 2021. Mostly, the Chinese New Year festival period lasts for 16 days, starting from Chinese New Year’s eve to the Lantern Festival. In 2021, the Chinese New Year festival will begin on February 11th and go on till February 26th.
Is Year of the Ox lucky in 2021?
According to the Chinese zodiac2021 is the Year of the Ox. … The years of the Ox in the Chinese Horoscope are: 1913, 1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009, and 2021. This year is going to be lucky and also perfect to focus on relationships, whether we are talking about friendships or love.
What does Year of the Ox mean 2021?
So we can see a bigger emphasis on industries related to metal in 2021. “The ox, in Chinese culture, is a hardworking zodiac sign. It usually signifies movements so, hopefully, the world will be less static than last year and get moving again in the second half of the year.”
The Chinese zodiac animals

The zodiac traditionally begins with the sign of the Rat. The following are the twelve zodiac signs in order, each with its associated characteristics (Earthly Branch, yin/yang force, Trine, and nature element).[6]

  1. Rat – 鼠, shǔ (子) (Yang, 1st Trine, Fixed Element Water)
  2. Ox – 牛, niú (丑) (Yin, 2nd Trine, Fixed Element Earth)
  3. Tiger – 虎, hǔ (寅) (Yang, 3rd Trine, Fixed Element Wood)
  4. Rabbit – 兔, tù (卯) (Yin, 4th Trine, Fixed Element Wood)
  5. Dragon – 龙/龍, lóng (辰) (Yang, 1st Trine, Fixed Element Earth)
  6. Snake – 蛇, shé (巳) (Yin, 2nd Trine, Fixed Element Fire)
  7. Horse – 马/馬, mǎ (午) (Yang, 3rd Trine, Fixed Element Fire)
  8. Goat – 羊, yáng (未) (Yin, 4th Trine, Fixed Element Earth)
  9. Monkey – 猴, hóu (申) (Yang, 1st Trine, Fixed Element Metal)
  10. Rooster – 鸡/雞, jī (酉) (Yin, 2nd Trine, Fixed Element Metal)
  11. Dog – 狗, gǒu (戌) (Yang, 3rd Trine, Fixed Element Earth)
  12. Pig – 猪/豬, zhū (亥) (Yin, 4th Trine, Fixed Element Water)

In Chinese astrology the animal signs assigned by year represent how others perceive you or how you present yourself. Image result for Zodiac origin stories

  Year Associated
1924–1983 1984–2043
1 Feb 05 1924–Jan 23 1925 Yang Wood Rat Feb 02 1984–Feb 19 1985
2 Jan 24 1925–Feb 12 1926 Yin Wood Ox Feb 20 1985–Feb 08 1986
3 Feb 13 1926–Feb 01 1927 Yang Fire Tiger Feb 09 1986–Jan 28 1987
4 Feb 02 1927–Jan 22 1928 Yin Fire Rabbit Jan 29 1987–Feb 16 1988
5 Jan 23 1928–Feb 09 1929 Yang Earth Dragon Feb 17 1988–Feb 05 1989
6 Feb 10 1929–Jan 29 1930 Yin Earth Snake Feb 06 1989–Jan 26 1990
7 Jan 30 1930–Feb 16 1931 Yang Metal Horse Jan 27 1990–Feb 14 1991
8 Feb 17 1931–Feb 05 1932 Yin Metal Goat Feb 15 1991–Feb 03 1992
9 Feb 06 1932–Jan 25 1933 Yang Water Monkey Feb 04 1992–Jan 22 1993
10 Jan 26 1933–Feb 13 1934 Yin Water Rooster Jan 23 1993–Feb 09 1994
11 Feb 14 1934–Feb 03 1935 Yang Wood Dog Feb 10 1994–Jan 30 1995
12 Feb 04 1935–Jan 23 1936 Yin Wood Pig Jan 31 1995–Feb 18 1996
13 Jan 24 1936–Feb 10 1937 Yang Fire Rat Feb 19 1996–Feb 06 1997
14 Feb 11 1937–Jan 30 1938 Yin Fire Ox Feb 07 1997–Jan 27 1998
15 Jan 31 1938–Feb 18 1939 Yang Earth Tiger Jan 28 1998–Feb 15 1999
16 Feb 19 1939–Feb 07 1940 Yin Earth Rabbit Feb 16 1999–Feb 04 2000
17 Feb 08 1940–Jan 26 1941 Yang Metal Dragon Feb 05 2000–Jan 23 2001
18 Jan 27 1941–Feb 14 1942 Yin Metal Snake Jan 24 2001–Feb 11 2002
19 Feb 15 1942–Feb 04 1943 Yang Water Horse Feb 12 2002–Jan 31 2003
20 Feb 05 1943–Jan 24 1944 Yin Water Goat Feb 01 2003–Jan 21 2004
21 Jan 25 1944–Feb 12 1945 Yang Wood Monkey Jan 22 2004–Feb 08 2005
22 Feb 13 1945–Feb 01 1946 Yin Wood Rooster Feb 09 2005–Jan 28 2006
23 Feb 02 1946–Jan 21 1947 Yang Fire Dog Jan 29 2006–Feb 17 2007
24 Jan 22 1947–Feb 09 1948 Yin Fire Pig Feb 18 2007–Feb 06 2008
25 Feb 10 1948–Jan 28 1949 Yang Earth Rat Feb 07 2008–Jan 25 2009
26 Jan 29 1949–Feb 16 1950 Yin Earth Ox Jan 26 2009–Feb 13 2010
27 Feb 17 1950–Feb 05 1951 Yang Metal Tiger Feb 14 2010–Feb 02 2011
28 Feb 06 1951–Jan 26 1952 Yin Metal Rabbit Feb 03 2011–Jan 22 2012
29 Jan 27 1952–Feb 13 1953 Yang Water Dragon Jan 23 2012–Feb 09 2013
30 Feb 14 1953–Feb 02 1954 Yin Water Snake Feb 10 2013–Jan 30 2014
31 Feb 03 1954–Jan 23 1955 Yang Wood Horse Jan 31 2014–Feb 18 2015
32 Jan 24 1955–Feb 11 1956 Yin Wood Goat Feb 19 2015–Feb 07 2016
33 Feb 12 1956–Jan 30 1957 Yang Fire Monkey Feb 08 2016–Jan 27 2017
34 Jan 31 1957–Feb 17 1958 Yin Fire Rooster Jan 28 2017–Feb 15 2018
35 Feb 18 1958–Feb 07 1959 Yang Earth Dog Feb 16 2018–Feb 04 2019
36 Feb 08 1959–Jan 27 1960 Yin Earth Pig Feb 05 2019–Jan 24 2020
37 Jan 28 1960–Feb 14 1961 Yang Metal Rat Jan 25 2020–Feb 11 2021
38 Feb 15 1961–Feb 04 1962 Yin Metal Ox Feb 12 2021–Jan 31 2022
39 Feb 05 1962–Jan 24 1963 Yang Water Tiger Feb 01 2022–Jan 21 2023
40 Jan 25 1963–Feb 12 1964 Yin Water Rabbit Jan 22 2023–Feb 09 2024
41 Feb 13 1964–Feb 01 1965 Yang Wood Dragon Feb 10 2024–Jan 28 2025
42 Feb 02 1965–Jan 20 1966 Yin Wood Snake Jan 29 2025–Feb 16 2026
43 Jan 21 1966–Feb 08 1967 Yang Fire Horse Feb 17 2026–Feb 05 2027
44 Feb 09 1967–Jan 29 1968 Yin Fire Goat Feb 06 2027–Jan 25 2028
45 Jan 30 1968–Feb 16 1969 Yang Earth Monkey Jan 26 2028–Feb 12 2029
46 Feb 17 1969–Feb 05 1970 Yin Earth Rooster Feb 13 2029–Feb 02 2030
47 Feb 06 1970–Jan 26 1971 Yang Metal Dog Feb 03 2030–Jan 22 2031
48 Jan 27 1971–Feb 14 1972 Yin Metal Pig Jan 23 2031–Feb 10 2032
49 Feb 15 1972–Feb 02 1973 Yang Water Rat Feb 11 2032–Jan 30 2033
50 Feb 03 1973–Jan 22 1974 Yin Water Ox Jan 31 2033–Feb 18 2034
51 Jan 23 1974–Feb 10 1975 Yang Wood Tiger Feb 19 2034–Feb 07 2035
52 Feb 11 1975–Jan 30 1976 Yin Wood Rabbit Feb 08 2035–Jan 27 2036
53 Jan 31 1976–Feb 17 1977 Yang Fire Dragon Jan 28 2036–Feb 14 2037
54 Feb 18 1977–Feb 06 1978 Yin Fire Snake Feb 15 2037–Feb 03 2038
55 Feb 07 1978–Jan 27 1979 Yang Earth Horse Feb 04 2038–Jan 23 2039
56 Jan 28 1979–Feb 15 1980 Yin Earth Goat Jan 24 2039–Feb 11 2040
57 Feb 16 1980–Feb 04 1981 Yang Metal Monkey Feb 12 2040–Jan 31 2041
58 Feb 05 1981–Jan 24 1982 Yin Metal Rooster Feb 01 2041–Jan 21 2042
59 Jan 25 1982–Feb 12 1983 Yang Water Dog Jan 22 2042–Feb 09 2043
60 Feb 13 1983–Feb 01 1984 Yin Water Pig Feb 10 2043–Jan 29 2044

As each sign is linked to a month of the solar year, it is thereby also linked to a season. Each of the elements is also linked to a season (see above), and the element that shares a season with a sign is known as that sign’s fixed element. In other words, that element is believed to impart some of its characteristics to the sign concerned. The fixed element of each sign applies also to the year and hour signs, and not just the monthly sign. The fixed element is separate from the cycle of elements which interact with the signs in the 60-year cycle.Image result for Zodiac origin stories

Season Lunar month Fixed
Solar term Gregorian date Approx.
Spring 1st – 寅 (yin) Tiger Wood 314° 立春 lìchūn Feb 4 – Feb 19 Aquarius
329° 雨水 yǔshuǐ Feb 20 – Mar 5 Pisces
2nd – 卯 (mao) Rabbit Wood 344° 啓蟄 qǐzhé (驚蟄 jīngzhé) Mar 6 – Mar 20
359° 春分 chūnfēn Mar 21 – Apr 4 Aries
3rd – 辰 (chen) Dragon Earth 14° 清明 qīngmíng Apr 5 – Apr 20
29° 穀雨 gǔyǔ Apr 21 – May 5 Taurus
Summer 4th – 巳 (si) Snake Fire 44° 立夏 lìxià May 6 – May 21
59° 小滿 xiǎomǎn May 22 – Jun 5 Gemini
5th – 午 (wu) Horse Fire 74° 芒種 mángzhòng Jun 6 – Jun 21
89° 夏至 xiàzhì Jun 22 – Jul 6 Cancer
6th – 未 (wei) Goat Earth 104° 小暑 xiǎoshǔ Jul 7 – Jul 22
119° 大暑 dàshǔ Jul 23 – Aug 6 Leo
Autumn 7th – 申 (shen) Monkey Metal 134° 立秋 lìqiū Aug 7 – Aug 22
149° 處暑 chùshǔ Aug 23 – Sep 7 Virgo
8th – 酉 (you) Rooster Metal 164° 白露 báilù Sep 8 – Sep 23
181° 秋分 qiūfēn Sep 24 – Oct 7 Libra
9th – 戌 (xu) Dog Earth 194° 寒露 hánlù Oct 8 – Oct 23
211° 霜降 shuāngjiàng Oct 24 – Nov 6 Scorpio
Winter 10th – 亥 (hai) Pig Water 224° 立冬 lìdōng Nov 7 – Nov 22
244° 小雪 xiǎoxuě Nov 23 – Dec 6 Sagittarius
11th – 子 (zi) Rat Water 251° 大雪 dàxuě Dec 7 – Dec 21
271° 冬至 dōngzhì Dec 22 – Jan 5 Capricorn
12th – 丑 (chou) Ox Earth 284° 小寒 xiǎohán Jan 6 – Jan 20
299° 大寒 dàhán Jan 21 – Feb 3 Aquarius


As the Chinese zodiac is derived according to the ancient Five Elements Theory, every Chinese sign is composed of five elements with relations, among those elements, of interpolation, interaction, over-action, and counter-action—believed to be the common law of motions and changes of creatures in the universe.

Chinese astrology consult such traditional details and compatibilities to offer putative guidance in life or for love and marriage

Chinese Zodiac Compatibility GridImage result for Zodiac origin stories
Best Match
Favorable match
Average Match
Bad match
Harmful match
Rat Dragon, Monkey Ox Pig, Rat, Tiger, Rabbit, Dog, Snake Snake, Rooster, Horse Goat
Ox Snake, Rooster Rat Pig, Ox, Monkey, Dog,Rabbit Tiger, Dragon, Goat Horse
Tiger Horse, Dog Pig Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Rooster, Rat, Goat Ox, Monkey Snake
Rabbit Goat, Pig Dog, Rabbit Tiger, Monkey, Rat, Ox, Horse Snake, Rooster Dragon
Dragon Monkey, Rat Rooster Tiger, Rabbit, Horse, Goat, Pig Ox, Dog, Dragon Rabbit
Snake Rooster, Ox Monkey Snake, Horse,Dragon, Goat Rabbit, Dog, Rat, Pig Tiger
Horse Horse, Dog, Tiger Goat Snake, Rabbit, Dragon, Monkey, Rooster, Pig Rat Ox
Goat Goat, Pig, Rabbit Horse Snake, Tiger, Dragon, Monkey, Dog Rooster, Ox Rat
Monkey Rat, Dragon Snake Monkey, Rooster, Dog, Ox, Horse, Goat, Rabbit Tiger Pig
Rooster Ox, Snake Dragon Monkey, Horse, Goat, Pig, Tiger Rooster, Rat, Rabbit Dog
Dog Tiger, Horse Rabbit Monkey, Dog, Pig, Rat, Ox, Goat Snake, Dragon Rooster
Pig Rabbit, Goat Tiger Pig, Rat, Ox, Rooster, Dog, Dragon, Horse Snake Monkey

Due to confusion with synonyms during translation, some of the animals depicted by the English words did not exist in ancient China. For example:

  • The term 鼠 Rat can be translated as Mouse, as there are no distinctive words for the two genera in Chinese. However, Rat is the most commonly used one among all the synonyms.
  • The term 牛 Ox, a castrated Bull, can be translated interchangeably with other terms related to Cattle (male Bull, female Cow) and Buffalo. However, Ox is the most commonly used one among all the synonyms.
  • The term 羊 Goat can be translated as Sheep and Ram, a male Sheep. However, Goat is the most commonly used one among all the synonyms.
  • The term 雞 Chicken, can be translated interchangeably with male Rooster, as well as the female Hen. However, Rooster is the most commonly used one among all the synonyms in English-speaking countries.
  • The term 豬 Pig is sometimes translated to Boar after its Japanese name.

The Korean zodiac is essentially identical to the Chinese zodiac, but the Sino-Korean word 양 (yang) normally refers specifically to a sheep in the Korean language (where a native Korean word 염소 yeomso is used to mean “Goat”), although the Chinese source of the loanword yang may refer to any goat-antelope.

The Japanese zodiac includes the Sheep (hitsuji) instead of the Goat (which would be yagi), and the Wild boar (inoshishii) instead of the Pig (buta). Since 1873, the Japanese have celebrated the beginning of the new year on 1 January as per the Gregorian calendar.

The Vietnamese zodiac varies from the Chinese zodiac with the second animal being the Water Buffalo instead of the Ox, and the fourth animal being the Cat instead of the Rabbit.

The Cambodian zodiac is exactly identical to that of the Chinese although the dragon is interchangeable with the Neak (nāga) Cambodian sea snake.Sheep and Goat are interchangeable as well. Unlike China, Cambodians start their new year in April rather than in the beginning of the year. That is why the Cambodian New Year is celebrated in April rather than in January or February like most countries.

The Cham zodiac uses the same order as the Chinese zodiac, but replaces the Monkey with the turtle (known locally as kra).

Similarly the Malay zodiac is identical to the Chinese but replaces the Rabbit with the mouse deer (pelanduk) and the Pig with the tortoise (kura).The Dragon is normally equated with the nāga but it is sometimes called Big Snake (ular besar) while the Snake sign is called Second Snake (ular sani).

The Thai zodiac includes a nāga in place of the Dragon and begins, not at the Chinese New Year, but either on the first day of the fifth month in the Thai lunar calendar, or during the Songkran New Year festival (now celebrated every 13–15 April), depending on the purpose of the use.

The Gurung zodiac in Nepal includes a Cow instead of Ox, Cat instead of Rabbit, Eagle instead of Dragon, Bird instead of Rooster, and Deer instead of Pig.

The Bulgar calendar used from the 2nd Century and that has been only partially reconstructed uses a similar 60 years cycle of 12 animal-named years groups which are:

  1. Mouse (In Bulgar: Somor)
  2. Ox (In Bulgar: Shegor)
  3. Uncertain, probably Tiger / Wolf (In Bulgar: Ver?)
  4. Rabbit (In Bulgar: Dvan[sh])
  5. Uncertain, probably Dragon (In Bulgar: Ver[eni]?)
  6. Snake (In Bulgar: Dilom)
  7. Horse (In Bulgar: Imen[shegor]?)
  8. Ram (In Bulgar: Teku[chitem]?)
  9. Unattested, probably Monkey
  10. Hen or Rooster (In Bulgar: Toh)
  11. Dog (In Bulgar: Eth)
  12. Boar (In Bulgar: Dohs)

The Old Mongol calendar uses the Mouse, the Ox, the Leopard, the Hare, the Crocodile, the Serpent, the Horse, the Sheep, the Monkey, the Hen, the Dog and the Hog.

The Volga BulgarsKazars and other Turkic peoples replaced some animals by local fauna: Leopard (instead of Tiger), Fish (instead of Dragon), Crocodile (also instead of Dragon), Hedgehog (instead of Monkey), Elephant (instead of Pig), and Camel (instead of Mouse).


Image result for Zodiac origin stories

Zodiac origin stories

There are many stories and fables to explain the beginning of the zodiac. Since the Han Dynasty, the 12 Earthly Branches have been used to record the time of day. However, for the sake of entertainment and convenience they have been replaced by the 12 animals. The 24 hours are divided into 12 periods, and a mnemonic refers to the behavior of the animals:

Earthly Branches may refer to a double-hour period. In the latter case it is the center of the period; for instance, 马 (Horse) means noon as well as a period from 11:00 to 13:00.

  • Rat (Zishi): 23:00 to 00:59. This is the time when rats are most active in seeking food. Rats also have a different number of digits on front and hind legs, thus earning Rat the symbol of “turn over” or “new start”.
  • Ox (Choushi): 01:00 to 02:59. This is the time when oxen begin to chew the cud slowly and comfortably.
  • Tiger (Yinshi): 03:00 to 04:59. This is the time when tigers hunt their prey more and show their ferocity.
  • Rabbit (Maoshi): 05:00 to 06:59. This is the time when the Jade Rabbit is busy pounding herbal medicine on the Moon according to the tale.
  • Dragon (Chenshi): 07:00 to 08:59. This is the time when dragons are hovering in the sky to give rain.
  • Snake (Sishi): 09:00 to 10:59. This is the time when snakes are leaving their caves.
  • Horse (Wushi): 11:00 to 12:59. This is the time when the sun is high overhead and while other animals are lying down for a rest, horses are still standing.
  • Goat (Weishi): 13:00 to 14:59. This is the time when goats eat grass and urinate frequently.
  • Monkey (Shenshi): 15:00 to 16:59. This is the time when monkeys are lively.
  • Rooster (Youshi): 17:00 to 18:59. This is the time when roosters begin to get back to their coops.
  • Dog (Xushi): 19:00 to 20:59. This is the time when dogs carry out their duty of guarding the houses.
  • Pig (Haishi): 21:00 to 22:59. This is the time when pigs are sleeping sweetly.

“Great Race” tells that the Jade Emperor decreed that the years on the calendar would be named for each animal in the order they reached him. To get there, the animals would have to cross a river.

The Cat and the Rat were not good at swimming, but they were both quite intelligent. They decided that the best and fastest way to cross the river was to hop on the back of the Ox. The Ox, being kindhearted and naive, agreed to carry them both across. As the Ox was about to reach the other side of the river, the Rat pushed the Cat into the water, and then jumped off the Ox and rushed to the Jade Emperor. It was named as the first animal of the zodiac calendar. The Ox had to settle in second place.
The third one to come, was the Tiger. Even though it was strong and powerful, it explained to the Jade Emperor that the currents were pushing him downstream.
Suddenly, from a distance came a thumping sound, and the Rabbit arrived. It explained how it crossed the river: by jumping from one stone to another, in a nimble fashion. Halfway through, it almost lost the race, but it was lucky enough to grab hold of a floating log that later washed him to shore. For that, it became the fourth animal in the zodiac cycle.
In fifth place, was the flying Dragon. The Jade Emperor was wondering why such a swift airborne creature such as the Dragon did not come in first. The Dragon explained that it had to stop by a village and brought rain for all the people, and therefore it was held back. Then, on its way to the finish, it saw the helpless Rabbit clinging onto a log, so it did a good deed and gave a puff of breath to the poor creature so that it could land on the shore. The Jade Emperor was astonished by the Dragon’s good nature, and it was named as the fifth animal.
As soon as it had done so, a galloping sound was heard, and the Horse appeared. Hidden on the Horse’s hoof was the Snake, whose sudden appearance gave it a fright, thus making it fall back and giving the Snake the sixth spot while the Horse placed seventh.
After a while, the Goat, Monkey, and Rooster came to the heavenly gate. With combined efforts, they managed to arrive to the other side. The Rooster found a raft, and the Monkey and the Goat tugged and pulled, trying to get all the weeds out of the way. The Jade Emperor was pleased with their teamwork and decided to name the Goat as the eighth animal followed by the Monkey and then the Rooster.
The eleventh animal placed in the zodiac cycle was the Dog. Although it should have been the best swimmer and runner, it spent its time to play in the water. Though his explanation for being late was because it needed a good bath after a long spell. For that, it almost did not make it to the finish line.
Right when the Emperor was going to end the race, an “oink” sound was heard: it was the Pig. The Pig felt hungry in the middle of the race, so it stopped, ate something, and then fell asleep. After it awoke, it finished the race in twelfth place and became the last animal to arrive.
The cat eventually drowned and failed to be in the zodiac. It is said that this is the reason cats always hunt rats and also don’t like water as well.
Celebrate the Year of the Ox with these delicious dishes.

For example:

  • Eggs: big and healthy family
  • Lobster: endless money rolling in
  • Shrimp: fortune and wealth
  • Roasted pig: peace
  • Duck: loyalty
  • Peaches: longevity
  • Tofu: happiness and fortune for the entire family
  • Fish: surplus and wealth

Sweet glutinous rice cake (nian gao)

Nian gao, sometimes translated as year cake or Chinese New Year’s cake, is a food prepared from glutinous rice flour and consumed in Chinese cuisine. While it can be eaten all year round, traditionally it is most popular during the Chinese New Year

Steamed Chinese New Year Cake

8 to 10 servings


  • 2 cups water, plus more for steaming
  • 1 (1-pound) package Chinese brown sugar
  • 1 pound sweet rice flour (about 3 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more for coating the pan
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract
  • 10 dried seedless Chinese red dates, also known as jujubes, for garnish (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
  1. Place the measured water and brown sugar in a medium saucepan. Set over medium heat and stir occasionally until the sugar has completely dissolved, about 10 minutes. (Do not let it boil.) Remove from heat and let cool until warm to the touch.
  2. Meanwhile, fill a 14-inch wok with about 1 1/2 inches of water and place a 12-inch bamboo steamer inside. (The water should not touch the bottom of the steamer.) If you don’t have a wok and a bamboo steamer, use a large frying pan and foil as described above in “Special equipment.” Bring the water to a simmer over medium heat. Coat a 9-inch round cake pan with vegetable oil; set aside.
  3. Place the rice flour in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour in the sugar-water mixture, beating until smooth, about 2 minutes. If needed, stop to scrape down the sides of the mixer with a rubber spatula.
  4. Add the measured oil and continue beating on low speed until the batter is smooth and the oil is incorporated, about 5 minutes. Add the almond extract and beat until just incorporated. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan.
  5. Carefully place the pan in the bamboo steamer or on top of the foil coils. Cover the bamboo steamer with its lid or cover the wok or frying pan with a tightfitting lid or a sheet of aluminum foil. (Do not cover the cake pan directly with a lid or foil.) Steam until the cake is very firm to the touch, about 3 hours, checking every hour and replenishing the wok or pan with hot tap water as needed. While the cake is still warm, garnish with the dates (if using) and sesame seeds. Let cool on a rack to room temperature. Run a knife around the outside of the cake, then slip a thin spatula under the cake to lift it out. Serve it sesame seed side up.
Nián Gāo
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
2 hrs
Total Time
2 hrs 5 mins

Nián gāo is an addictively chewy, slightly sweet Chinese dessert made with sweet rice flour. It’s traditionally eaten during Lunar New Year!

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: brown sugar, chinese, chinese new year, dairy-free, dessert, egg-free, gluten-free, nut-free, rice flour, vegan, vegetarian
Servings20 people
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • grated orange zest or grated ginger, almond extract, vanilla extract, etc; optional
  • 3 cups glutinous rice flour I use Koda brand sweet rice flour
  1. Dissolve the sugar and salt in boiling water. Add the coconut milk and any flavorings you want, and mix until combined. Then add the rice flour and mix well into a paste. You’re looking for something close to really thick peanut butter (think an un-stirred jar of natural peanut butter) or slightly wet cookie dough, so add more water as you see fit to reach this consistency.

  2. Transfer the paste into a well-greased (I like using cooking spray, especially if you’re trying to use a decorative pan) 10” round cake pan, smoothing as best as you can (it’s okay if it’s still lumpy on top).

  3. Steam for 2-2.5 hours over medium-high heat until a chopstick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Keep in mind that you might have to add more hot water occasionally, especially if you use a really short rack to elevate your cake pan and a shallow skillet (me). I keep a thermos of hot water on hand and add water 3-4 times throughout the steaming process. Remove the cake pan from the steamer and cool completely. You may be tempted to drain off any water that may have dripped on top of the cake, but resist (or else you might accidentally plop the nián gāo out before you’re prepared to).

  4. Wrap the nián gāo in plastic wrap tightly. If you plan to eat it within a few days or you plan on eating it plain, then I’d recommend storing at room temperature. Otherwise, store in the refrigerator for up to a week.

  5. If the nián gāo is really hard and starchy, cut it up into thin planks, dip in beaten egg, and pan-fry in a skillet until browned.

Whole Fish

Steamed fish is one of the most emblematic dishes of the Chinese New Year. A dish that brings good luck and symbolizes abundance and prosperity.

Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Asian, Chinese
Servings: 4 people
  • 3 tablespoons douchi (salted black soybeans)
  • 1 whole white fish of 4-5 lb/2kg (sea bream, sea bass, or red snapper), gutted
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger , finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic , chopped
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 scallions
  • 1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger , cut into thin sticks
  • ½ bunch cilantro
  • Pour the douchi into a bowl and cover with warm water. Soak the douchi for about 2 minutes to remove excess salt. Rinse and drain.
  • Score the fish 3 times on each side.
  • In a bowl, combine chopped ginger, douchi, garlic, salt, sugar, soy sauce and sesame oil.
  • Cover the inside and the outside of the fish with this mixture. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes.
  • Cut the white part of the scallions in 2-inch sections and spread them over the fish.
  • Cut the green part of the scallions into thin strips lengthwise and dip them in a bowl of cold water for 10 minutes until they curl up. Drain.
  • Place the fish in a steam basket and steam for 10 to 15 minutes depending on size of fish.
  • Heat the vegetable oil in a saucepan until light smoke appears. Immediately remove pan from heat and add the fresh ginger sticks. Mix for about ten seconds to release the flavor.
  • Place the cilantro on the fish and immediately pour the oil on it.
  • Garnish with the green parts of the scallions and serve immediately.
Baked Whole Fish for Chinese New Year
  • Makes 4 servings 1 hour (30 minutes active)


  • Two 1 to 1-1/2-pound whole striped bass, branzino or trout, gutted, scaled and gills removed
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2-inch chunk fresh ginger, peeled and cut into matchsticks
  • 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons serrano or jalapeno chilies, with seeds and ribs
  • 4 scallions, white and green parts, cut into thin strips
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro, leaves and stems


Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a shallow baking dish large enough to hold both fish with foil.

Lay both fish on the counter. Working in 1- to -2-inch intervals, use a sharp knife to slash both sides of each fish perpendicular to the backbone (a 20 degree angle down the rib cage).

In a small bowl, combine the garlic, ginger, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, chilies, scallions and cilantro. Stuff some of the mixture into each slash on both fish, as well as into the cavity (most of the seasoning should go in the slashes). Cover the pan with foil and let the fish sit at room temperature for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, bake the fish on the oven’s middle shelf for 20 to 24 minutes, or until the fish is just cooked through (you can pierce it easily with a knife).

To serve, use a small knife to gently scrape off the skin, then use a spoon to lift off the fillets (they will come up in chunks), and transfer one to each of 4 serving plates. Pour some of the juices from the pan over each portion.

Chinese Steamed Whole Fish & Happy Chinese New Year

1 ½ pound of red snapper
A pinch of salt
6 slices of ginger
2 stalks of sliced scallions
2 stalks of scallions, whole
1 tablespoon of julienned ginger
1 tablespoon of julienned scallions
A pinch of white pepper
A dash of sesame oil
3 tablespoons vegetable oil

6 tablespoons of soy sauce
5 slices of ginger
1 stalk of scallions, sliced
3 cloves of garlic
A handful of cilantro, sliced

Clean the fish and season with a pinch of salt. Put 3 slices of ginger and 1 stalk of scallions in the stomach of the fish. Then, also add 3 slices of ginger and 1 stalk of scallions on top of the fish. Put aside.

Let’s make the soy sauce mixture, (for this recipe, you’ll only need about 6 tablespoons of soy sauce the most, but I’m going to make a little more and save it up for later) add 6 tablespoons of soy sauce, 5 slices of ginger, 1 stalk of scallions, 3 cloves of garlic, a handful of cilantro. Mix and let it sit for at least 20 minutes.

Boil water in a steamer. Put a plate in it (when the temperature of the plate is hot, it will cook the fish faster).

After the water is boiled, add 2 stalks of scallions on the plate (so the heat can circulate better and the fish will also absorb the fragrant of scallions better). Then transfer the fish inside. Steam in high heat for 6 to 10 minutes, depending on the size of the fish.

Carefully discard the liquid, ginger, and scallions.

Then top the fish with 1 tablespoon of julienned ginger and 1 tablespoon of julienned scallions on top of the fish. Add a pinch a pinch of white pepper and a dash of sesame oil.

In a small pan, heat up 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil until hot. Carefully pour over the fish.

Add the soy sauce mixture all around the fish. Serve!

Sweet Rice Balls (Tangyuan)

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: Rice balls
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 5 minutes
Total: 35 minutes
servings:30 balls

Author: Wei @ Red House Spice
For the filling
  • 120 g black sesame seeds or peanuts
  • 3.75 tbsp sugar or to taste
  • 60 g softened lard or 30g butter
For the wrapper
  • 195 g glutinous rice flour
  • 4.5 tbsp boiling water
  • 6 tbsp room temperature water or beetroot juice
Prepare the filling
  • Toast black sesame seeds (or peanuts) in a frying pan over low heat (see note 1).
  • In a food processor, grind cooled black sesame seeds (or peanuts) and sugar until they turn into a paste texture.
  • Add lard (or butter). Mix to combine then keep refrigerated until the mixture is firm enough to handle.
  • Divide into 20 portions. Shape each piece into a ball. Put them back in the fridge while preparing the dough.
Make the dough
  • In a mixing bowl, pour hot water into glutinous rice flour while stirring with a spatula.
  • Add room temperature water (or beetroot juice) little by little.
  • Knead with your hand until a smooth, soft dough forms (see note 2).
  • Divide and roll into 20 balls.
Assemble Tang Yuan 
  • Flatten a piece of dough into a round wrapper with your fingers.
  • Place a ball of filling in the middle. Gently push the wrapper upwards to seal completely (see note 3).
Cook Tang Yuan
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Gently slide in some Tang Yuan (see note 4).
  • Push them around with the back of a cooking spoon to prevent them from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
  • When all the balls start to float on the surface, cook for a further minute.
  • Dish out (along with some liquid) and serve warm.

Store Tang Yuan

  • Freeze Tang Yuan right after they are assembled.
  • Firstly you need to lay them on a tray lined with parchment paper to freeze. Then put them in an air-tight bag when totally frozen.
  • Follow the same cooking procedure (do not defrost).


1. Keep a close eye on black sesame seeds while toasting. When the flat seeds plump up and are very easy to break when crushed with your fingers, they are done. Do not overcook as it would lead to an unpleasant burnt flavour.

2. The amount of room temperature water (or beetroot juice) required varies depending on the brand of the flour. Adjust if necessary. The finished dough needs to be smooth, very soft but not sticky. If you are not using the dough straightaway, wrap it with cling film to avoid drying out.

3. To make assembling easier, the filling should be quite firm (you may put them in the freezer for a short while to accelerate the process). Unlike dough made of wheat flour, the dough made of glutinous rice flour isn’t very elastic. It may crack during the assembling process (especially if it’s not soft enough). If cracks appear, wet the broken part with a tiny layer of water then rub gently to reseal.


4. Cook Tang Yuan in batches. They expand while cooking (about 1.5 times bigger in the end) so make sure it’s not too crowded when all the Tang Yuan are floating on the surface.

Braised Shiitake Mushrooms
YIELD Serves 4
  • 14 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in room-temperature water overnight
  • 2 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons regular or vegetarian oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon Shaoxing rice cooking wine or dry sherry
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger
  • Salt
  • 12 ounces baby bok choy (about 6 medium heads)
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  1. Soak 14 dried shiitake mushrooms in room temperature water overnight. Remove the mushrooms from the water and squeeze the excess liquid out. Trim off the stems; set aside.

  2. Place the broth, oyster sauce, tamari or soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, and rice cooking wine or sherry in a medium bowl and stir to combine; set aside.

  3. Heat the oil over high heat in a wok or large skillet until shimmering. Add the garlic and ginger and stir-fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the mushrooms and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the chicken broth mixture and bring to a boil.

  4. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer, flipping the mushrooms every 15 minutes, until the mushrooms are tender, 30 to 45 minutes total. About 15 minutes before the mushrooms are ready, prepare the bok choy.

  5. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Meanwhile, cut each head of bok choy in half through the stem to keep the leaves together. Wash and drain well. Prepare a large bowl of ice water; set aside.

  6. When the water is boiling, add the bok choy and blanch until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Drain in a colander, and then transfer the bok choy immediately to the ice water bath. Let sit for 1 minute, then transfer back to the colander and drain well. Transfer the bok choy to a round serving plate, arranging them cut-side down in a single layer with the leaves pointed toward the center; set aside.

  7. When the mushrooms are ready, place the cornstarch and 2 tablespoons water in a small bowl and stir until the cornstarch is fully dissolved. Add to the mushrooms and cook uncovered until the sauce is thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Arrange the mushrooms over the bok choy and pour the sauce over the mushrooms.


Vegetarian: To make this dish vegetarian, use vegetarian oyster sauce or mushroom stir-fry sauce and vegetable broth.

Gluten-free: To make this dish gluten free, use gluten-free oyster sauce and tamari.

Make ahead: The mushrooms can be braised a few days ahead and refrigerated. Reheat and add in the cornstarch slurry when ready to serve.

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 5 days.

Tangerines and Oranges

The word for tangerine is 橙 (chéng /chnng/), which sounds the same as a word that means good fortune. “They’re served at the end of the meal, and also exchanged when you go visit relatives.”“Oranges and tangerines are good luck in all Asian cultures, and they also symbolize wealth because the color is similar to gold,” .

Asian Ramen Noodle Salad
prep time10 MINUTES
total time 10 MINUTES
    •  2 packages ramen noodles (discard seasoning)
  •  1/2 cup sliced almonds
  •  1 cup shelled edamame
  •  1 (12 oz) cabbage coleslaw mix
  •  2 cups purple cabbage (or just use more cabbage mix)
  •  1/2 cup matchstick carrots
  •  1 bunch scallions (greens only), chopped
  •  1/4 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
  •  1 (15 oz) can mandarin oranges, drained

sweet sesame dressing:

  •  1/2 cup oil (such as, canola or vegetable)
  •  1/2 cup cane sugar (honey or agave is fine too)
  •  3 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (or just use more rice vinegar)
  •  3 tablespoons rice vinegar (or just use more apple cider vinegar)
  •  1 tablespoon soy sauce
  •  1 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  •  1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  •  1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  •  1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Spread the broken ramen noodles and sliced almonds out onto a baking sheet and toss to combine everything. Bake for 5 minutes or until they just start to get toasty and golden. Remove from oven, allow to cool for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the ingredients of the dressing to a bowl and whisk in the oil. Alternately, you can add all the ingredients to a mason jar and just give it a good shake.
  3. To assemble the salad: add all the ingredients together in a large bowl, toss to combine. Add the dressing when ready to serve. The salad is best eaten the first day, it will lose the crunchy favor over time.
  • Toss in leftover cooked chicken cubes to make this a protein packed meal.
  • Use this salad to finish off leftover veggies in the fridge. Other suggestions include chopped kale, fresh broccoli florets, and red or green bell peppers.
Mandarin Orange Chicken Recipe

 6 Servings

  • 3 pounds Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast, Cut into 2-inch cubes

For the Marinade:

  • 1/2 cup Soy Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Toasted Sesame Oil
  • 2 tablespoons Orange Juice
  • 1/4 cup Cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder

For the Mandarin Orange Sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon Sesame Oil
  • 2 tablespoons Sriracha Chili Sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Fresh Ginger
  • 2 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 2 cups Chicken Broth
  • 1/4 cup Orange Juice
  • 2 tablespoons Soy Sauce
  • 3 tablespoons Granulated Sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Sherry
  • 1/4 cup Cornstarch

For Preparation and Serving:

  • Canola Oil, Or vegetable oil, for frying
  • 1 11 ounce can Mandarin Oranges, Drained
  • Chopped Scallions and Sesame Seeds, For garnish
  1. Add all the ingredients for the marinade to a large bowl and whisk to combine the ingredients. Add the cubed chicken and toss to coat. Let the chicken marinate for 30 minutes or up to an hour.
  2. Get a large pot heating up with oil over medium heat. Whatever size pot you use, only fill the pot halfway up so the oil doesn’t boil over. Clip your thermometer to the side of the pot and let it heat up until it reaches 375 degrees.
  3. While the chicken is marinating and the oil is heating up, you can get the sauce together by adding the sesame oil to a medium pot. Add the ginger and garlic and cook for 30 seconds, stirring. Add in the rest of the sauce ingredients except for the cornstarch, stir and bring to a boil.
  4. Mix the cornstarch together in a small dish with 3 tablespoons of water, then slowly pour into the sauce while whisking. Bring to a boil once again then turn the heat off, cover and set aside.
  5. When your oil reaches about 375 degrees you can start frying the chicken. Take the chicken out of the marinade a few pieces at a time and carefully add them to the oil. Fry for 5-6 minutes, then remove to a paper towel lined plate and start your next batch of chicken.
  6. Once the chicken is all fried, add it to a large bowl along with the mandarin oranges.
  7. Pour the sauce over the chicken and oranges and toss to coat.
  8. Garnish with scallions and sesame seeds and serve immediately.

Longevity Noodles  With noodles, there is great flexibility for sides and ingredients. Many vegetables and meats have symbolic meanings as well.

Longevity Noodles With Chicken, Ginger and Mushrooms
  • YIELD 2 to 3 main-dish servings
  • TIME 30 minutes
  • 12 ounces thin fresh noodles, like lo mein or tagliarini
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 12 ounces boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1/4-inch-thick, bite-size slices
  • 1 tablespoon finely shredded ginger
  • 1 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • Salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 5 ounces (about 3 cups) thinly sliced Napa cabbage
  • 4 ounces (about 2 cups) fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, caps thinly sliced
  • ½ cup finely shredded scallions
  1. Bring a medium saucepan of water to boil over high heat and cook noodles until just done, 3 to 5 minutes, stirring to prevent sticking. Drain in a colander and rinse with cold water until cool, then shake well to remove water. Return noodles to pot, add sesame oil, and toss.
  2. Put chicken in a shallow bowl and add ginger, one teaspoon rice wine, cornstarch, one teaspoon soy sauce, 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Mix gently to combine. In a small bowl, combine remaining one tablespoon rice wine and one tablespoon soy sauce.
  3. Heat a wok over high heat until a bead of water evaporates almost on contact. Swirl in one tablespoon peanut oil, add red pepper flakes and stir-fry 10 seconds using a metal spatula. Push pepper flakes aside and add chicken, spreading in a single layer to maximize contact with the wok. Let cook undisturbed one minute, until chicken begins to sear.
  4. Stir-fry chicken and pepper flakes together, tossing in the wok, for a minute or 2 until just done. Remove to a bowl. Add cabbage and mushrooms and stir-fry one minute until just wilted but not cooked. Empty into the bowl with chicken.
  5. Reheat wok, swirl in remaining one tablespoon peanut oil, and add noodles. Stir-fry 30 seconds, moving constantly to heat through. Swirl soy sauce-rice wine mixture and add to wok along with chicken-vegetable mixture and scallions. Sprinkle on 3/4 teaspoon salt and stir-fry a minute or 2 until chicken and vegetables are heated through.
Longevity Noodles for Chinese New Year
Servings: 4
Author: Hip Foodie Mom
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time5 mins
Total Time10 mins
Course: Main or Side Dish
Cuisine: Asian
Keyword: chinese lucky noodles, chinese new year, longevity noodles
  • 8 ounces very thin long wheat-flour noodles or any type of rice noodles
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil + more if needed
  • 3 small cloves garlic finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger minced or grated
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce + more if needed
  • Sea salt and ground white pepper to taste
  • diced green onions for garnish
  • sesame seeds for garnish
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat and salt it generously. Add the noodles, stir, and cook for about 4 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water and set aside in a large serving bowl.
  • In a separate small bowl, whisk together the sesame oil, garlic, ginger, soy sauce and salt and white pepper, to taste, until combined well. Pour the mixture over the noodles and toss well to coat. Taste and adjust the seasoning with more salt/pepper and/or sesame oil or soy sauce if necessary. Garnish with diced green onions and sesame seeds and serve immediately.

Candy and Other Sweets

Top 7 Chinese New Year Snacks
Red Dates — Wealth and Prosperity

Red is a lucky color in China, meaning booming and prosperous. Dates (枣 zǎo) have the same pronunciation as “early” (早 zǎo), meaning a head start. As a top Chinese New Year snack, red dates are served as a dried fruit. You can eat them with your fingers or cut them into slices to make tea.

Peanuts — Vitality and Longevity

Peanuts, also named “longevity nuts”, symbolize vitality, longevity, riches, and honor. As a Chinese New Year snack, peanuts are always served unshelled.

There are many ways to cook peanuts, such as boiling them with water or salt water and stir-frying them. Peanuts are a nourishing food and can be eaten raw. Chinese believe that eating them raw is better.

Dried Longans — Reunion

Dried longans have another name in China: guìyuán (桂圆 /hway-ywen/), which sounds like ‘expensive’ and ’round’ (贵圆) — roundness symbolizes reunion in China. Chinese medicine says that eating dried longans can nourish one’s vitality. Usually dried longans are served unshelled. You can eat the flesh directly or make tea with it.

Sunflower Seeds — Having Many Sons and Grandsons

Sunflower seeds to Chinese people are what popcorn is to moviegoers. The Chinese character for seed (子) also means child(ren), so sunflower seeds symbolize having many sons and grandsons in traditional Chinese culture.

Sweets — A Sweet Life

Sweets symbolize a sweet life. They are indispensable snacks for the Chinese New Year. Eating sweets represents sweet occurrences or getting a sweet start in the coming year.Except for various kinds of loose sweets, some sweets are packed in golden boxes shaped in auspicious figures, such as a yuanbao (a shoe-shaped gold ingot that was used as a type of currency in ancient China, which symbolizes wealth), a fortune cat, and the God of Wealth. These are nice choices when considering Chinese New Year gifts.’

Steamed New Year Cake — Prosperity and Promotions

The Chinese name for steamed New Year cake is niángāo (年糕), homophonic for “year higher” (年高). Eating this sweet or savory, chewy cake represents having prosperity and promotions year after year.As a top Chinese New Year snack, steamed New Year cake is also a nice gift, especially to a family with a member who is about to enter a higher school or get a promotion.

Glutinous Rice Dumplings — A Bumper Grain Harvest

Chinese New Year snack. Glutinous rice dumplings are made from sticky rice and other ingredients, such as beans, peanuts, Chinese chestnuts, and pork, wrapped with bamboo leaves.Eating glutinous rice dumplings symbolizes a bumper grain harvest in the coming year. If the glutinous rice dumplings are cold and hard, you can steam them until they are soft, or peel off the skin and pan fry them until they are brown and crispy on both sides.

Spring Rolls

Chinese Spring Rolls
These dim sum-style Chinese spring rolls and tangy, old-school dipping sauce are from an old family recipe. Find out how to make our spring roll recipe yourself!
Prep Time1 hr
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time1 hr 10 mins
Course: Appetizers and Snacks
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: spring rolls
Servings: 18
For the pork and marinade:
  • 8 ounces finely shredded pork loin (225g)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon Shaoxing wine
  • ½ teaspoon cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon white pepper
To assemble the filling:
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 clove garlic (minced)
  • 10 dried shiitake mushrooms (soaked until softened and thinly sliced)
  • 2 medium carrots (julienned, about 1 cup)
  • 1 cup bamboo shoots (julienned; fresh is preferred, but canned is fine too)
  • 1 small napa cabbage (julienned, about 6 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • white pepper (to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch (dissolved in 2 tablespoons cold water)
For wrapping:
  • 1 package spring roll wrappers (8″ squares; this recipe makes about 20 spring rolls)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch (dissolved in 1 tablespoon boiling water for sealing the spring rolls)
  • Canola oil (or peanut or vegetable oil, for frying)
For the dipping sauce:
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons hot water
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • Mix the pork with the marinade ingredients and set aside for about 30 minutes. In the meantime, prepare the rest of the ingredients. Cut all of the vegetables to approximately the same size. You want everything the same size so each ingredient blends together.
  • Brown the pork over high heat in 2 tablespoons of oil, and add the garlic, mushrooms and carrots. Stir fry for 30 seconds, and add the bamboo shoots, napa cabbage, and Shaoxing wine. Continue stir-frying for a minute. Adjust the heat to simmer the mixture, as the napa cabbage will release a lot of moisture.
  • Stir in the soy sauce, sesame oil, salt, white pepper, and sugar. At this time, you have the option of adding 1/4 cup of the decanted water from soaking the dried mushrooms. It strengthens the mushroom flavor, so this is purely according to your personal preference. You may also have to simmer the filling longer to reduce the additional liquid.
  • Continue simmering the filling for another 3 minutes–until the napa cabbage is completely wilted–and stir in the cornstarch slurry to thicken. How much slurry you add depends upon the wetness of the filling (this varies if your cabbage had more moisture or if you did add the optional mushroom water), but there should be no standing liquid at all.
  • Transfer the filling to a large shallow bowl, and let cool. Place into the refrigerator to cool further—at least one hour. It’s best to start with a cold filling for easier wrapping. The key to wrapping spring rolls is making sure that they’re tight, yet not overstuffed. It’s best to use fresh spring roll wrappers if you can, as freezing the wrappers can result in the spring roll skin being a bit too damp.
  • Place the wrapper on a flat surface so that a corner is facing toward you. Use about two spoonfuls of the mixture per spring roll, and spoon it about 2 inches from the corner that is closest to you. Roll it over once, and, like you’re making a burrito, fold over both sides. Continue rolling it into a cigar shape. With your fingers, brush a bit of the cornstarch water onto the corner of the wrapper that is farthest from you to seal it.
  • In case you’re wondering, we did try egg wash instead of the cornstarch mixture to seal the spring roll but the egg wash “stains” the spring roll, so it’s best to use the cornstarch mixture.
  • Place each roll on a tray. This recipe makes about 18-20 spring rolls. You can also freeze these spring rolls on the tray overnight, and transfer them to a zip-lock bag when they are completely frozen for future use. We usually fry some fresh and freeze the rest, unless we are hosting a party, in which case, these go like hot cakes!
  • To fry the spring rolls, fill a small pot (which requires less oil) with oil until it’s 2 to 3 inches deep. Heat the oil slowly over medium heat until it reaches 325 degrees. Gently add the spring rolls one at a time, frying in small batches. Carefully roll them in the oil so they cook evenly until golden brown and transfer them to a plate lined with paper towels.
  • Prepare the dipping sauce by adding all ingredients to a small sauce pan. Mix and heat until just simmering and pour into a small bowl. Serve the spring rolls hot with the dipping sauce!


Makes 18-20 spring rolls. Nutrition info is for 1 spring roll with dipping sauce.
Vegetable Spring Rolls Recipe
COOK TIME 30 mins
TOTAL TIME 1 hr 30 mins
COURSE Appetizer
SERVINGS 50 rolls
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil for stir frying
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger grate with microplane zester
  • 2 cloves garlic finely minced
  • 1 stalk green onion minced
  • 8 fresh shiitake mushroom caps or Chinese dried mushroom caps very thinly julienned
  • 3 cups cabbage shredded (about 1/2 small cabbage)
  • 1/2 cup julienned carrots (about 2 med carrots)
  • 4 ounces canned bamboo shoots drained and julienned
  • 1 cup fresh bean sprouts
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 50 spring roll wrappers defrosted
  • cooking oil for deep frying (about 3 cups)
  • In a large saute pan or wok, swirl in 1 tablespoon of the cooking oil. Turn on the heat to medium-high and immediately add garlic, ginger and green onion, stirring frequently. By the time the oil is hot, add the mushrooms, cabbage, carrots and bamboo shoots.
  • Turn heat to high and stir-fry the vegetables for about 2 minutes. and then toss in the bean sprouts. Add in the soy sauce and sesame oil. Cook for another minute. Then spread the filling out onto a large baking sheet. Prop the baking sheet up on one side to allow any juices to accumulate at the bottom (and discard to juices)
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and 1/4 cup of cool water to form a slurry.
  • Place a wonton or spring roll wrapper on a flat surface, add 1 tablespoon of the vegetable mixture into a corner of the wrapper, and then roll the edge of the wrapper tightly around the mixture. Fold the two side corners towards the middle of the wrapper while continuing to roll up. Paint the top edge with the cornstarch slurry mixture and wrap tightly the rest of the way. Make sure all edges are tightly sealed. Place seam side down. Cover with plastic wrap to avoid drying out.
  • In a large wok or medium saucepan over high heat, add about 1-2 inches of cooking oil.
  • Slide several egg rolls into the oil and allow them to cook for 2-3 minutes, turning them over a couple times, or until the wonton wrappers are golden brown. Remove the egg rolls to a cooling rack or paper-towel-covered plate to allow them to drain. Serve hot.
Vegetable and Pork Spring Rolls
  • Author: Lisa Lin
  • Prep Time: 40 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes


  • 1 cup sliced bamboo shoots (about 4 ounces, see note 1)
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil, divided (note 2)
  • 6 ounces ground pork
  • 1/3 cup diced shallots (about 1/2 of a large shallot)
  • 1 3/4 cups shredded carrots (about 5 ounces)
  • 3 cups chopped green cabbage (about 7.5 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup diced water chestnuts (about 3 to 4 water chestnuts, see note 3)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper

Spring Rolls

  • 15 to 20 8-inch spring roll wrappers (note 4)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • oil for frying

To Serve

  • sweet chili sauce
  • Author: Lisa Lin
  • Prep Time: 4 minutes
  • Cook Time: 6 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: About 3/4 cup 1
  • 1/2 cup (170g) honey
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) water
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 minced garlic (or 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder)
  • 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  1. Add all the ingredients to a medium saucepan. Stir everything until the cornstarch has dissolved.
  2. Bring the sauce to boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. Let the sauce cool for 5 to 10 minutes before pouring it into a jar. Once the sauce reaches room temperature, seal the jar and place it in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.

Additional Equipment

  • 3 large baking sheets (or use large plates)
  • dry cloths
  • spoons (for scooping filling)
  • brush (for brushing egg wash)
  • wok
  • paper towels
Prepare the Filling
  1. Bring several cups of water to boil in the saucepan. Add the bamboo shoots and blanch them for 1 minute to get rid of the odor. Drain and rinse with cold water.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of peanut oil in the wok over high heat. Add the pork and cook for about 2 to 3 minutes. The pork does not need to be fully cooked, but it should start to turn white on the outside. Use the end of your spatula to break up the meat into small pieces. Transfer the pork to a plate.
  3. Swirl the remaining tablespoon of peanut oil into the wok. Add the shallots and cook for about 1 minute. Add the carrots, cabbage, bamboo shoots, and water chestnuts and cook for 2 minutes. Then, add the pork back into the wok and stir.
  4. In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch and water together so that you get a slurry. Use your spatula to brush the vegetables and pork aside to create a space at the bottom of the wok. Pour the cornstarch slurry into that space. Let the slurry thicken for 30 seconds before your stir to incorporate it with the rest of the ingredients.
  5. Add the oyster sauce, salt, sugar, and white pepper. Stir to combine the seasoning with the ingredients. Spread the filling over a large baking sheet to cool for 10 minutes. Don’t transfer any liquid to the baking sheet. You do not want to wrap your spring rolls with hot filling. The heat will turn the spring roll wrappers soggy, making the spring rolls difficult to roll. It can also cause the wrapper to fall apart easily.

Set up the Spring Roll-Making Station

  1. The spring roll wrappers dry out easily. I usually take a short stack of wrappers (about 5 or 6) out of the package at a time. Then, cover the wrappers with a thick dry cloth to prevent them from drying. You can also cover it in plastic wrap.
  2. Have a large baking sheet or several large plates ready so that you can place the rolled up spring rolls on top. Make sure to have a dry cloth handy to cover the rolled up spring rolls.
  3. Place the filling and egg wash close by.

Prepare the Spring Rolls (refer to photos in the post for visuals)

  1. Take 1 sheet of the spring roll wrappers, and place lay it on the counter in a diamond shape, with one corner pointed towards you. Take about 2 tablespoons of filling and place it on the bottom. I like to leave a 1.5 to 2-inch gap between the filling and the bottom corner.
  2. Grab the bottom corner and start rolling up the spring roll. Stop when you get to the center of the wrapper. Fold in the left and right sides of the wrapper toward the center. Use the brush to brush egg wash over the top corner. Finish rolling up the spring roll. Lay the rolled up spring roll over the baking sheet and cover it with the dry cloth.
  3. Repeat the with the remaining wrappers and filling.

Cook the Spring Rolls

  1. Line paper towels over a baking sheet or over 2 large plates. You’ll be draining your spring rolls over these paper towels.
  2. Fill the wok with about 2 inches of oil (measured from the bottom of the wok). Heat the oil over medium-high heat for several minutes. If you insert a bamboo or wooden chopstick into the bottom of the wok and you can see tiny bubbles rapidly bubbling around the chopstick. This means the oil is hot enough for frying (see note 5).
  3. Carefully slide 5 spring rolls along the edge of the wok into the hot oil. This helps to prevent hot oil from splattering. Fry them for 3 to 4 minutes, flipping them halfway so that the spring rolls are evenly browned. Once the spring rolls are golden brown, remove the spring rolls from the wok with a kitchen spider or a skimmer.
  4. The first batch usually takes a little longer because the oil is just heating up. If you notice that the spring rolls are browning very quickly (turning dark brown in a minute or so), reduce the heat slightly.
  5. Continue frying the remaining spring rolls and turn off the heat when finished.
  6. Serve the spring rolls immediately with sweet chili sauce.
  1. You can find sliced bamboo shoots in the refrigerated section of a Chinese supermarket, around the tofu. You can use canned versions too, but rinse and julienne them into small strips.
  2. Substitute peanut oil with canola oil or safflower oil for the recipe.
  3. I like adding water chestnuts to the filling because they add crunchy texture. I prefer using fresh water chestnuts over canned ones because of their superior texture. You can find them at Chinese supermarkets.
  4. Find these wrappers in the freezer section of Asian supermarkets. You can use smaller sheets but use less filling for each spring roll. Note that these are not the dried rice paper wrappers for making fresh spring rolls.
  5. You can also test the heat of the oil by ripping off a tiny piece of the wrapper and placing it in the hot oil. If it the wrapper bubbles along the edges soon after you add it to the hot oil, then the wok is ready for frying.
  6. For larger parties, use the following amount for the filling (this will make between 30 to 35 spring rolls): 10 ounces ground pork, 1 ½ cups bamboo shoots, 3 cups shredded carrots, 4 ½ cups chopped cabbage, 3/4 cup diced shallots, 1 cup chopped water chestnuts, 2 tablespoons oyster sauce, 1 ½ teaspoons sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, 3/4 teaspoon white pepper, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, 2 tablespoons water

Steamed Chicken

  • 1 whole chicken about 3 lbs
  • 3 cloves of garlic peeled and finely chopped
  • 2- inch of fresh ginger peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp of Shaoxing wine
  • 1 Tbsp of soy sauce
  • 2 tsp of sesame oil
  • 2 stalks of scallions finely chopped
Pat the chicken dry with absorbent paper towel and place in a large deep-dish suitable for marinating. Mix the rest of the ingredients, except for the scallions in a bowl and then pour it over the chicken and rub the marinade all over the body and also inside the cavity. Cover and let it marinade for about 1 hour, and flip the chicken over halfway of marinating.
 You can use a wok or large pot to do so. Steam the chicken in high heat for about 30 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle the chopped scallions over the chicken and steam for another 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and let it cool down a little bit before cutting the chicken into serving pieces.

For a simpler version of this recipe, poach the chicken with just ginger, scallion, black peppercorns, and salt. If you don’t have dark soy sauce, substitute with 1 more teaspoon of regular soy sauce.

Course Main Course
Cuisine Chinese
Keyword chicken
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Standing time 15 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 4
Chinese Poached Chicken
  • 2 stalks celery cut into 2″ pieces
  • 1/2 cup cilantro cut into 2″ pieces
  • 2 shallots peeled, halved
  • 1 piece ginger 1 1/2″ long, sliced thinly
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 10 whole coriander seeds
  • 6 white peppercorns
  • 8 Szechuan peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons Chinese rice wine or sherry not cooking sherry
  • 1 whole chicken breast on the bone with skin, or 2 split chicken breasts (~ 2 pounds)
Soy Ginger Sauce
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons dark soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ginger minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic minced
  • 2 tablespoons scallion finely julienned
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • pinch white pepper
  • 1/3 cup poaching liquid
  • fresh cilantro sprigs
Chinese Poached Chicken
  1. In a large saucepan, place celery, coriander, shallots, ginger, scallions, garlic, coriander seeds, white peppercorns, Szechuan peppercorns and salt. Add enough water to cover chicken (I put the chicken in the saucepan to see how much water I need, then remove the chicken). Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.

  2. Add rice wine. Place chicken breast halves in poaching liquid, skin side up. Bring back to boil; lower heat, cover pot and simmer for 10 minutes. Turn chicken breasts over, and simmer 10 more minutes. Turn off heat and let stand, covered, for 15 minutes. 

  3. Remove chicken from poaching liquid and let cool, covered with plastic. Reserve 1/3 cup poaching liquid for Ginger Soy Sauce and to make chicken soup afterwards. 

  4. Remove bones and skin from chicken, and add back to remaining poaching liquid in pot. See recipe notes about making chicken broth. 

  5. Shred chicken into bite-size pieces.

Soy Ginger Sauce
  1. To make sauce, combine all Soy Ginger Sauce ingredients in a small bowl. 

To Serve
  1. Serve chicken with Soy Ginger Sauce on the side. Garnish with fresh coriander.

Recipe Notes

Save bones and skin from poached chicken, and cook with remaining  poaching liquid to make chicken broth.  Skim fat from surface.  Freeze broth for future use.

0 Freestyle points per serving.

Vegetable Dishes

Chinese Vegetable Stir-Fry

Servings: 4
Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Cook Time: 10 Minutes
Total Time: 30 Minutes
  • 1/3 cupsoy sauce (use gluten-free if needed)
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons dry sherry or Chinese rice wine
  • 1 teaspoon Asian/toasted sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 pound broccoli, cut into 1-inch florets (or 3/4 pound florets)
  • 7 ouncesshiitake mushrooms, stems removed and thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced, white/light green and dark green parts separated
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
    1. In a small bowl, whisk the soy sauce, water, dry sherry, sesame oil, sugar, cornstarch, red pepper flakes and dry mustard together. Set aside.
    2. In a large nonstick skillet, bring 1 inch of water to a rapid boil. Add the broccoli and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until tender-crisp. Strain the broccoli in a colander and then run under cold water to stop the cooking process. Set aside and allow to fully drain.
  1. Wipe the skillet dry. Add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil and heat over high heat. Add the shiitake mushrooms and red peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-6 minutes, until the mushrooms are browned and the peppers are softened. Add the garlic, white/light green scallions, and ginger; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Return the broccoli to the pan and cook until warmed through, about 1 minute. Add the reserved sauce. Toss and cook until the sauce is thickened and the vegetables are evenly coated, about 30 seconds. Transfer to serving dish and sprinkle with dark green scallions. Serve with rice, if desired.
Chinese Eggplant with Garlic Sauce
Course: Main, Side
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: takeout
Prep Time: 25 MINUTES
Cook Time: 15 MINUTES
Total Time: 40 MINUTES
Servings: 2 to 4
  • 2 (10 oz. / 300 g) small Chinese long eggplant , chopped to bite-size pieces 
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce (or soy sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/2 teaspoon dark soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons peanut oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 1 teaspoon ginger , minced
  • 3 cloves garlic , chopped
    • (Option 1) Place eggplant in a large bowl and add water to cover. Add 1 teaspoon salt, mix well. Place a pot lid on top to keep the eggplant under water for 15 minutes. Drain and pat dry.
    • (Option 2) Spread the sliced eggplant out on a paper towel. Sprinkle Kosher salt on both sides of the eggplant slices. Allow to rest for 45-60 minutes. Pat dry without rinsing.
    • Combine the sauce ingredients in a small bowl, mix well.
    • Sprinkle eggplant with 1 tablespoon cornstarch and mix by hand, until eggplant is evenly coated with with a thin layer of cornstarch.
    • Add 2 tablespoons oil to a big nonstick skillet and heat over medium high heat until hot. Spread eggplant across the bottom of the skillet without overlapping. Cook the eggplant one side at a time until all the surfaces are charred and the eggplant turns soft, 8 to 10 minutes in total. Transfer the eggplants to a plate. If the skillet gets too hot and starts to smoke, turn to medium heat.
    • Add the remaining 1/2 teaspoon oil, the ginger and garlic into the same skillet. Stir a few times until fragrant. Add all the eggplant back into the skillet. Mix the sauce again until cornstarch is fully dissolved and pour it over the eggplant. Immediately stir a few times, until the eggplant is evenly coated and the sauce thickens. Transfer everything to a big plate
    • Serve hot as a side or as main over steamed rice or noodles.
Bok Choy stir-fry with Crispy Tofu
Course: Side
Cuisine: Chinese
Prep Time: 15 MINUTES
Cook Time: 5 MINUTES
Total Time: 20 MINUTES
  • 500 grams (18 ounces) bok choy
  • 1 cup (60 grams / 2 ounces) deep fried tofu , halved
  • 2 tablespoons scallion , chopped (or green onion)
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil (vegetable oil)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
    • Rinse bok choy. Tear apart the large leaves and remove tough ends (*see footnote 2). Wash carefully and drain in a colander.
    • Chopped deep fried tofu and scallion, set aside.
    • Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a wok over medium high heat (highest heat on an electric stove) until hot. Add scallion and stir a few times until fragrant. Add bok choy, stir and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until the bok choy is half cooked.
    • Add sugar and swirl in light soy sauce. Immediately stir a few times to mix well the sauce. Add deep fried tofu, stir to mix well, about 20 seconds.
    • Cover and lower to medium low heat (medium heat for electric stove). Cook for 30 seconds. Uncover and stir to check, 20 seconds. Cover and cook for another 10 to 20 seconds again, if necessary, until bok choy is cooked through and slightly caramelized on the edges. Stop heat and transfer everything to a plate.
    • Serve warm over rice.
Shredded Potato Stir Fry
Course: Main
Cuisine: Chinese
Prep Time: 35 MINUTES
Cook Time: 5 MINUTES
Total Time: 40 MINUTES
Servings: 2 to 4
  • 1 pound (450 g) russet potatoes
  • 1 large green bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil (or homemade scallion oil) 
  • 4 dried red chiles such as chile de arbol, stems discarded 
  • 4 teaspoons Chinkiang vinegar (or rice vinegar) 
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea (or kosher salt)
    • Fill a medium-size bowl with cold water. Peel the potatoes and give them a quick rinse under running water. Shred them with a mandoline or a julienne peeler along the length of the potato. You want the shreds to be like long, thin matchsticks. Submerge them immediately in the bowl of water to rinse off excess surface starch. Usually 30 minutes is a good amount of time to soak them, but I have been known to soak them overnight in the refrigerator.
    • Cut the bell pepper in half lengthwise and discard the stem, seeds, and ribs. Thinly cut the pepper halves lengthwise into matchstick-like shreds. Ideally they should be the same thickness as the potato shreds.
    • Lay out a clean cotton kitchen towel or several layers of paper towels on the counter, for drying the potatoes. Drain the potatoes in a colander and give them a quick rinse under cold running water. Give the colander a few shakes to rid the shreds of excess water. Spread the shreds out on the towel and pat them completely dry.
    • Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil appears to shimmer, drop in 2 of the chiles and stir them around until they blacken and smell smoky, 5 to 10 seconds. Add half of the potatoes and half of the bell pepper to the smoky oil. Stir-fry them vigorously, without stopping, to briefly cook the shreds but still make sure they maintain their toothsome quality , 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape everything into a serving bowl. Wipe out the pan with paper towels before you repeat with the remaining oil, chiles, potatoes, and bell pepper. 
    • Add them to the batch in the bowl, stir in the vinegar, sesame oil, and salt, and serve immediately. 

The Tray of Togetherness: a tray filled with things such as preserved kumquats for prosperity, coconut for togetherness and red melon seeds for happiness.

Pomelo: a large citrus fruit

Chinese New Year chicken and pomelo salad with a sweet plum dressing
  • 1 medium pomelo or ruby grapefruit
  • ½“white cooked” chicken, meat removed from the bones and shredded
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and shredded
  • 3 shallots, julienned
  • 2 cups bean sprouts
  • 1 Lebanese cucumber, halved lengthways, seeded and julienned
  • ½ cup coriander leaves
  • ½ cup salted peanuts, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
  • 8 wonton wrappers, julienned and deep-fried until crisp or any pre prepared crispy noodle
  • 1 quantity sweet plum dressing

Sweet plum dressing (makes ¾ cup)

  • ½ cup Chinese plum sauce
  • 1 tbsp Chinese rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • ¼ tsp five-spice powder
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon

To prepare the pomelo cut off the stem end. Score the skin in segments from the top down to the base and then peel away the skin in these segments. Once all of the skin has been removed place your 2 thumbs into the top of the pomelo and pull it apart as if you are breaking an orange into segments. Pull the segments of pomelo apart and remove any pith and membrane. Break the peeled segments into bite-size pieces and put aside for the salad.

To make the sweet plum dressing, combine all ingredients in a small bowl and use as required.

Arrange the chicken, pomelo and each salad ingredient on a platter in individual piles. Place peanuts, sesame seeds and fried wontons in smaller serving bowls around the platter. Place the dressing in a jug.

Give each diner a pair of chopstick and serve the platter at the table. Sprinkle over the peanuts, sesame seeds, fried wontons and drizzle over the sweet plum dressing. Each person uses his or her chopstick to help toss the salad before serving.

Braised Pomelo Pith With Soy Sauce

Ingredients: One Chinese pomelo, 4-5pc. ginger

Seasonings: 2 tbsp first-extract soy sauce, 1 tbsp. dark soy sauce, 1pc. rock sugar


  1. Remove rind from the fruit.
  2. Peel the outer crust of the rind with a peeler. Soak the pith in water for one day.
  3. Squeeze out excess water from the pith from time to time until the water is clear.
  4. Heat wok with oil. Add ginger and seasonings and sautee for a while until fragrant. Add a bowl of water and simmer until the rock sugar is dissolved.
  5. Arrange pomelo pith nicely in a big tray. Cover pomelo pith with seasonings and water.
  6. Steam for 30 minutes until pomelo pith soak up all the sauce. Drizzle some sesame oil on top before serving.


  1. Do not overcook pomelo pith, or else it will be mushy.

Jai: a vegetarian dish

  • 2 ounces dried black shiitake mushrooms (about 15 medium)
  • 6 ounces dried bean curd sticks
  • 3 1/2 ounces dried lily buds (about 2 cups)
  • 1 ounce dried black moss
  • 1/2 ounce dried black fungus, also known as cloud ear or wood ear (about 2/3 cup or 4 ounces fresh)
  • 8 ounces deep-fried tofu squares
  • 5 ounces fried gluten balls (about 18)
  • 3/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans straw mushrooms, drained, liquid reserved
  • Granulated sugar
  • 1 (15-ounce) can baby corn, drained
  • 7 ounces shelled fresh or canned and drained ginkgo nuts (about 1 cup)
  • 1 (20-ounce) can bamboo shoot halves in water, drained and sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick
  • 7 ounces fresh boiled bamboo shoots, sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 medium napa cabbage (about 2 pounds)
  • 1 pound baby bok choy or baby bok choy hearts, washed and dried
  • 3 (1/4-inch-thick by 1/2-inch-long) slices peeled fresh ginger, smashed with the side of a chef’s knife to flatten slightly
  • 1 pound baby carrots
  • 8 ounces snow peas
  • Soy sauce
  • Steamed white rice, for serving (optional)
For soaking the dried ingredients:

  1. Place the dried shiitake mushrooms in a medium bowl, cover with 3 cups of warm water, and soak until softened, at least 5 hours or overnight.
  2. Place the dried bean curd sticks and dried lily buds in separate large bowls, cover each with warm water, and let sit for 1 hour to soften, making sure they are submerged in the water and breaking up any lily buds that are sticking together.
  3. Place the dried black moss and the dried black fungus in separate medium bowls. Cover each with warm water and let sit for 1 hour to soften, making sure they are submerged in the water.
  4. Bring 8 cups of water to a boil in a large 12-quart stockpot with a tightfitting lid. Remove from heat, add the deep-fried tofu and gluten balls, and submerge them by placing a small plate on top. Let sit 15 minutes to remove some of the oil from the tofu and gluten balls.

For preparing the soaked ingredients:

  1. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the shiitake mushrooms to a cutting board, being careful not to disturb the gritty sediment on the bottom of the bowl. Trim off the tough stems and cut each mushroom in half; set aside. Slowly pour 2 cups of the soaking liquid into a measuring cup, leaving the sediment behind; set aside. Discard the remaining liquid and sediment.
  2. Drain the bean curd sticks and cut crosswise into 1-1/2-inch pieces; set aside.
  3. Drain the lily buds and tie a knot in the middle of each; set aside.
  4. Drain the moss, place in a medium bowl, add 1 teaspoon of the vegetable oil and a large pinch of salt, and toss to combine; set aside.
  5. Drain the black fungus; set aside.
  6. Drain the tofu and gluten balls from the stockpot; clean the stockpot and set it aside. When the tofu and gluten balls are cool enough to handle, gently squeeze out some of the excess liquid; set aside.

For cooking the jai:

  1. Set the stockpot on the stovetop.
  2. Heat a 14-inch wok over high heat until hot. Drizzle in 1 tablespoon of the oil around the perimeter of the wok and add the shiitake and straw mushrooms in an even layer. Season with a large pinch of salt and a small pinch of sugar and, using a metal spatula, stir-fry until the mushrooms are fragrant and begin to soften, about 2 minutes. Transfer to the stockpot.
  3. One ingredient at a time, using 1 tablespoon of oil for each and seasoning with salt and sugar, stir-fry the bean curd sticks, moss, baby corn, and ginkgo nuts until softened slightly, about 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer each batch to the stockpot.
  4. Using 1 tablespoon of the oil and seasoning with salt and sugar, stir-fry the tofu and gluten balls together until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer to the stockpot.
  5. Using 1 tablespoon of the oil and seasoning with salt and sugar, stir-fry the canned and fresh bamboo shoots together until heated through, about 2 minutes. Transfer to the stockpot.
  6. Stir the ingredients in the stockpot together until thoroughly combined. Add the reserved mushroom soaking liquid, canned mushroom liquid, and enough water to just cover the ingredients. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  7. Meanwhile, cut the napa cabbage in half lengthwise, then cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces, discarding the core; set aside. Trim the ends off the bok choy and cut into 2-inch pieces (no need to cut if you’re using baby bok choy hearts); set aside.
  8. Heat the wok over high heat until hot. Drizzle in 1 tablespoon of the oil around the perimeter and add the reserved cabbage and ginger. Season with a large pinch of salt and a small pinch of sugar and stir-fry until the cabbage just starts to wilt, about 2 minutes. Transfer to the stockpot.
  9. Drizzle in 1 tablespoon of the oil around the perimeter of the wok and add the bok choy. Season with a large pinch of salt and a small pinch of sugar and stir-fry until the bok choy just starts to wilt, about 2 minutes. Transfer to the stockpot.
  10. One at a time, using 1 tablespoon of oil for each and seasoning with salt and sugar, stir-fry the carrots, black fungus, and lily buds until coated in oil, about 1 minute. Transfer each batch to the stockpot.
  11. Stir the jai together to thoroughly combine. Add enough water to just cover the ingredients and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until all the ingredients are cooked through and tender, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Stir in the snow peas. Taste and season with salt and soy sauce as needed. If you choose, serve with steamed rice.
Long Leafy Greens and long beans
chinese Long Beans with Cracked Black Pepper
This recipe is a great example of how adding a few pantry staples (like sugar and soy sauce) can revitalize a simple vegetable dish.
Total:25 mins

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 pound Chinese long beans or green beans, cut into 3-inch lengths
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, peeled with a vegetable peeler and cut into 1/3-inch dice
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • Step 1

    Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and cook over moderately high heat, until lightly browned. Add the long beans and red pepper and stir-fry until the beans are slightly softened and browned in spots, 5 minutes. Stir in the sugar. Add the water, cover and cook over moderately low heat until it has evaporated and the beans are tender, 5 minutes. Add the soy sauce and pepper and cook for 1 minute. Transfer to a platter and serve.

    Sichuan Chinese Long Beans with Preserved Garlic Scape

    2 teaspoons Sichuan peppercorn to taste
    3 tablespoons cooking oil, divided
    1 pound long Chinese long beans, cut into approximately 2-inch pieces (or substitute green beans)
    1/4 pound ground pork
    3 tablespoons preserved garlic scapes (Sichuan pickled mustard greens are typical)
    3-4 dried red chiles, whole
    1 tablespoon minced garlic
    1 tablespoon minced ginger
    2 tablespoons dry Sherry wine
    1 tablespoon soy sauce or tamari
    1 teaspoon brown sugar

    Toast the Sichuan peppercorn in a dry skillet until fragrant and slightly browned, 1 to 2 minutes. Cool and grind to a coarse powder in a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle.

    Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a hot wok over medium-high heat. Add the beans and stir-fry until the skins start to blister and char in spots, 10 to 15 minutes. Set aside.

    Lower heat to medium. Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil. Add the pork and pickled scapes, and season with salt. Cook, breaking up the pork with a wooden spoon/spatula, until no longer pink. Add the dried chiles, garlic and ginger and stir-fry another minute. Add the reserved green beans, Sherry wine, soy sauce, sugar and Sichuan peppercorn to taste and stir-fry another minute or two. Serve with rice if desired.

    Prep Time30 mins
    Cook Time5 mins
    Total Time35 mins
    Course: Vegetables
    Cuisine: Chinese
    Keyword: edible clover
    Servings: 2servings
    • 1/2 pound edible clover (cao tou)
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
    • 2 teaspoons Bai Jiu
    • 3 tablespoons vegetable or peanut oil
    • Wash the clover three times in water, taking care to pick out any stray weeds or grass. Drain in a colander, and shake thoroughly to ensure that there is no standing water on the vegetables. This is an important step, because the clover will release quite a bit of liquid when stir-frying.
    • Have salt, soy sauce and bai jiu all within reach before turning on the stove, since the stir-frying process will be very fast. Heat the oil in a wok until it just starts to smoke, and add the vegetables. Quickly stir-fry with a scooping motion for 10 seconds, so the clover does not get scalded or burned. The vegetables will absorb the oil and wilt quickly.
    • Add the salt and soy sauce, and continue to stir until the seasonings are mixed in and all of the clover is wilted. This will only take another 15 seconds. Turn off the heat and add the bai jiu, lightly tossing it into the cooked clover. Serve immediately.

Yuanbao (Jiaozi): dumplings

Homemade dumpling wrappers (饺子皮)
Making dumpling wrappers from scratch couldn’t be easier! In this section of my ultimate dumpling guide, you will learn to master this basic skill with ease (Video demonstration in post).
Prep Time1 hr 20 mins
Total Time1 hr 20 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: Dumplings
Servings: 30 wrappers
Calories: 29kcal
Author: Wei @ Red House Spice
For making around 30 wrappers
  • 250 g all-purpose flour about 2 cups, plus some for dusting
  • 130 ml water ½ cup+2 tsp (see note 1)
  • Add water to the flour gradually. Gently mix with a pair of chopsticks / spatular until no more loose flour can be seen. Then combine and knead with your hand. Leave to rest covered for 10-15 minutes then knead it into a smooth dough (see note 2).
  • Cover and rest the dough again for 30-60 minutes until it becomes soft (Chinese cooks would say “as soft as an earlobe”).
  • Make a loop with the dough then divide it into four parts. Roll one part (cover the rest to prevent them from drying out) into a rope then cut into 7-8 equal sections.
  • Press each piece into a small disc with the palm of your hand. Then use a rolling pin to flatten it into a thin disc. Dust with flour if the dough sticks (Please refer to the video below).
  • Use the fresh wrappers immediately. If you wish to freeze them for later, sprinkle extra flour in between each wrapper. Pile them up then place into an air-tight plastic bag (squeeze out the air as much as possible). Defrost in the fridge then use them straightaway.
1. Please be aware that measuring flour by cups is less accurate and the flour water ratio may vary depending on the brand of your flour.


2. You may use a stand mixer with a dough hook to achieve step 1. Mix flour and water on a low speed until a smooth dough forms.


3. Hot-water dough: If you prefer a less resilient texture for pan fried or steamed dumplings, you can make a hot-water dough. Replace ⅔ of the water with boiling water. First mix it with the flour. Then add ⅓ part of room temperature water. Knead as usual.


4. Semi-starchy dough: This dough also creates a more tender texture. Replace about ¼ of the flour with cornstarch. Don’t forget to sift to ensure an even mix. Make the dough as usual.

Steamed dumplings (jiaozi)
  • 300 g(2 cups) plain flour
  • 125 ml(½ cup) warm water


  • 100 g pork mince
  • 100 g raw prawn meat, coarsely chopped
  • small bunch garlic chives or 2 spring onions (green parts only), finely sliced
  • 2 tbsp finely diced bamboo shoot
  • 1 tbsp finely diced ginger
  • ½ tbsp finely diced garlic
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil

Dipping sauce

  • 60 ml(¼ cup) soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp white sugar
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • ½ tsp chilli oil
  • coriander sprigs, to serve

Resting time: 30 minutes

Process flour and the water in a food processor until incorporated. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Cover dough with a damp cloth and rest for 30 minutes.

Roll dough into long cylinders, about 3 cm thick. Cut cylinders into 1cm pieces. Flatten pieces with the palm of your hand to form discs, then roll out to about 7 cm diameter.

To make filling, combine pork, prawn, garlic chive or spring onion, bamboo shoot, ginger, garlic, soy sauce and sesame oil. Place small spoonfuls of filling in centres of dough rounds. Fold two sides over center to enclose filling and pleat edges to seal.

To steam, grease surface of a large steamer and preheat. Alternatively, line steamer with cabbage leaves. Steam dumplings for about 6 minutes or until cooked.

Meanwhile, to make the dipping sauce, combine all ingredients.

Serve jiaozi hot with coriander sprigs and dipping sauce.

Chinese pork dumplings


  • 1 lb napa cabbage, chopped finely, pat dry
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch

Dipping Sauce

  • 2 small cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp hot chili oil (optional)

First thing first, we’re going to put the chopped napa cabbage in a large plate or bowl and sprinkle with salt. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes. There should be lots of moisture/water released from the cabbage. Squeeze the cabbage and drain.

In a large bowl, mix cabbage, ground pork, scallions, egg, and cornstarch until thoroughly combined.


Prepare your dumpling wrapping station but sprinkling flour on either a large plate or baking sheet. Have your dumpling wrappers near by, a bowl of water, a spoon, bowl of filling, and the plate/baking sheet with flour nearby.

Boiled Dumplings

Boil a pot of water. Once boiling, carefully place dumplings in to the boiling water and stir a little. It will stop boiling. Bring it to a boil again, and add 1/2 cup of cold water. Stir again to prevent the dumplings sticking. Bring to a boil one more time and then add another 1/2 cup of water. The dumplings should now be floating on top of the water. Remove from heat and serve with dumpling sauce!


Heat 1 to 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Place dumplings in the pan, try not to overlap and crowd. Cook until browned, about 2 minutes per side. Add enough water for it to reach halfway height of the dumplings and cover. Let it cook covered for about 5 minutes or until the dumplings are tender and cooked thoroughly. Remove from heat and serve with dumpling sauce!



prep time: 20 MINUTES

cook time: 10 MINUTES

total time: 30 MINUTES

    • 1 pound ground pork
    • 1 cup shredded green cabbage
    • 3 ounces shiitake mushrooms, diced
    • 1 carrot, peeled and shredded
    • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
    • 1 green onion, thinly sliced
    • 2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
    • 2 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
    • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
    • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
    • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
    • 40 wonton wrappers
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  1. In a large bowl, combine pork, cabbage, mushrooms, carrot, garlic, green onion, ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar and white pepper.*
  2. To assemble the dumplings, place wrappers on a work surface. Spoon 1 tablespoon of the pork mixture into the center of each wrapper. Using your finger, rub the edges of the wrappers with water. Fold the dough over the filling to create a half-moon shape, pinching the edges to seal.*
  3. Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add potstickers in a single layer and cook until golden and crisp, about 2-3 minutes per side.
  4. Serve immediately with soy sauce, if desired.
Carrot Ginger Pork Buns is one of the best fillings we’ve ever made. The sweetness of the carrot combined with ginger makes these pork buns just heavenly.
PREP:1 hour 40 minutes
COOK:20 minutes
TOTAL:2 hours
For the dough:
  • 5 grams instant dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 ½ cups lukewarm water
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour (plus extra for rolling)
For the filling (the pork):
  • 1 cup ground pork
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • ¼ teaspoon white pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
For the rest of the filling:
  • 3 large carrots (finely grated)
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 1 cup scallions (finely chopped)
  • 2 teaspoons ginger (grated)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon shaoxing wine
If pan-frying the buns, you’ll also need:
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • ¼ cup water
  • a small handful of finely chopped scallion (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds (optional)
Step 1: Make the Dough
  • For this step, you need: 5 grams instant dry yeast, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1 ½ cups lukewarm water, and 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling.
  • In a large mixing bowl or mixer with a dough hook attachment, completely dissolve yeast and sugar in the lukewarm water. Add the flour and knead for about 15 minutes. The dough should be pretty soft and not too firm. If it seems dry, add a little more water. Cover the mixing bowl with a damp kitchen towel and let it proof one hour. While it’s proofing, make the filling:
Step 2: Make the Filling
  • Combine the following and mix for a few minutes, until the meat mixture resembles a fine paste, then set aside: 1 cup ground pork, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, 1 tablespoon light soy sauce, 3 tablespoons oil, ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper, ¼ teaspoon salt.
  • Then heat a couple tablespoons of oil in a pan over medium heat and cook the grated carrots (4 cups) for a few minutes until they turn color (they shouldn’t be mushy. Cook until they’re just not raw anymore). Let cool completely.
  • Combine the pork mixture, the cooked carrots, and the following ingredients: 1 cup chopped scallion, 2 teaspoons grated ginger, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, and 1 teaspoon shaoxing wine. Mix for a couple minutes, until the entire mixture resembles a paste.
Step 3: Assemble the Baozi
  • After the dough has finished proofing, turn it out on a clean surface dusted with flour. Knead for 2 minutes to get ride of any air pockets. Roll the dough into a long tube and rip off chunks of dough to make individual dough balls. They should be about the size of a golf ball for larger buns, and about half that size for smaller buns.
  • Take each dough ball, and with a rolling pin, roll from the edge towards the center, without actually rolling the center of the dough. The goal is to flatten the dough into a round circle with a thinner edge and thicker center. The difference in thickness should be about 1:2. Add some filling to the center of each disk (about 1 ½ tablespoons for the larger buns and 2 teaspoons for the smaller ones).
  • You can start with a smaller amount of filling until you get the hang of the folding. The buns are folded with one hand holding the skin and filling, and the other hand pleating the edges of the dough disk like an accordion. As you fold, the goal is to make it all the way around the circle, until you’ve sealed it at the top. You’ll be making about 10-15 folds. Lay the buns on a floured surface while you finish assembling them. Once assembled, let the buns proof under a clean kitchen towel for another 15 minutes before cooking or freezing.
  • To freeze, lay the buns on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and put the baking sheet in the freezer. Once the buns are frozen, transfer them to a Ziploc bag, press out as much air as you can from the bag, and freeze for up to two months (to be honest, they’ll even last longer than that). To cook, just follow the directions below as if you were cooking them fresh. The cooking times will just be a little longer!
Step 4: Cook!
  • There are 2 ways to cook your baozi: steaming and pan-frying, or “sheng jian.”
To steam:
  • I used a double-leveled bamboo steamer. You can use whatever steaming apparatus you normally use, but remember: 1) Boiling water should not directly touch the buns during steaming 2) Avoid sticking by brushing oil on the surface the bun sits on or by laying down some kind of natural nonstick surface. In our case, we used corn husks. Thin napa cabbage leaves will work too. If using a bamboo steamer, brush the sides of the steamer with oil, as the buns expand and might stick to the sides. 3) The surface that the buns sit on should not be solid, like a plate. This will trap moisture and make the buns soggy. There should be some aeration going on. 4) Make sure the lid is tight so you don’t lose any steam.
  • Start with cold water, and put your buns on the steamer. Turn on the heat to medium. Set the timer for 12-15 minutes for smaller buns and 15-20 minutes for the larger ones. To see if the buns are cooked, press the buns lightly with your finger. If the surface of the dough bounces right back, then they’re done. Keep a close eye on them. Over steaming will cause the buns to collapse, so cooking time is important.
  • Turn off the heat, keep the lid on, and let the buns “rest” for about 2 minutes before taking them out and eating.
To pan-fry:
  • Pre-heat a flat-bottomed cast-iron or other seasoned pan over medium heat. Add a couple tablespoons oil and swirl around the pan to coat it evenly. Add the buns to the pan, and let them cook for a few minutes until the bottoms turn golden brown. Once golden, add about 1/4 cup water to the pan and immediately cover with a lid. Turn the heat down to medium low and let the buns steam for 7-10 minutes until all the water is evaporated. Uncover the lid, and toss the buns with scallion and sesame seeds. Done!
Makes 15 large buns or 30 smaller buns. 

Some symbolic vegetables to consider are:

  • Seaweed: symbolize wealth and fortune
  • Lotus seeds: a blessing for many children and a healthy family
  • Bamboo shoots: represent longevity, as well as going onward and up
  • Muskmelon and grapefruit: symbolize family and hope. In addition, grapefruit symbolizes wealth and prosperity
  • Osmanthus flower petals: in Chinese, osmanthus ( / guì) is a homophone , which means noble and precious
  • Leek/chives: leek ( / jiǔ) sounds similar to , meaning long and everlasting
  • Poria mushrooms: another play on words, this mushroom (茯苓 / fú líng) sounds similar to 福禄 (fú lù), or blessings and fortune

For example:

  • Eggs: big and healthy family
  • Lobster: endless money rolling in
  • Shrimp: fortune and wealth
  • Roasted pig: peace
  • Duck: loyalty
  • Peaches: longevity
  • Tofu: happiness and fortune for the entire family
  • Fish: surplus and wealth

  Hot Pot 

    • Broth: Plonk and simmer 6 ingredients for 10 minutes (no trip to the Asian store required!);
    • Noodles: Prepare fresh OR dried noodles according to packet directions;
    • Toppings: Rummage in fridge and locate vegetables & proteins of choice. Chop roughly and cook with the noodles or in the soup. broth; and
    • Serve: Place noodles in bowls. Pour over soup and toppings.
Chinese Noodle Soup
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Author: Spice the Plate
Serves: 1-2
  • ½ pound thinly sliced beef rib eye for sukiyaki
  • ½ package enoki mushroom
  • ½ package firm tofu, cut into ½-inch slices
  • ½ carrot, peeled and sliced
  • ¼ head napa cabbage ((about 5-6 leaves)
  • 1 stalk scallion, chopped
  • Broth:
  • ¼ cup mirin (Japanese sweet cooking rice wine)
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  1. Combine mirin, soy sauce, water and sugar in a small sauce pan and bring it to a boil. Once boiling, turn off the heat and set aside.
  2. Cut the ribeye steak into paper-thin slices (or most Asian grocery stores have pre-sliced beef for sale).
  3. Brush off any loose dirt on the enoki mushrooms with a paper towel, cut off and discard the roots, tear into smaller bundles and set aside.
  4. Cut tofu into ½-inch slices and slice the carrot.
  5. Separate the nappa cabbage leaves from the stem, rinse them under water and set aside.
  6. Place and arrange all the ingredients in a Japanese clay pot or a cast iron pot and pour the broth into the pot.
  7. Cover with a lid and bring to a boil under medium-high heat.
  8. Once boiling, turn to low heat, simmer (with lid on) for another 15-17 minutes until all ingredients are cooked through.
  9. Sprinkle with chopped scallion to serve and enjoy!



Cozy up at your get-together with friends and family with this homemade Japanese sukiyaki recipe, served with seared marbled beef and a variety of vegetables cooked in a soy sauce broth.

  • 2 servings udon noodles (180 g dry udon noodles; 500 g frozen/boiled udon noodles; udon is served at the end of the meal after all the ingredients are cooked and the broth is left in the pot.)
  • ½ head napa cabbage (10 leaves; 1.8 oz or 690 g)
  • ½ bunch shungiku (tong ho/garland chrysanthemum) (7 oz, 200 g)
  • 1 negi (long green onion) (1 leek, 3 green onions)
  • 1 package enoki mushrooms (7 oz, 200 g)
  • 8 shiitake mushrooms (or other kinds of mushrooms)
  • 1 package yaki tofu (broiled tofu) (9 oz, 255 g)
  •  carrot (optional)
  • 1 package shirataki noodles (7 oz, 198 g; or cellophane noodles, yam noodles)
  • 1 lb thinly sliced beef (chuck or rib eye) (slice your own meat)
  • 1 Tbsp neutral-flavored oil (vegetable, rice bran, canola, etc) (or beef fat if your sukiyaki beef package comes with it)
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar (we use it for the first batch of meat)
  • 11.5 cup dashi (Japanese soup stock; click to learn more) (or water; to dilute the sauce)
  • 1 cup sake
  • 1 cup mirin
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  1. Gather all the ingredients.

  1. Combine 1 cup sake, 1 cup mirin, ¼ cup sugar, and 1 cup soy sauce in a small saucepan and bring it to a boil. Once boiling, turn off the heat and set aside. This Sukiyaki sauce can be stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to a month.

  1. If your udon is frozen, cook it in boiling water until loosen. Remove from heat and soak in iced water to prevent overcooking them. Drain and transfer to a plate covered with plastic. You will not need it till the end of the sukiyaki meal.

  2. Prepare sukiyaki ingredients. Cut napa cabbage into 2” (5 cm) wide then cut in half right at the middle of the white part.
  3. Cut shungiku into 2” (5 cm) wide, and slice Tokyo negi. Discard the bottom part of enoki and tear into smaller bundles.
  4. Discard the shiitake stem and decorate the top of shiitake if you like.
  5. Cut tofu into smaller pieces (I usually cut into 6-8 pieces).
  6. If you like, you can slice some carrots and then stamp them into a floral shape for decoration.
  7. Drain and rinse the shirataki noodles (sorry no photo). Put all the ingredients on one big platter for the table or into smaller individual servings.
  1. Set a portable gas cooktop at the dining table. Each person should have a medium-sized bowl where the cooked food is being transferred to from the pot. Heat a cast iron sukiyaki pot (or any pot) on medium heat. When it’s hot, add 1 Tbsp cooking oil (or beef fat).

  2. Place 2-4 slices of well-marbled beef to sear and sprinkle 1 Tbsp brown sugar. Flip and cook the other side of the meat. You can pour a little bit of Sukiyaki Sauce over the meat and enjoy some (or all) of the sweet and nicely caramelized meat now (this is to enjoy the good quality meat), and continue to the next step.

  1. Pour half of the Sukiyaki Sauce you made (1 ⅓ cup) and 1 cup dashi (or water) in the pot.

  2. Add vegetables, tofu, and other ingredients to the pot (keep the udon for later). Add more Sukiyaki Sauce or dashi (or water) if necessary. The ⅔ of the ingredients should be submerged in the broth. Put the lid on and bring to a gentle boil. Once boiling, turn down the heat and simmer until the ingredients are cooked through. Once ingredients are cooked through, you can add more beef as beef will cook fast. Enjoy the first round of sukiyaki. If the sauce gets too salty (from evaporating), add dashi (or water) to dilute. If the vegetables diluted the sauce too much, then add more sukiyaki sauce.

  1. When there is less cooked food in the pot, divide the leftover into individual bowls. Then start cooking the second round by adding more ingredients to the pot (repeat the previous step). While the second round of sukiyaki is being cooked, you can enjoy the leftover from the first pot or any side dishes.

  1. We usually end the sukiyaki meal with udon. When most of the ingredients have disappeared, add udon to the pot. Cook until heated through and enjoy.
  1. You can keep the leftovers in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for a month. Tofu does not freeze well, so take them out if there is any.

Fa Gao  

Fa gao is a Chinese cupcake-like pastry, most commonly consumed on the Chinese new year, that is made of flour, leavening, sugar or another sweetener, steamed, until the top splits into a characteristic “split top” of four segments.

Chinese Fa Gao (Fortune Cake)
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
40 mins
Chinese steamed cake–Fa gao also known as Fortune Cake
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: cake
Calories440 kcal
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 130 ml hot water
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  1. Melt brown sugar with hot water and set aside.
  2. Combine flour with baking powder. Add the sugar water. Stir the batter in one direction for around 3-5 minutes. The longer; the better.
prep time: 15 MINUTES
cook time: 25 MINUTES
total time: 40 MINUTES
course: DESSERT
cuisine: CHINESE
Fa Gao, also known as Prosperity Cake, Lucky Cake or Fortune Cake, is made and eaten during Chinese New Year to bring prosperity in the new year. 
  • 180 ml water
  • 200 g cake flour
  • 50 g rice flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 3 drops red food coloring
  • In a small pot, bring the water and sugar to a boil, stirring frequently, until the sugar is dissolved. Take the pot off the heat and cool the sugar syrup completely.
  • Sift the cake flour, rice flour, and baking powder into a large bowl. Add the sugar syrup to the pot and whisk until the mixture is smooth.
  • Add the food coloring and stir until combined. The batter will be thick. Immediately transfer the batter to ramekins lined with paper liners, filling them until they are almost full. Steam the cakes, covered, over high heat for 20 minutes.
Turnip Cake
Turnip cake is a Chinese dim sum dish. The less commonly used radish cake is a more accurate name, as Western-style turnips are not used in the dish but rather shredded radish and plain rice flour. 
Turnip Cake (Lo Bak Go/蘿蔔糕)
  • Author: Lisa Lin
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 8


  • 2 tablespoons (6g) dried scallops
  • 1/4 cup (10g) dried shrimp
  • 1/2 cup chopped Chinese sausage (2 links)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped shallots
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil (any neutral oil works)
  • 1 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper


  • 2 1/2 pounds daikon
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 3 tablespoons chopped shallots
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 small pieces rock sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon chicken powder (optional, see note 1)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder


  • 4 ounces rice flour
  • 4 ounces cornstarch
  • 1 cup water

Other Equipment

  • 9” round cake pan 
  • oil for greasing pan
  • steaming rack (about 2-inches high)
  • 14-inch wok with lid
  1. Soak the dried scallops and dried shrimp in water overnight. Drain the water. Use your hands to shred the scallops. Roughly chop the dried shrimp.
  2. Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of oil in a skillet (or sauté pan) over medium-high heat. Add the scallops, shrimp, Chinese sausage, and shallots and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the oyster sauce, salt, and white pepper. Stir to combine. Turn off the heat and transfer everything to a bowl. 
  3. Trim the tops off the daikon and peel them. Grate the daikon into a 9×13 pan or a bowl. You are doing this to ensure that you save all the daikon juices that release as you are grating the turnips. Alternatively, grate the daikon using a food processor. 
  4. Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons oil in a large wok (or sauté pan) over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and garlic to the wok and sauté for about a minute, until fragrant. Transfer the grated daikon and daikon juices into the wok. Add 1 1/2 cups of water, the rock sugar, salt, chicken powder, white pepper, and garlic powder to the wok. Cover the wok with a lid and cook the daikon for about 5 minutes.
  5. While the daikon is cooking, make the batter. Mix the rice flour and cornstarch in a mixing bowl. Add 1 cup of water to the flour and stir. The batter might be stiff at the beginning, but keep stirring until the batter is smooth. 
  6. Uncover the wok and turn off the heat. Dig out the pieces of garlic. You don’t want large chunks of garlic inside the cake. Add the stir fried shrimp, scallops, and Chinese sausage to the wok and stir to combine. Then, add the batter to the daikon and stir. 
  7. Lightly grease the cake pan with oil. Transfer all the ingredients from the wok to the cake pan. Use a spatula to smooth out the top of the turnip cake.
  8. Wash the wok. Cover the wok with about 2 inches of water and bring it to boil. Place the steaming rack in the center of the wok. Make sure that the water level is just below the top of the steaming rack. Then, carefully place the turnip cake on top of the steaming rack. Cover the wok and cook for 28 to 30 minutes.
  9. Uncover the wok. Because of condensation, you may notice some water on top of the steamed cake. That’s okay. Let the cake cool for 10 minutes on the steaming rack before removing from the wok. Carefully drain the water over the sink. Let the turnip cake cool completely before serving.
  10. To pan fry the turnip cake, I usually chill my turnip cake overnight so that the cake stiffens. Slice the cake into small squares or rectangles. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the turnip cake pieces and pan fry each side for about 4 minutes, until golden brown. Serve the turnip cake with chili oil or chili oil crisp.
Osmanthus Jelly

Osmanthus cake is a traditional sweet-scented Chinese pastry made with glutinous rice flour, honey sweet-scented osmanthus and rock sugar. Osthmanthus jelly has more than 300 years of history. True authentic jellies are made without any artificial flavoring or additives. The three main ingredients are glutinous rice powder, fresh osthmanthus petals and bits of crystal sugar.

Osmanthus Flower Jelly Recipe  桂花糕
(makes 16-18 small jellies)  Prep time:    Cook time: 


1/2 oz agar agar strips 瓊脂 or agar powder, 13g 
3/4 cup rock sugar 冰糖, 150g
5 1/2 cups water (more if you want more wobbly jelly)
2 tbsp dried osmanthus flowers 幹桂花
2 tbsp dried wolfberries 杞子


Soak agar strips in cool water for 30 mins.  Drain agar strips and put in a large pot with the 5 1/2 cups of water.  Simmer over low heat for 10-15 mins until agar strips completely melted.  Add in sugar and stir until melted.  Add in osmanthus and wolfberries.  Let simmer another 2-3 mins, stirring occasionally. 
At this point you can test how wobbly your jelly will be by spooning about a tbsp into a small bowl and letting it set in the fridge for a couple of mins.  If the set jelly is too stiff for your liking add a bit more water.  If jelly is too wobbly simmer a few more mins and retest.
When the jelly is to your liking, remove from heat and let cool in pot for 5 mins before spooning into your mold.  Remember if you use silicon molds you need to have those molds on a tray of some kind before filling with jelly or you’re never going to be able to move it without spilling everything out.  Let continue cooling in the molds at room temperature for 10 mins or until the jelly just starts to thicken.  Use a toothpick to stir up the osmanthus from the bottom of the mold where it has sunk.  Repeat every couple of mins until the flowers stay suspended in the jelly.  Finish the cooling in the fridge.  
To serve, unmold by twisting mold until the sides of jelly are detached.  Or use a toothpick to loosen sides before sliding jelly out.  Serve awesome jelly on your prettiest plate sprinkled with a shower of delicate osmanthus flowers.  Store covered in fridge for up to 5 days.  Enjoy your flower jelly!
Tip:  For easy measurement of agar to liquid, use the ratio of 1 g of agar powder or strip for every 100 ml of liquid to be gelled.  Add more water if you want it softer and less ‘crunchy’.
Snow Skin Mooncake 
(makes approx 24 small 35g mooncakes)   Prep time: Cook time: 
digital food scale

1 cup cooked glutinous rice flour Kao Fen 糕粉, 100g
3/4 cup icing sugar, 90g
1 tbsp +1 tsp lard or shortening, 30g
1/4 cup cold water, 50ml
food coloring (optional)
23 oz white lotus seed paste  白蓮蓉, 650g, or filling of your choice
1/2 cup glutinous rice flour 糯米粉, for coating, 50g


Sift the icing sugar into the kao fen and mix.  Add lard and rub into the flour until it looks like bread crumbs.  If you want different colored snow skins, separate the flour mixture evenly into separate bowls.  Divide water into equal number of bowls, add food coloring to desired color and chill til icy cold.  Add chilled water to the flour mixture 1 tbsp at a time, mixing until it comes together in a soft, stretchy and mochi like dough.  Do not over knead.  Weigh into 12g balls and set aside, covered.
Weigh and roll the filling into 24g balls.  If your filling is soft and squishy, chill in freezer until firm enough to roll cleanly and stay that way while you wrap.  On your working surface and rolling pin sprinkle some glutinous rice flour and roll out a round of dough to approx 3″ circle, about 1/8″ thickness.  It may be a bit hard to roll out because the dough will want to stretch back on itself but keep at it and it will spread thin.  
Tip: Using a silicone counter mat is very useful here as the dough will adhere to the silicon enough to allow for roll out without the dough stretching back on itself.  Just roll out and turn the dough as usual but don’t turn the dough itself, turn the whole mat.  The dough won’t shrink back.  Easy peasy!
Place the filling in center and use fingertips to draw up the skin on one side first.  Wherever the dough mets it should stick to itself.  Don’t worry if it looks messy or there are bits sticking out, just as long as everything is sealed.  With one side done, do the other side.  You may not have enough dough to meet at top, but that’s okay.  Just gently stretch the elastic dough to meet the other side and press to stick it together.
With the wrapper sealed all around the filling you can take a scissor and carefully cut off the extra bits that stick out.  Smooth into a ball and dust with glutinous rice flour.  Dust inside of mooncake mould with glutinous rice flour, shaking out excess.  Place mooncake pretty side down into your mould and press down gently until snuggly fitted.  Knock out mooncake by rapping one side of the mould on the table at an slight angle.  Your beautiful hand pressed mooncake is done!  
Serve chilled and store in airtight container in refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.  Or eat ’em all up under the full harvest moon.
Jujube Flower
They’re usually used a blessing to have children soon, or have wishes come true. People choose the meatiest jujube and wrap it with dough.
Jujube Flower Cakes
  • 2 cups water, plus more for steaming
  • 1 (1-pound) package Chinese brown sugar
  • 1 pound sweet rice flour (about 3 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more for coating the pan
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract
  • 10 dried seedless Chinese red dates, also known as jujubes, for garnish (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
  1. Place the measured water and brown sugar in a medium saucepan. Set over medium heat and stir occasionally until the sugar has completely dissolved, about 10 minutes. (Do not let it boil.) Remove from heat and let cool until warm to the touch.
  2. Meanwhile, fill a 14-inch wok with about 1 1/2 inches of water and place a 12-inch bamboo steamer inside. (The water should not touch the bottom of the steamer.) If you don’t have a wok and a bamboo steamer, use a large frying pan and foil as described above in “Special equipment.” Bring the water to a simmer over medium heat. Coat a 9-inch round cake pan with vegetable oil; set aside.
  3. Place the rice flour in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour in the sugar-water mixture, beating until smooth, about 2 minutes. If needed, stop to scrape down the sides of the mixer with a rubber spatula.
  4. Add the measured oil and continue beating on low speed until the batter is smooth and the oil is incorporated, about 5 minutes. Add the almond extract and beat until just incorporated. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan.
  5. Carefully place the pan in the bamboo steamer or on top of the foil coils. Cover the bamboo steamer with its lid or cover the wok or frying pan with a tightfitting lid or a sheet of aluminum foil. (Do not cover the cake pan directly with a lid or foil.) Steam until the cake is very firm to the touch, about 3 hours, checking every hour and replenishing the wok or pan with hot tap water as needed. While the cake is still warm, garnish with the dates (if using) and sesame seeds. Let cool on a rack to room temperature. Run a knife around the outside of the cake, then slip a thin spatula under the cake to lift it out. Serve it sesame seed side up.
Ai Wo-Wo   glutinous rice cake with a sweet filling.

The long and technical English term for this Beijing dessert is “steamed rice cakes with sweet stuffing.” This is another dessert that uses glutinous rice (as most Chinese desserts do), but traditionally, this is also halal.

In Beijing, ai wo-wo are sold from the Spring Festival all the way until the end of summer.

According to folktales, the one who brought ai wo-wo to Beijing was Concubine Xiang. She was of the Hui ethnicity and brought to Beijing for Emperor Qianlong (Qing dynasty). But she hated Beijing because it was far from home. And she had already been married!

So her previous husband made these treats from her homeland to help with her homesickness (and send secret messages.)

Ai wo-wo are known for their pure white color. Different from other desserts, the outside is not smooth. Glutinous rice is mixed into steamed rice powder to create the dough. The texture from the rice looks like freshly fallen snow and the inside fills you with sweetness.

Common ingredients for the filling include: sugar, black sesame, walnuts, bits of hawthorn and Chinese yam. Traditionally, jujubes are also pressed onto the top for more blessings.

Steamed rice cakes with sweet stuffing
Rice Balls

It’s custom to eat them for the first breakfast of the year in Jiangsu and Shanghai regions. These glutinous rice balls are boiled and served in the hot water. Because it originated from Ningbo, they can also be called Ningbo rice balls (宁波汤圆 / níng bō tang yuán).

O-nigiri, also known as o-musubi, nigirimeshi, or rice ball, is a Japanese food made from white rice formed into triangular or cylindrical shapes and often wrapped in nori

Make Japanese Rice Balls

Traditional fillings:
– cod roe
– pickled plum
– teriyaki salmon

Variations to try:
– smoked salmon and scallions
– sauteed kabocha squash
– Trent Pierce’s Miso-Creamed Kale

– seaweed (sushi-style nori)
– black and white sesame seeds
– shichimi togarashi (a Japanese spice blend made up of ground sesame seeds, orange peel, and chili pepper)

Cook a pot of sushi rice, and keep the rice slightly warm. 4 cups of cooked rice will be enough for about 10 to 12 rice balls. Set a bowl of cold water at your work space so that you can continuously wet your hands as you form the rice balls. This will prevent the rice from sticking to your hands.

Wet your hands and scoop up a small handful of the rice. Flatten the rice into a dense, thin, oblong layer in the palm of your hand. Scoop a small spoonful of the filling into the center of the rice, and gently fold the rice around the filling. Using both hands, pack the rice into a firm ball and then gently press it into whatever shape you’d like. I like flattened triangles because they are easy to bite into.

Other delicious desserts

The list of desserts that people bring in after the main course is endless. Here is a short list of some other traditional desserts:

  • Taro balls (芋圆 / yù yuán): Steamed taro is mashed, rolled into balls and boiled. Like rice balls, they represent reunions and a successful career.
Taro and Sweet Potato Balls Dessert
Prep Time 1 hr 30 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Red Bean Pre-Soaking 3 hrs
Total Time 4 hrs 45 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Asian, Chinese, Taiwanese
Servings: 6
For the Hand Rolled Balls
  • 250 g / 0.55 lb taro, peeled and sliced into 1/2 cm / 0.2″ slices
  • 250 g / 0.55 lb orange sweet potato, peeled and sliced into 1/2 cm / 0.2″ slices
  • 250 g / 0.55 lb purple sweet potato, peeled and sliced into 1/2 cm / 0.2″ slices
  • 400 g / 0.88 lb tapioca starch
  • 5 tbsp sugar, or to taste
  • water (if needed)
For the Red Bean
  • 500 g / 1.1 lb adzuki red bean (pre-soaked)
  • 50 g / 0.1 lb rock sugar, or to taste
  • 8 US cups water
For the Ginger Syrup
  • 5 slices ginger
  • 50 g / 0.1 lb rock sugar, or to taste
  • 4 US cups water
Hand Rolled Balls
  • Set up your steamer and steam the sweet potato and taro slices for 30 minutes per batch. If you have a larger steamer, you can steam more at the same time.
  • Mash the steamed taro slices using a fork or a potato masher followed by the steamed sweet potatoes.
  • Pour 100 g tapioca starch into the mashed taro along with 1 tsp sugar and knead until a dough is formed. It should be firm enough to stand as a ball and not too soft that it sticks to your hands.


    Note: The amount of tapioca starch needed will vary for each dough because every taro and every sweet potato will have different levels of moisture.


    If you find the dough too dry, knead in 1 tbsp water at a time until you have the desired consistency. Using less starch will also mean a softer ball while more starch will yield a chewier ball and a milder flavour.

  • Repeat the previous step with the mashed purple and orange sweet potatoes except using higher amounts of tapioca starch as they naturally contain more moisture.
  • Take small dough handfuls and roll them into logs 1.5 cm (0.6″) in diameter. Use a knife to divide the log into 1.5 cm (0.6″) pieces.
  • Dust the balls in tapioca starch to stop them from sticking to each other.
  • Bring a pot of water to boil and fill a large bowl with room temperature water. When boiling, put a handful of raw pieces in to cook until they float.
  • Continue to let them cook for another 2 minutes before transferring them into the water bowl.
  • Scoop the balls out and toss them in the remaining sugar, 1 tbsp per batch (or to taste).
Sweet Red Bean
  • Soak the red beans in water for 3 hours. This will make the cooking process much faster.
  • Drain the soaking water from the beans then cook them in a pot with the rock sugar and new water for 30 minutes or until soft.
  • Scoop the beans out to use as a topping. Optional: You can keep the leftover red bean water for your dessert soup.
Ginger Soup
  • Boil the water, rock sugar and ginger for 30 minutes.
  • Find the right purple potato at the supermarket by looking for the larger separated pieces. Their ends will reveal the colour of the flesh.
  • Customise with other toppings to make the dessert yours. Tapioca pearls, grass jelly, tofu pudding, purple rice, barley, beans and fruit work wonders!
  • Make sure the balls are warm when they get tossed in sugar. The heat will turn the sugar into a glaze.
  • Vary the amount of tapioca flour for the taro, orange and purple sweet potatoes depending on their starch content. As a rule of thumb, taro will need the least, purple sweet potato a bit more and orange sweet potato the most.
  • Cook the balls, red bean and ginger syrup all at once to save time.
  • Presoak the adzuki red beans for 3 hours to cut down on cooking time.
  • Song muffin cakes (松糕 / sōng gāo): Traditionally, this is a wedding dessert. It can now be made for every occasion and represent sweetness in life.

Chinese Egg Cake

Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins 
Old-styled Chinese egg cake
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: cake, egg
Servings: 20 Making 12 mini egg cakes
Calories: 45 kcal
Author: Elaine

The muffin tin I am using is around 50*15mm for each cupcake.
The Nutrition Facts is based on each single cake.
3.33 middle size eggs ,room temperature eggs
100 g cake flour ,1/2 US cup
66.67 g castor sugar ,around 3 tablespoons+1 teaspoon
8.33 g oil ,olive oil or other vegetable oil around 3/4 teaspoon
warm water ,for speeding up the whipping process, not required in summer days.
1. Preheat the oven to 180 C around 350F.
2. Prepare a larger container and add half full warm water, then place your mixing bowl on the warm water. Add eggs and
castor sugar. Whip at medium speed until light and fluffy. And then use low speed to remove some large bubbles. This
step is the key of success and may take 12- 15 minutes until the mixture reach the ribbon stage.
3. Shift flour in. Then use a spatula to combine well. And lastly add oil and well combined too.
4. Prepare a mini 12 paper lined muffin tin mold and pour the batter in.
5. Bake at the middle rack for 15 to 20 minutes until the surface is well colored.

  • Yellow pea cakes (豌豆黄 / wān dòu huáng): This traditional Beijing dessert used to be a delicacy adorned with gold and served in the palace. It represents wealth and prosperity.

Traditional Peking Pea Cake

40 minutes Serves 2 Easy

500g peas
200g sugar
10g agar-agar
dried osmanthus

1. Use mung beans instead if you don’t like peas. It’s exactly the same process
as the pea cakes.
2. Wait until bean paste is completely solidified before cutting into pieces.

  • Sesame balls (煎堆 / jiān duī): Sesame seeds are included into the glutinous rice dough. The balls are filled with red bean paste and deep fried until golden. They are crispy on the outside and warm and chewy on the inside. They are auspicious symbols of family reunions.
Chinese Fried Sesame Dessert Balls (Jian Dui)

for 8 servings


  • ¼ cup red bean, dried
  • 4 cups water
  • ¼ cup sugar


  • ⅔ cup hot water
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • 2 cups glutinous rice flour, plus more for dusting
  • ½ cup sesame seed


  • 7 cups vegetable oil
  1. Make the red bean filling: In a medium bowl, combine the red beans with 1 cup (240 ml) of water. Cover with plastic wrap and soak overnight.
  2. Drain the red beans, then transfer to a small saucepan with the remaining 3 cups (720 ml) of water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then cover and cook for 1 hour, until soft enough to mash with a fork.
  3. Add the sugar and cook, stirring frequently, until the liquid evaporates and a thick red bean paste forms.
  4. Transfer the red bean paste to a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface of the paste to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  5. Make the dough: In a liquid measuring cup or small bowl, whisk the hot water with the light brown sugar until the sugar dissolves.
  6. Add the glutinous rice flour to a medium bowl and use a spoon to create a small well in the center.
  7. Pour the sugar syrup into the well and stir for 5 minutes, until the dough is well combined and no longer sticks to the bowl.
  8. Lightly dust a clean surface with glutinous rice flour. Turn the dough out and knead for 5 minutes, until it forms a smooth, round ball. Use a little bit more flour or water as needed.
  9. Divide the dough into 8 pieces. Roll the pieces into small balls, then flatten into discs about ½-inch (1 ¼ cm) thick and 2½-inches (6.5 cm) in diameter.
  10. Place 1 teaspoon of red bean filling in the center of a piece of dough. Fold in the edges to cover the filling, then roll into a ball. Roll the ball in the sesame seeds until the dough is covered. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.
  11. Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot until it reaches 350°F (180°C).
  12. Fry the sesame balls for 15 minutes, stirring frequently, until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack set over a baking sheet to drain and let cool for 15 minutes before serving.
  13. Enjoy!
  • Almond cookies (杏仁饼 / xìng rén bǐng): You should be able to find this traditional Cantonese dessert at your local Chinese food restaurant. They give them out as an alternative to fortune cookies (which, by the way, don’t exist in China!)
Chinese Almond Cookie
Prep Time
40 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
1 hr 10 mins
Chinese Almond Cookie with almond flour
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: Almond, Cookie
Servings16 Making 16 cookies
Calories120 kcal
  • 115 g butter ,softened in room temperature
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 tsp. almond extract
  • 120 g cake flour
  • 60 g almond flour
  • 1 small pinch of salt
  • 35 g to 40g sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 16 whole almonds for decoration
  • egg wash
  • 1 tbsp. egg liquid + 1 tbsp. water
  1. Cream butter with egg yolk, sugar and almond extract  in a large mixing bowl and then shift salt, cake flour, almond flour and baking soda.

  2. Combine all the ingredients together and then knead into a dough. Cover with plastic wrapper and refrigerate for 1 hour (optional in winter).
  3. Preheat oven to 170 degree C.
  4. Divide the dough into 16 similar pieces and then shape each one into a round ball. Slightly flat with fingers (or if you prefer a cuter pattern, you can use forks). Then decorate whole almond in the center. Optionally, brush the egg wash.
  5. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes and then let the cookies stay in the oven for another 10 minutes. Transfer to cooling track until completely cooled. Then package with air-tight container.
Japanese Rice Balls
Prep:5 mins
Cook:30 mins
Total:35 mins
Servings:6 to 8 servings
Yields:8 rice balls
  • Optional: 1 to 2 sheets dried nori seaweed
  • 4 cups steamed Japanese rice (sushi rice)
  • 1 dash salt (or to taste)
  • Optional: black sesame seeds
  • For the Fillings:
  • Optional: umeboshi (pickled plum or ume)
  • Optional: grilled salted salmon (small chunks)
  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Cut each nori sheet (if using) into 8 to 9 strips and put about a 1/2 cup of steamed rice in a rice bowl.

  3. Wet your hands with water so that the rice won’t stick
  4. Rub some salt on your wet hands.
  5. Place the steamed rice in your hand and form into a triangle, making sure it is dense and thick.
  6. Put your favorite filling, such as umeboshi or grilled salmon, on the rice and push the filling into the rice lightly.
  7. Hold the rice between your palms. 
  8. Form the rice into a round, a triangle, or a cylinder by pressing lightly with your both palms, securing the filling in the middle. Roll the rice ball in your hands a few times, pressing lightly.
  9. Wrap the rice ball with a strip or two of nori (if using), or sprinkle some sesame seeds on them (if using).
  • AUTHOR: Dan
  • PREP TIME: 5 minutes
  • COOK TIME: 10 minutes
  • TOTAL TIME: 15 minutes
  • YIELD: 4 servings
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 1/2 lb. brussels sprouts, shaved
  • 1 lb. chicken thighs, cooked and shredded (or you can use 1 pound of shredded rotisserie chicken)
  • 8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 Recipe Stir Fry Sauce
  1. Add the canola oil to a wok and heat over high heat. Add in the mushrooms and cook until browned on both sides (give them a couple of stirs but let them brown).
  2. Next add in the shaved brussels sprouts and shredded chicken. Stir together and cook 3-4 minutes until the sprouts have wilted a little and the chicken pieces are cooked through.
  3. Add in the stir fry sauce starting with only half (see note), then adding more depending on your tastes.

*Don’t add in all the stir-fry sauce at first, start with half and then as more depending on how “saucy” you like your Chinese food. We used all of it because we like to serve this on top of rice. If you buy a brussels sprout stalk, you’ll just need one. If you buy the 9 oz. containers in the store 2 will be fine. If you buy the shaved brussels sprouts in a bag you’ll need 2 10 oz. bags.

Easy Homemade Stir Fry Sauce
Prep Time 5 mins
Total Time 5 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: stir-fry sauce
Servings: 12 (enough for 3 total dishes, 4 servings each))
Author: Bill
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock (or vegetable or mushroom stock; 350ml)
  • 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar (or granulated sugar)
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce (can sub gluten-free soy sauce or tamari)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce (or vegetarian or gluten-free oyster sauce)
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • In a jar with a tight lid (must hold 2 cups of liquid), combine all of the stir fry sauce ingredients together and shake well.
  • This sauce should keep for a few weeks in the refrigerator; all you need to do is measure and pour out what you need for your dish.
 Chicken for Stir-Fry
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Course: Chicken
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: how to velvet chicken
 Servings: 4
  • 12 ounces boneless skinless chicken breast (or thighs, 340g)
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce (or 1 tablespoon oyster sauce)
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • First, slice your chicken into 1 ½ to 2 inch pieces, about ¼ inch thick. Remember to slice across the grain, especially if using chicken breast.
  • Add the water and soy sauce (or oyster sauce) to the chicken in a medium bowl, and mix until the chicken is well-coated. Set aside for 5-10 minutes. In that time, most of the liquid will be absorbed into the chicken.
  • Add the cornstarch and vegetable oil and mix again until everything’s incorporated and the chicken is uniformly coated. For the best results, let the chicken sit for 15 to 20 minutes to marinate.
  • To sear, place your wok over high heat. When it starts to smoke lightly, add a couple tablespoons of vegetable oil to coat the surface of the wok. Add the chicken in one layer, and allow to sear for 20 seconds. Stir-fry until the chicken has turned opaque, and remove from the wok.
  • To blanch, add the chicken to a wok filled with boiling water. When it turns opaque, cook for an additional 10 seconds (the chicken will be cooked 80% through). Then, remove from the wok.
  • Remember, in both scenarios, you will be cooking the chicken again in your stir-fry, so avoid overcooking it during the pre-cook process!
Prep Time1 hr 30 mins
Total Time1 hr 30 mins
Course: Beef
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: how to prepare beef for stir fry Servings: 4
 Author: Bill
  • 1 pound beef flank steak or chuck steak (450g, sliced against the grain)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • water (3 tablespoons per pound)
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons oyster sauce or soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons Shaoxing Wine (Optional)
  • Add baking soda and water to the sliced beef and massage with hands until all of the liquid is absorbed. Let stand 1-2 hours.
  • Rinse the beef thoroughly under running water until the water runs clear. Drain.
  • Add oil, oyster sauce/soy sauce, Shaoxing wine (optional), and cornstarch to the beef. Set aside to marinate for 15-30 minutes, and then your beef is ready to use.
Short-Cut method for Tenderizing beef


Add 1/8 teaspoon to 1/4 teaspoon (for tougher cuts) of baking soda  and 1 to 2 tablespoons of water to the beef and mixing and working it into the beef before marinating will also do a fine job tenderizing!


Follow step 3 and increase the marinating time for your beef at least 15 minutes.

 Pork for Stir-fry
Prep Time35 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Pork
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: how to velvet pork
Servings: 4
Author: Bill
  • 12 ounces boneless pork (340g; use pork butt, shoulder, loin, tenderloin, or boneless country ribs)
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Shaoxing wine
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons oyster sauce
  • 3/8 teaspoon baking soda (optional)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil (plus more for stir-frying)
  • 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil (optional)
  • 1/8 teaspoon white pepper (optional)
  • Slice pork as required for your recipe. In a medium bowl, add the pork, water, Shaoxing wine, oyster sauce, and baking soda (if using).
  • Mix with your hands until the pork is well coated and the liquid is absorbed into the meat. Add the cornstarch, vegetable oil, and optional sesame oil and white pepper (if using). Mix again until everything’s well incorporated. Set aside and let the pork marinate for at least 30 minutes or overnight (if marinating overnight, let the pork come up to room temperature before starting your dish.
  • To sear the pork, place your wok over high heat. When it starts to smoke lightly, add 2 tablespoons oil around the perimeter of the wok to coat the surface. Add the pork in one layer, allowing it to sear for 30 seconds. Stir-fry until it has turned opaque, remove from the wok, and set aside.
  • To blanch, bring water to a boil in your wok. Stir in the pork. Once it turns opaque, blanch for an additional 10 second, and remove from the wok using a spider or strainer. Set aside.
  • Now your pork is ready to be added to your stir-fry. Remember, whether searing or blanching, you will cook the pork again in your stir-fry, so avoid overcooking it during the pre-cook step.
Note: Nutrition information (for 1 of 4 servings) was calculated using boneless pork loin, and includes all optional ingredients. 

YIELD Makes 16 buns

For the buns
  • 1 tablespoon (1 packet) active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water, plus additional as needed
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour (I like White Lily)
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 teaspoon double-acting baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

For the filling

  • 8 ounces ground pork
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped Chinese cabbage or bok choy
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped scallions
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon sherry or rice wine
  1. For the buns, in a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water. Allow to proof until bubbly and creamy, about 10 minutes.

  2. Sift the flour, sugar, and baking powder into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment. Add the salt. Turn the mixer on low speed, and pour in the warm water-yeast mixture until the dough begins to form a ball. If it looks too dry, add more water, tablespoon by tablespoon, until it forms a ragged clump. Continue to knead on low speed for 5 to 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth, shiny, and springy to the touch.

  3. (Alternately, you can do this by hand: Dribble the water into a large bowl holding the flour mixture, using one hand to slowly mix it in a circular direction. When it forms the ragged clump, turn the dough out onto a floured countertop and knead by hand until the dough is smooth and shiny.)

  4. Place the dough in a well-oiled bowl, flipping the dough to coat it in oil, and cover with plastic wrap. Store the bowl in a warm, draft free place until it doubles in size, approximately 2 to 3 hours.

  5. Prepare the filling (recipe below). Cut 16 squares (approximately 3-inches each) of wax or parchment paper. Spray each square with cooking oil.

  6. Punch the dough down, then divide in half. Roll each half into a rectangular log. Using a pastry cutter, slice each log into 8 pieces. Roll a slice into a ball, then shape it into a thin, flat disc (like a pancake). Try to keep the center of the disc thicker than the edges. (Once steamed, this keeps the bun from being too doughy on one side and too thin on the other.)

  7. Spoon a dollop of filling into the center of the disc. Pull the edges up around the filling and pinch together to form a bun. Place the bun on a square of parchment paper and cover with a towel. Continue this process with the rest of the dough until all of the buns are filled. Allow the buns to rest for 20 – 30 minutes.

  8. To cook, prepare the steamer basket. Working in batches, position filled buns (each still on its parchment square!) into the steamer, allowing room on all sides. (The cooked buns will be up to 50 percent larger.) I placed the buns seam-side down so they would have a smooth, round top.

  9. Steam the buns for 15 minutes, then remove the pan and basket from the heat. Let sit for 5 minutes before removing the lid. Remove the parchment paper from the bottom of the buns and serve immediately. To reheat heat buns (they will keep for a few days in the refrigerator), pop in the microwave for 30 seconds or re-steam.

For the filling:

  1. Combine the pork, cabbage, scallions, soy, sesame oil, and sherry in a large bowl. Set aside.

Chinese Boneless Spare Ribs
  • YIELD 4 to 8 servings
  • TIME About 2 hours, and at least 4 hours’ marinating
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
  • 4 scallions, white and pale green parts only, plus additional sliced scallion for garnish
  • ¾ cup hoisin sauce
  • ½ cup ketchup, or 4 tablespoons tomato paste or Chinese red bean paste (nan ru)
  • ¼ cup honey or light corn syrup, more to taste
  • ¼ cup soy sauce, more to taste
  •  cup Chinese rice wine or vodka
  • ¼ cup rice vinegar or cider vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon five-spice powder
  • 2 racks baby back or St. Louis-style pork spareribs, 5 to 10 pounds total (see note)
  • Cilantro leaves, for garnish
  1. In a food processor or blender, mince garlic and scallions. Add hoisin, ketchup, honey, soy sauce, rice wine or vodka, rice vinegar and five-spice powder. Process until well blended. Taste for sweetness; the mixture should be sweet like barbecue sauce, not candy. Adjust the taste with honey, soy sauce and vinegar.
  2. Set aside 1/3 cup marinade for basting. Transfer remaining marinade to a container or pan large enough to hold the ribs, or to large resealable plastic bags. Add ribs and turn until well coated. Refrigerate at least 4 hours, and up to 2 days, turning occasionally in the marinade.
  3. Heat oven to 300 degrees. Set up a rimmed baking sheet (or two) with an oven-safe wire rack that fits inside, the kind you’d use for cooling cookies. Line the bottoms of the pans with foil or nonstick baking mats. Place the racks inside the pans and place the empty pans on the bottom rack of the oven. Pour in hot water until it comes about halfway up the sides of the pan. (Do not skip the water: The steam helps cook the meat to the right tenderness.)
  4. When the oven is hot, remove the ribs from the marinade and place on the racks, meaty side up. Bake without basting, 1 hour for baby back ribs, 2 hours for St. Louis style ribs. Check the water level occasionally to make sure it hasn’t cooked off.
  5. Remove ribs from the oven and raise the oven temperature to 450 degrees. Pour off any water from the baking sheet and return the ribs to the racks. (Alternatively, you can finish the ribs on a medium-hot grill; see below.)
  6. Return ribs to the oven and roast (or grill), basting 2 or 3 times with reserved marinade, for 20 to 30 minutes (less time for baby backs, more for spareribs). Watch the ribs carefully to make sure that the edges don’t burn, and don’t baste them too close to the end; they should be dry and sticky, not wet on the surface.
  7. Use a big knife to cut between the bones, making sure that each rib has meat on both sides. Mound on a platter, sprinkle with scallions and cilantro, and serve immediately.
  • 1. If you’re using 2 slabs of full-size spareribs, double the amount of marinade.
  • 2. The water in the baking pans acts as a steam bath. It should not be high enough to touch the meat or the racks. You can use as little as 1/4 inch of water, but check the pan during the baking and top up with boiling water if it boils dry. Some recipes call for placing a separate pan of water on the bottom of the oven to create steam, but the process works much better when the steam source is close to the meat.
Honey Soy Chicken
Drumsticks With Coconut Rice
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Serves: 2
1 x 1 kg (approx.) Lilydale Free Range Bulk Chicken Drumsticks
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup Kecap Manis (Indonesian Sweet Soy Sauce)
2 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp sesame oil
2 clove garlic, crushed
4 tbsp sesame seeds, lightly toasted
1. Preheat oven to 200°C
2. To make the marinade, place honey, kecap manis, oyster sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil and garlic in a bowl, and
mix to combine
3. Add the chicken legs, toss to coat, cover and set aside for 15 minutes to marinate
4. Transfer chicken and marinade to a roasting tin, roast for 45 minutes, turning chicken every 15 minutes. Remove
from oven, sprinkle with sesame seeds
1.5 cups medium grain rice
400ml coconut cream
1.5 cups water
1 tsp salt
Steamed greens to serve
1. To make the coconut rice, place all the ingredients in a large saucepan. Bring to the boil, stirring occasionally.
2. Reduce heat, simmer covered on low for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat. Stand, covered for 10 minutes
3. Serve chicken with coconut rice and steamed greens
Red Braised Pork with Egg Noodles
Difficulty Easy
Category Pork
Prep:20 Mins
Cook:45 Mins

  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup chinese cooking wine (shaoxing)
  • 1/4 cup dark soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup light soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1kg pork shoulder, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 4cm cubes
  • 4cm piece ginger, peeled and sliced into matchsticks
  • 4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 brown cardamom pods, bruised
  • 350g fresh thin egg noodles
  • 2 small bok choy, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup coriander leaves
  • 2 long red chillies, thinly sliced
  1. Place the tomato paste, cooking wine, soy sauces and brown sugar in a bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside
  2. Select SAUTE/SEAR function and set the timer for 15 minutes. Press START and allow to heat for 3 minutes. Add oil then a third of the pork. Brown for 2-3 minutes on all sides, remove and repeat with remaining pork
  3. Add the ginger and garlic and cook, stirring for 20 seconds. Return the pork to the removable cooking bowl with any juices, the prepared sauce mix, spices and 1 cup of water. Stir to combine
  4. Select PRESSURE COOK and high pressure. Set timer for 30 minutes. Place lid on cooker and close the valve. Press START
  5. Once cooking time is complete open the valve to release all the steam before opening the lid
  6. Cook the egg noodles according to packet instructions and divide between 6 serving bowls topped with the bok choy. Divide the pork between bowls and ladle over the broth. Top with coriander leaves and chilli
Lucky Colors in China
Red — Happiness, Success and Good Fortune
  • Red represents fire and is the most popular color in China.
  • It is also the national color representing happiness, beauty, vitality, good luck, success and good fortune.Red is famously popular in relation to anything Chinese and is widely used during festivals and important events like weddings.
  • People wear red during weddings, festivals and other celebratory events. Red envelopes are stuffed with money and given as gifts during Chinese New Year.
Yellow — Royalty and Power of the Throne

During the Song Dynasty (960-1279), yellow glazed tiles were used to build imperial palaces. During Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1636-1911) Dynasties, emperors were dressed in yellow imperial robes. They rode in “yellow palace” carriages and traveled on “yellow paths”. Official flags were yellow.

Official seals were packaged in yellow fabric. Overlooking the Forbidden City from Beijing Jing Mountain, one can see a sea of yellow glazed tile roofs. Gilded copper urns and animals adorn many palaces.

  • Yellow — corresponding to earth — symbolizes royalty and is reserved for the emperor.
  • The first Emperor of China was known as the Yellow Emperor. China was often referred to as ‘Yellow Earth’, and its mother river is the Yellow River. This is the most important color from an ancient perspective.
Green — Money and wealth
  • Green is the color of wealth, fertility, regeneration, hope, harmony and growth. Green also represents pure and clean.
 Colors of Significance

In Chinese Five Elements Theory, a traditional philosophy about natural interactions used in fengshui etc., red represents ‘fire’, yellow ‘earth’, white ‘metal’, black ‘water’, and green (or blue) ‘wood’

Colors in Chinese Five Elements Theory

Chinese Five Elements Theory

  • Blue is usually seen in combination with green or black
  • Blue can represent wood and symbolizes spring and brings a positive meaning.
  • Blue stands for healing, trust and long life. Shades of green/blue are used to decorate homes for longevity and harmony.
  • Black corresponds to water and is considered to be a neutral color in Chinese culture and is the color of heaven, symbolizing the northern and western sky.
  • This color represents immortality, knowledge, stability and power.


  • Gold is a color of richness and nobility — similar to how its perceived in the West.
  • Combinations of gold and red are seen on special occasions and is a winning color combination for packaging consumer goods
Unlucky Colors
  • This is the color representing metal and is associated with death and mourning. The Chinese wear white at funerals.
Lucky or Neutral Colors with negative meanings
  • Green can be considered to be unlucky as it is associated with infidelity. A man wearing a green hat is said to have an unfaithful wife.
  • Black can be considered unlucky too given it’s association to the darkness and secrecy. The word ‘mafia’ translates to ‘black society’ in Chines
Chinese New Year Drinks

 Jade stone is considered invaluable in Chinese culture. It symbolizes the virtues of sincerity, loyalty, justice, wisdom and purity. 

  • 2 ounces white rum
  • 1/4 ounce green creme de menthe
  • 1/2 ounce Cointreau
  • 1/2 ounce lime juice

Shake everything up with ice and strain it into a martini glass.

  • 1/2 ounce Midori
  • 1/2 ounce blue Curacao
  • dash of Angostura bitters
  • 1/2 ounce lime juice
  • champagne

Put the Midori, Curacao, lime juice and Angostura bitters into a shaker and shake vigorously with ice until the shaker’s very frosty on the outside. Strain that into a chilled flute glass. Top it off with chilled champagne and garnish with a slice of lime.

  • 2 ounces Michter’s Bourbon
  • 1/2 ounce  tamarind syrup
  • 3/4 ounce  fresh ruby red grapefruit juice
  • 1/4 ounce  fresh lemon juice
  • 2 drops of poppy seed tincture
  • Poppy seeds

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice cubes. Pour in the bourbon, tamarind syrup, grapefruit juice and lemon juice and shake until chilled. Pour into a glass over ice and garnish with the poppy seeds and tincture.

  • 1 1/2 ounce gin
  • 1/2 ounce Kummel
  • 1/2 ounce green creme de menthe
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 4 dashes of orange bitters
Combine all the ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake thoroughly and strain the mixture into a chilled cocktail glass.
Kung Pao Mocktails & Cocktails

4 ingredients

  • 1 50-ounce bottle Tropicana trop50 raspberry acai
Baking & Spices
  • 1 1-liter bottle Williams-sonoma skinny key lime margarita mix
Beer, Wine & Liquor
  • 2 cups Rum, white
  • 2 cups Vodka
Chinese New Year Drinks

In China, 16 and 17-year-olds are allowed to drink alcohol as part of a meal. In some regions, every member of the family has to at least take a sip of niánjiǔ on Chinese New Year as it is believed to provide protection from bad luck.

White Wine

One of the most popular Chinese New Year drinks is baijiu or Chinese white wine. Baijiu has a clear color and is made of fermented sorghum – which is why it is also referred to as white sorghum wine. 

Because of its high alcohol content, the closest comparison to baijiu is vodka. It can be bought in glass or ceramic bottles and is commonly consumed using a shot glass.

Tusu Wine

Tusu wine was the most popular type of niánjiǔ in Ancient China. The wine is also referred to as suìjiǔ, as “suì” is a synonym of “nián.They later discovered that the drink was able to protect them from the plague. It’ is also called suìjiǔ ( 岁酒 ), “sui” . Tusu wine ingredients include cinnamon, Sichuan pepper, aconite, monkshood and other spices. 

Jiao Wine

This type of wine is essentially baijiu infused with flowers of Sichuan peppers and cypress tree leaves. Jiao represents peace, health, and longevity. It is also served during the Spring Festival as an offering to ancestors and consumed to give New Year blessings.

Traditional Chinese MedicineImage result for Traditional Chinese Medicine

Traditional Chinese medicine is a branch of traditional medicine in China. TCM is said to be based on Compendium of Materia Medica and Huangdi Neijing. The practice includes various forms of herbal medicine, acupuncture, cupping therapy, gua sha, massage, bonesetter, qigong, and dietary therapy.

Is Traditional Chinese Medicine Effective?
While popular in China and in many other countries as a primary or complementary health approach, its efficacy has not been investigated. However, existing research does suggest that many herbal remedies are effective to treat conditions such as constipation and fever
What does traditional Chinese medicine include?
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCMis a broad range of medicine practices sharing common concepts which have been developed in China and are based on a tradition of more than 2,000 years, including various forms of herbal medicineacupuncture, massage (tui na), exercise (qigong), and dietary therapy.
The five elements in Chinese herbal medicineThe TCM philosophy proposes that everything including organs of the body – is composed of the five elements: fire, earth, metal, water and wood
What are the benefits of Chinese medicine?
Like acupuncture, Chinese herbs can address unhealthy body patterns that manifest in a variety of symptoms and complaints. The aims of Chinese herbal therapy are to help you regain balance in your body and to strengthen your body’s resistance to disease. Chinese herbs may be used to: Decrease cold/flu symptoms.
Who uses traditional Chinese medicine?
Traditional Chinese medicine is used to address the following conditions:
  • Allergies 1
  • Anxiety.
  • Arthritis (e.g. rheumatoid arthritis)
  • Back pain.
  • Depression2
  • Diabetes.
  • Eczema, hives, acne, psoriasis, and other skin conditions.
  • Fertility.
Can I drink alcohol while taking Chinese herbs?
Alcohol, Acupuncture, and Chinese Herbal Medicine

In general, it is not recommended to consume alcohol prior to or immediately following acupuncture treatments. Acupuncture elicits an immune response that helps to increase blood flow to areas of the body that require healing.

What is Qi in Chinese medicine?
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), qi is the vital energy that circulates through the body at all times. Practitioners believe that a qi deficiency is linked to the spleen and that rest and eating certain foods can treat the imbalance.
Is Chinese medicine older than Ayurveda?
Traditional Indian Medicine Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) are the oldest systems of health care: the former mastering 5,000 years of documentations, the latter at least 3,00

What Chinese herbs are good for anxiety?
Several herbs have been employed to treat anxiety, such as Brahmi, California poppy, Gotu cola, Kava Ginkgo biloba, the oldest plant existing in the world for over 200 million years, is a famous Chinese herb employed frequently in the world to treat anxiety.
The Most Common TCM Techniques

Acupuncture: This strange and famous medical technique involves inserting needles at precise meridian points.

Fire cupping:This ancient practice isn’t just a Chinese tradition, it has been practiced for hundreds and thousands of years across Eurasia and North Africa. The Chinese style uses the acupuncture meridians. It is used to remove yang from the body, and it is appropriate for conditions such as bronchitis, heat stroke, and hot weather-related conditions.

Traditional herbology and medicines:In many ways, Chinese herbal medicine is similar to Western herbal medicine, though the emphasis is on promoting the yin-yang balance.

Massage: It seems like there are massage parlors everywhere, and there are various styles that are all thought to be good for the health, some of which are more appreciated by Chinese than foreigners.

Medicinal cuisine: The emphasis in this traditional method of meal preparation, special recipes, and way of eating is to promote the yin-yang balance.

Moxibustion: This is another surprising technique and is used to add Yang to the body. It is appropriate for women with birthing problems, older men, and cold weather-related health issues. The mugwort smoke is thought to have medicinal properties.

Qigong: Meditation and special exercise, such as qigong and tai chi also manipulates the qi balance and the body fluids in the body.

Chinese New Year Snacks

Rose Cookies

Image result for rose cookies chinese

Rose Cookies are a staple in many Chinese homes. They’re known by many other names, like Kuih Rose, Beehive Cookies, Kuih Loyang and Honeycomb cookies.

They’re made from a batter of rice flour, wheat flour, sugar and coconut milk. The Batter is loaded up into a special mold shaped like a rose and deep fried. The resulting cookie is light, non-greasy, crunchy and not too sweet.

Bak Kua

Image result for Bak Kwa

Bak Kua are barbequed, dried sweetmeats that are an absolute must have snack for the season. These dried sweetmeats are made by carefully smoking thin slices of meat over burning coals for several hours. 

Bak Kua is also called ‘Rou Gan’ and can be made from mutton, pork or beef. It’s pretty close to a dried beef jerky, except that it’s incredibly moist due to the glaze.

Bak Kwa (Chinese Pork Jerky)

Prep Time:45 minutes Cook Time:50 minutes Total Time:1 hour 35 minutes Course: Savory Snack Cuisine: Chinese Keyword: bak kwa, chinese pork jerky Servings: 15 C Author: Linda Ooi

  • 2 lbs ground pork with at least 20% fat (900g)
  • 2 tbsp Shao Hsing cooking wine
  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • ½ tsp ground pepper
  • ½ tsp five-spice powder
  • 2/3 cup sugar (145g)
  • Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well with a sturdy serving spoon for about 2 minutes. Mixture will turn gooey. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  • Prepare 5 to 6 sheets of parchment paper the size of a jelly roll pan (15.5in x 10.5in).
  • Spread a thin layer of meat mixture with a butter knife onto parchment paper. The meat layer should be about 2mm to 2.5mm thick. Leave an inch around the perimeter of paper clear of meat for easy handling.
  • Place a large piece of shrink wrap over the meat. Using a rolling pin, roll over meat to smoothen and even out the spread meat. Remove shrink wrap. Repeat until all meat is used up.
  • Transfer sheets of meat to jelly roll pans and bake in a 250°F (120°C) oven for 15 minutes.
  • The partially cooked meat should be nice and dry*. When it is cool enough to handle, cut each sheet of meat into 6 pieces.
  • Increase oven temperature to 425°F (220°C). Transfer meat and parchment paper to a broiler pan this time and grill for approximately 5 minutes. Meat burns easily at this stage. Adjust time accordingly.
  • Remove from oven. Flip slices of meat over with a pair of tongs. Return pan to the oven for another 5 minutes. Remove and cool completely on a wire rack.

Kuih Bangkit

 A good Kuih Bangkit will automatically melt in your mouth. It’s made with wheat and tapioca, sago or arrowroot flour with some sugar and pandan leaves.

These cookies are quite easy to prepare, and they’re often molded into five petaled flowers as this was the most common mold sold in the past. Kuih Bangkit can be quite sticky, so most people have a drink standing by to wash it down.

Kuih Bangkit (Tapioca Cookies)
Prep Time:1 hour
Cook Time:20 minutes
Total Time:1 hour 20 minutes
Course: Cookies
Cuisine: Malaysian
Servings: 55
  • 1 lb tapioca flour (450g)
  • 6 pandan leaves (rinsed and dried)
  • 2 egg yolk
  • ¾ cup sugar / castor sugar (165g)
  • 1 can coconut milk (14 oz/400ml)
  • A few drops of red food coloring (optional)
    • Place tapioca flour in a baking tray. Cut pandan leaves into 3 inch lengths and bury them in the tapioca flour. Place in a 200°F (93°C) oven for 1 hour. Remove and allow tapioca flour to cool. **
    • Sift cooked tapioca flour. You should get about 14 oz (396g) of cooked flour. Reserve ¼ cup (1 oz/28g) for dusting wooden molds.
    • Do not shake coconut milk in can. Open and scoop out about ¾ cup (180ml) coconut cream/thick coconut milk. Set aside.
    • Cream egg yolks and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add ⅓ of the cooked tapioca flour and ⅓ of the coconut cream. Mix with a spatula. Continue until all flour and coconut cream are used up.
    • Gently knead to form a soft dough. If dough appears to be too dry, add 1 to 2 additional tablespoons of coconut cream. Turn dough onto counter to knead if necessary. Dough should be soft but not sticky. Place dough back in the bowl and cover with a moist towel.
    • Place reserved cooked tapioca flour in a muslin/filter bag. Dust wooden kuih bangkit mold.
    • Pinch a little dough from the bowl and press into each of the wooden mold indentations. Trim off excess with a butter knife. Gently tap wooden mold on the counter to release molded cookies. Place on a parchment lined baking tray.
    • If you do not have wooden kuih bangkit mold, you can use small 1 inch cookie cutters. Lightly flour working surface and rolling pin with a little cooked tapioca flour. Gently roll dough out to ¼ inch thick. Dip cookie cutter in cooked tapioca flour and cut into shapes.
    • Bake cookies in a 325°F (163°C) oven for 20 to 25 minutes depending on the size of the cookies. Bottom of cookies should be lightly browned. Remove and allow cookies to cool completely.
  • Dot cookies with red food coloring if desired. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 month.

 Pineapple Tarts

Pineapples are considered very auspicious fruits for Chinese New Year. Therefore, eating cookies made with sweetened pineapple jam comes as no surprise. Pineapple tarts come in several forms, but it always consists of pineapple jam surrounded by a slightly salty pastry. The salt in the pastry actually serves to bring out the sweetness of the jam and the two go very well together.

PREP TIME 1 hour COOK TIME 1 hour 30 minutes TOTAL TIME 2 hours 30 minutes



  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, (350g)
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar or icing sugar or powdered sugar
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, (8 oz./ 1 cup/ 225 g)
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 egg yolk + 1/2 tablespoon condensed milk, lightly beaten for egg wash


  • 3 cans sliced pineapples, (20 oz. can or 2 fresh pineapples)
  • 10 tablespoons sugar, more or less to taste, (1/2 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon cloves, optional


  1. If you are using canned pineapple slices, drain the pineapple slices and then squeeze the extra water/juice with your hands. Blend the canned pineapples until they are mushy, about 10 seconds. If you use fresh pineapples, remove the skin, cut into pieces and blend for 10 seconds.
  2. Transfer the blended pineapple into a deep pan (non-stick preferably). Add sugar and cloves and stir well. Cook on medium to low heat until most liquid has evaporated, and the pineapple jam turns golden in color. Stirring constantly and continuously using a wooden spoon to avoid burning. Taste, and add more sugar as needed. Remove and discard the cloves and let cool in the fridge.
  3. Sieve the flour, cornstarch, salt and sugar in a big bowl or container. Soften the butter to room temperature. Combine the flour mixture, butter, and egg yolks together. Knead to form the dough. The dough is ready when it doesn’t stick to the hand. If the dough is too crumbly or dry, add a little bit more butter (about 1 tablespoon) until the dough is easy to work with.
  4. Divide the dough and pineapple jam (filling) each into 30 equal rounds. Flatten the pastry dough with your palms and put the pineapple filling in the middle and use the dough to cover the filling. Use your palms to round it up and then shape it into a roll about 1 1/2-inch long shape. Use a small paring knife to make criss-cross patterns on the tart and then brush it with the egg wash (see picture above) using a small pastry brush. Place the pineapple tarts on a tray lined with parchment paper, arrange the pineapple tarts so they are at least 1 inch apart of each other.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350F (180C) and bake for 20-25 minutes or until light brown.


For the egg wash, you can just use the egg yolk. However, adding condensed milk to the egg wash will make the surface of the pineapple tarts look more glossy and golden

Nian Gao

Nian Goa are also known as New Year cakes and they’re made from glutinous rice flour and brown sugar. The entire thing is steamed over boiling water until it becomes hard.Nian Gao on many altars this Chinese New Year as it’s a pretty standard offering to the Gods and to the ancestors.

Love Letters

Love Letters are often called Chinese crepes. These crumbly cookies can be rolled or folded into quarters. They earned their name from an ancient legend wherein a pair of forbidden lovers poured their hearts out via these cookies.

Crispy Love Letters (Egg Rolls) 鸡蛋卷 

Prep time 15 mins

Cook time120 mins

Total time2 hours 15 mins 

Recipe type: Snacks

Cuisine: Chinese

Serves: 4


  • 160g rice flour
  • 50g plain flour
  • 30g corn flour
  • 620ml thick coconut milk
  • 4 large eggs
  • 200g icing sugar


  1. Sift the 3 types of flour together in a mixing bowl. Add in thick coconut milk and mix well into a smooth flowing batter.
  2. Beat eggs and sugar together till the sugar dissolves. Mix into the flour batter from the above step and strain well.
  3. Pour approximately 1 tbsp of the batter onto the love letter mould maker. (If you are using the love letter maker for the first time, please spray some non-stick coating or apply some oil on the plates.) DO NOT eat the first batch of egg rolls that you have made. Subsequently, after adding the batter to the plates, close the lid and lock it and bake the egg roll for 1 minute. Open up the lid and cut off the excess batter around the circle using a small knife. Close the lid and continue baking for another 1 minute and 10 seconds. Roll up or fold up while they are still hot.

Notes The colour of the egg rolls will turn darker by itself after they are rolled up and left aside to cool. Hence, do not over-bake the batter in the maker.

What is kuih kapit?Kuih kapit or we call it kue semprong is very popular in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore. 

The recipe rundown

Taste: The kuih kapit has a nice aroma from coconut milk and hint of nutty from black sesame seeds. They have the perfect amount of sweetness
Texture: They are ultra crispy and stay crispy for weeks
Pros: The kuih kapit is thin and very crispy
Cons: It can be quite a labor-intensive project and you need to work quick and efficiently. You may also have to figure out how long to cook/bake each biscuit depending on the type of mould you use

Kuih Kapit / Kue Semprong (Love Letter Biscuit/Crispy Coconut Rolls)
  •  1 large egg 55-58 grams with a shell
  • 80 gr granulated sugar 6 1/3 Tbsp
  • 110 gr tapioca starch 1/2 cup + 6 Tbsp + 1/4 tsp
  • 3 gr rice flour about 1 tsp
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 200 ml coconut milk about 3/4 cup
  • 1 Tbsp black sesame seeds


  • 1/4 tsp pandan extract
  • 1/4 tsp ube extract

Recommended tools to bake kuih kapit (any of these will work)

  • Waffle cone maker
  • Krumkake Iron
  • Electric krumkake baker
  • Place the eggs and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Whisk until the sugar has dissolved. In a separate bowl, combine tapioca starch, rice flour, and salt. Whisk to mix. Pour the egg mixture in and add coconut milk and stir until you get a smooth batter. Add black sesame seeds and stir to combine
  • Optional step: Divide the batter into three portions. Add pandan extract on one and ube extract on the other


Preheat the waffle cone maker, krumkake iron or krumkake baker. I use waffle cone maker. Preheat over medium heat about 1 minute each side. Lower the heat to low. Spoon about 3/4 tsp or close to 1 Tablespoon of the batter on the waffle cone maker. Very gently close the top down so it won’t splatter. Cook for about 10 seconds on one side and then flip over and cook for another 10 seconds, then flip over again another 10 seconds, then flip again another 10 seconds. Total of 4 times. When you open it to check, it should be just lightly golden brown. If it’s still very pale and sticky, cook a few seconds longer and check again
  • This is just a reference though. You may have to do the flip more or less depending on the mould you use. Apparently, you don’t need to do this if you use an electric krumkake baker
  • Repeat with the rest of the batter and make sure you give the batter a stir each time before scooping

To make a roll:

  • I use a round long handle of a wooden spatula, about 1/2-inch in diameter, or you can use a pair of chopsticks, to roll up while the other hand is using a spatula to help to roll to push it forward while it’s still warm. Place on a cooling rack to cool down completely

To fold into a quarter:

  • Simply use a spatula to fold into half and then slightly flatten and fold again and flatten and lift it up from the maker. You can also use kitchen shears to trim off the extra crust on the outer edge if you want them to be neat-looking

How to store:

  • Let them cool down completely and they will be ultra crispy. Transfer to an air-tight container and they stay crispy for weeks
Baked Seeds

Eating baked seeds is a favorite pastime of most Chinese. Diaogua (吊瓜 / diào guā; hanging melon) seeds are known as the “king of seeds” due to its meat and taste. Other choices include seeds of pumpkins, watermelons, sponge gourds and cucumbers.

Chinese Five Spice Pumpkin Seeds
For the Pumpkin Seeds
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon Chinese Five Spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon curry powder
For the Pumpkin Seeds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, mix together the pumpkin seeds and olive oil. Then pour the spice mixture over it and stir again. Evenly spread pumpkin seeds on a baking sheet and transfer to oven. Cook until golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes.

Chinese-spiced seed mix

    • Prep:5 mins
    • Cook:12 mins
  • Easy
  • Serves 2
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 85g each sunflower and pumpkin seed


Heat oven to 150C/130C fan/gas

2. Lightly whisk egg white, then add Chinese five spice and salt.

Add sunflower and pumpkin seeds, and coat well. Spread out in a single layer on a lightly oiled baking sheet and bake for 12 mins. Cool before eating.

Sesame-Soy Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Total:45 mins Yield:1 cup

  • Seeds from 1 medium (10-pound) pumpkin (about 1 cup)
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame seed oil
  • Kosher or sea salt, to taste
  • Fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
  • Step 1Preheat the oven to 400°. Line a baking pan with parchment paper.
  • Step 2Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the seeds and boil for 10 minutes. Drain. Pat the pumpkin seeds dry on paper towels.
  • Step 3In a bowl, toss the pumpkin seeds with the vegetable oil, soy sauce, and sesame seed oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spread the coated seeds evenly on the lined baking pan. Roast for 20-25 minutes, turning the seeds every 10 minutes. Remove the seeds from the oven when they are crispy. Allow to cool to room temperature and serve.

Malt Candy

Before the Chinese New Year (大年 / dà nián; big year) officially starts, there’s the “little year” (小年 / xiǎo nián). It takes place on the 23rd of Lunar December and is the day of the Stove God. People must make malt candy on that day. It’s also known as Guandong candy (关东糖 / guān dōng táng).

Grains, peanuts and jujubes are mixed into squares of malt candy.

Chinese Strawberry Coated Candy

Adjust Servings:   

6 tbsp  Sugar
12 tbsp Rice Malt Syrup  
36  Strawberry


Insert skewer stick from the center part on each strawberry, put aside.


Heat up a non-stick pan then add Ingredient A. When the syrup mixture starts to melt, dip the strawberry in, make sure the syrup cover each surface of the strawberry evenly. Place the strawberry on a plate lightly coated with oil, put into the freezer to chill. Ready to serve.

Chinese Sesame Soft Candy

Alternative names芝麻软糖
PinyinChinese Sesame Soft Candy
TypeFresh, sweet, soft
Place of originChina
Region or stateChina
OtherCooking time: 20 Minutes

Corn starch 30g

Wheat flour 30 g

White sugar 80g

Maltose 120g

Water 150g plus 30g

Salad oil 20 g

Cooked white sesame seeds 50 g

Cooked peanuts 20 g

Add water to the flour several times, stirring the flour while adding water until it becomes a paste. Add sugar, water, and 10 grams of salad oil to a non-stick skillet. Cook the sugar to melt over medium heat until boiled.Add the the paste and stir while heating.Add maltose and the remaining salad oil.Continue to heat, do not stop, until the paste gradually becomes thickening and stirring can’t be continued.Turn off the heat; add peanuts, a small amount of cooked sesame seeds, mixing them evenly.Put it in oil paper covered with sesame seeds, sprinkle with cooked white sesame seeds on the surface, flatten the candy, and wait for it completely cooling down. And you can also put the candy in the refrigerator to speed up the cooling.Cut the chewy candy into long strips, cut the strips into cubes, then stick the cooked white sesame seeds all over the cubes, and then pack it.

Malt melon gourd 糖瓜 (táng guā)

In other parts of China, such as Beijing, the malt is shaped into melons. It is an offering to the Stove God, but also a snack during the Spring Festival.

Candied figures 捏糖人 (niē táng rén)

Fruit Platter

 create a platter full of blessings, here are some you can include:

  • Kumquats, tangerines, oranges: Because of the golden color, these fruits represent wealth and prosperity. 桔 (jú) also looks similar to 吉 (jí), which means luck and auspiciousness.
  • Peaches: They are said to be the fruit of the gods. They represent longevity and health.
  • Grapes: Grapes come in bunches. They represent bountiful harvests.
  • Pomegranates: This fruit represents a large family, the ultimate blessing for most Chinese. In Chinese culture, you must respect your parents. And the most important thing you must do to show respect is passing down the family name.

Maltose-Glazed Chinese Spareribs

Chinese Ribs are one of the most popular dishes in restaurants and take-out orders.  But there’s not one standard recipe for Chinese Ribs.  Today we venture into the kitchen and make Maltose-Glazed  Chinese Spareribs using a unique ingredient and two-step cooking process for ribs that are tenderly moist with a sweet, tangy glaze.Course banquet, Main Course Cuisine Chinese Keyword chinese, chinese banquet, ribs Prep Time 10 minutes Cook Time 30 minutes boiling the ribs 1 hour 20 minutes Total Time 40 minutes Servings 4 servings

For the Ribs-
  • 1 2 1/2 lb. rack of baby back pork ribs
  • 1 cup Shaoshing Chinese rice wine
  • 2 tsp. Szechuan peppercorns
  • 6 thick slices of fresh ginger
  • 2 tsp. toasted sesame seeds for garnish
  • 1 tbsp. sliced green onions for garnish
For the Maltose Glaze-
  • 6 tbsp. hoisin sauce
  • 4 tbsp. ketchup
  • 4 tbsp. Shaoshing Chinese rice wine
  • 4 tbsp. maltose substitute honey
  • 4 green onions, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp. Sambal Oelek substitute Chinese chili paste
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp. minced fresh ginger
Simmer the Ribs-
  1. Trim any fat off the ribs and remove the silver skin from the underside of the rack. Place the ribs in a wide stockpot and cover with water and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to a simmer and skim any foam off using a small wire strainer. Add the Shaoshing rice wime, Szechuan peppercorns, and ginger and turn the heat down to a simmer and cover the stockpot. Simmer the ribs for 90 minutes or until a knife inserts easy into the meat.
Make the Sauce, Glaze the Ribs and Roast-
  1. Preheat the oven to 375. In a small saucepan, add the hoisin sauce, ketchup, Shaoshing rice wine, maltose, brown sugar, garlic and sambal oelek. Stir the sauce to combine the ingredients and turn off the heat.
  2. Place the rack of ribs on a cookie rack over a baking sheet, and brush with some of the glaze. Roast the ribs in the oven for 15 minutes, then brush again with some of the glaze. Roast the ribs for 15 more minutes until the glaze is thick, caramelized and bubbling.
  3. Take the rack of ribs out of the oven and brush with more glaze. the rack with more glaze then cut the ribs between the bones. Garnish the ribs with toasted sesame seeds and green onions. Serve extra glaze on the side for dipping the ribs.

Chinese BBQ Pork Lo Mein

One of our favorite Asian noodle dishes is Lo Mein. Fresh Chinese egg noodles are boiled for just a few minutes then added to sauce with vegetables and meat or seafood. Course Main Course Cuisine Chinese Prep Time 10 minutes Cook Time 8 minutes Total Time 18 minutes Servings 2 Author David Ross

  • 12 oz. fresh Chinese egg noodles
  • 3 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. oyster sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp. Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
  • 1 1/2 tsp. honey
  • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp. sesame oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp. grated ginger
  • 3 green onions, cut in 1″ lengths
  • 6 shiitake mushrooms, stem cut off, sliced
  • 8 oz. Chinese BBQ pork, cut in strips
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh bean sprouts
  1. Bring a pot of salted water to the boil. Add the noodles and cook for 2-3 minutes. Drain the noodles and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, oyster sauce, Chinese rice wine and honey.
  3. Heat a wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat and add the vegetable oil and sesame oil. Add the garlic and ginger and quickly stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add the green onions and mushrooms and stir-fry for another 1 minute. Add the Chinese BBQ pork and the noodles and stir-fry another 1 minute. Add the sauce and the bean sprouts and toss so to coat the noodles. Serve hot.

Dragons Beard

Dragon’s Beard
  • ¾ cup water
  • 2 ½ cups sugar
  • ¼ cup (2-ounces) corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • Purple food coloring, as needed
  • Cornstarch, as needed
Special Equipment
  • Doughnut-shaped silicone mold
  • Candy Thermometer

Dragon’s Beard
  1. In a pot, add the water, sugar, corn syrup, vinegar, and food coloring; mix together.
  2. Heat to 250 degrees and bring to a boil.
  3. In the doughnut-shaped silicone mold, pour the mixture into each mold, and cool in the refrigerator, about 1 hour.
  4. Once chilled, remove each ring from the mold.
  5. Spread the cornstarch out on a baking sheet.
  6. Place the “doughnuts” on the prepared cornstarch, and coat with cornstarch.
  7. With your hands, wrap the ring around and around to make a larger, wider ring. Keep wrapping over and over while spreading out the ring so it becomes stringy. Pull apart and spread it out with both hands so it forms thin, airy strings.
  8. Once it becomes stringy, add it on top of your favorite jelly, pudding, or ice cream. This time we used almond jelly.
  9. Serve, and enjoy!

Candied haw 冰糖葫芦 (bīng táng hú lú)

Hawthorn ball kebabs are drizzled and coated with malt syrup. The balls can be substituted or added to with red bean paste, walnuts, grapes, begonia fruit and even Chinese yams.Candied haw is like a magic pill. According to folktales, the favorite concubine of a Song Dynasty emperor fell sick. None of the imperial doctors knew what to do. The Emperor issued a public notice for all doctors in the country to come and try.In the past, some would carry around a large wooden box or bamboo basket. One side would have many kebabs stuck in it. 

 Bing Tanghulu Candied Hawthorn Stick Recipe  冰糖葫蘆Prep time:    Cook time: 

30  hawthorns or strawberries
10 skewers4 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup water
1/3 cup corn syrup or golden syrup


Prepare 2 baking sheets covered with parchment paper or with silicone mat.
 If using strawberries use a sharp paring knife to first hull the leafy bits.Wash fruit and dry thoroughly until completely dry.  Skewer three fruits on each skewer, taking care not to twist them or move them too much so as not to loosen the fruit’s grip on the skewer.  If loosened the fruit will swing around when being dipped in caramel, making it hard to evenly coat all sides.
In a medium saucepan heat the sugar and water.  Stir until the sugar dissolves and then add the corn syrup.  Bring to a boil, do not stir anymore.  Keep at a low boil, swirling the pot occasionally, until it reaches 340°F (171°C) and a golden amber color,  about 15-20 mins.  Remove from heat.  Angle your pan so that the caramel is more accessible and then dip your skewered fruit quickly in and out of the caramel, twisting to get the coating to completely cover the fruit.  Be careful of touching the caramel, it’s hot!  Place dipped skewers onto parchment paper to cool.  If your caramel cools too much while working just reheat over low heat to proper temperature, remove from heat and continue.
Eat immediately for tastiest results.  Can keep at room temp for around 6 hours.
Tip:  You can use other kinds of fruits too:  cranberries, orange segments (membranes on), grapes, cherry tomatoes,  etc.

Peanut candy 花生糖 (huā shēng táng)

Peanut candy is another simple yet ancient snack. The basic ingredients are only peanuts and syrup


Course: Dessert Cuisine: Chinese Keyword: Candy, Nuts Prep: 10 minutes Cook: 15 minutes Total: 25

Servings: 10

Course: DessertCuisine: ChineseKeyword: Candy, Nuts Servings: 10 servings Calories: 283kcal Author: Wei @ Red House Spice

  • 150 g peanuts, skinless 1 cup
  • 150 g white or black sesame seeds 1 cup
  • 30 g butter 2 tbsp
  • 250 g sugar 1 ¼ cups
  • Break peanuts into halves with your hands. Toast in a frying pan over a low heat until they become lightly brown. Coarsely chop them into smaller pieces (or crush them with a rolling pin). 
  • Toast sesame seeds the same way.
  • In a non-stick pan over a low heat, melt butter then add sugar. Stir from time to time. Cook until it turns into a brown, smooth and sticky consistency (see note 1).
  • Pour in peanuts and sesame seeds. Stir quickly until well combined. Turn off the heat.
  • Put the mixture onto a sheet of baking paper placed over a chopping board. Put another sheet over (See note 2). Press the mixture into a flat block with the rolling pin. Cut the block into desired size and shape (See note 3).
  • When completely cool, store brittle in an airtight container placed in a dry, dark place. Consume with 1 month.

1. Do not overcook the sugar, otherwise you are likely to get a burnt flavour. It takes me about 10 minutes but the cooking time may vary. 2. As you need to move very fast when the mixture is ready, I suggest you have the baking paper ready before you start cooking the sugar.3. The melted sugar hardens very quickly when the temperature drops. This is why you need to cut the block into pieces as soon as possible.4. Peanuts and sesame seeds are classic choices for Chinese brittle. Please feel free to choose your preferred ingredients. Walnuts, cashew, hazelnuts are great too. Just make sure you toast and chop them before mixing with the sugar. 

Popped Rice Puffed rice and popped rice, are types of puffed grain made from rice commonly eaten in the traditional cuisines of Southeast Asia, East Asia, and South Asia.On the Little Year, people will make the candy with popped rice and malt. It represents a year of wealth and prosperity, and sweet days. 

Sesame Ginger Puffed Rice Crunch

Sesame Ginger Puffed Rice Crunch 

Prep time5 mins

Cook time15 mins

Total time20 mins

 Crunchy, sweet puffed rice treats with sesame seeds and candied ginger

Serves: varies


  • 2 c. Whole Grain Puffed Rice Cereal or Crispy Brown Rice Cereal
  • ¼ c. Toasted Sesame Seeds
  • 2 tsp. Minced Candied Ginger
  • 1 T. Butter
  • ⅓ c. Brown Rice Syrup


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a large cookie sheet with foil and spray foil with non-stick spray.
  2. Place cereal and sesame seeds in a mixing bowl and set aside.
  3. In a small pot, add butter, brown rice syrup and ginger. Bring to a boil. Let bubble 30 to 45 seconds.
  4. Pour over cereal and sesame seeds. Mix well. Scoop mixture out onto the prepared cookie sheet. Wet hands with cool water and pat the mixture down flat.
  5. Bake for 13-15 minutes, until the top is lightly browned. It will still be soft. Remove from oven and let cool and harden completely. Break into pieces. Store in an airtight container.

Ginger Candy糖姜片 (táng jiāng piàn)

Originating from Changsha, ginger candy has been around since the Ming Dynasty.

They are created with fresh garlic, white sugar, salt and natural seasoning. After mixing, the candy is put under the sun until it’s entirely dry. 

Mahua (麻花) or Fried Dough Twist is a Chinese dough twist that is fried in peanut oil. It has a shiny and golden look. It is prepared in various ways with different flavors, which range from sweet to spicy, and usually has a dense and crisp texture. The origin of Mahua can be traced back to thousands of years ago.

ingredients:Sweetened Dough Twists

 4 1/2 cups (500 g) flour, sifted
 5 tbsp brown sugar
 2 eggs
 10 1/2 oz (300 ml)  vegetable oil


1. Mix the flour with 9 oz (250 ml) of water to make a dough.

2. Dissolve the sugar in a little water. Beat the eggs and mix with the sugar. Stir into dough. Knead the batter until smooth and elastic. Turn onto greased surface and roll into a long roll and cut into 10 round pieces. Roll each piece into a small strip. Fold each strip double and twist into an yarn-like stick.

3. Heat the oil in a wok to about 230o(110o). Deep-fry the dough twists slowly until dark brown and crisp. Remove, drain well, and serve.

Ox Tongue Pastry牛舌饼 (niú shé bǐng)

This particular pastry is shaped like an ox’s tongue. Dough is rolled into long flat strips and smeared with sauce and sesame seeds before baking.

Yilan ox tongue pastry 宜兰牛舌饼 (yí lán niú shé bǐng)

The dough is mixed with honey and sugar, giving it a very sweet taste. Some pastry makers also add in milk and cream.

Lukang ox tongue pastry 鹿港牛舌饼 (lù gǎng niú shé bǐng)

After wrapping in the malt, the balls are flattened into small eggs. They can then be pan-fried or baked.

Persimmon Cakes柿饼 (shì bǐng)

Persimmon Cake (Shi Zi Bing) is a well-known local snack in Xi’an. It can be found everywhere in the city especially in Moslem Street. It is also a popular dessert listed on the menu of many local restaurants. According to traditional Chinese medicine, eating it can help relieve thirst, strengthen the spleen and reduce phlegm.


The ingredients are very simple, including some fresh persimmons, wheat flour, white sugar, and red bean paste

Wash the persimmons, strip the skin, and mash them into pulp. Please note that persimmon itself is sweet, but not that heavy, so you may add 1-2 tablespoons of white sugar into the pulp if you have a particular fondness for sweets

Add small quantities of wheat flour into the pulp while stirring with a chopstick until it feels thick. Stir by hand to form a paste, smooth it, and leave in the basin to ferment.

Take out the flour paste and place on the board. Roll into a stick, and cut the flour stick into small pieces. Roll them into small thick cakes with a rolling pin.

Put some red bean paste in the center of each thick cake. Fold and pinch the cake from the outside. Firmly press to flatten it into a thick cake again.

Place a pan over medium heat until hot. Brush a thin layer of oil in the pan, and place the cakes in the pan. Turn over after 2-3 minutes when you smell the fragrance and the bottom of the cakes turn golden yellow. Cook the other side for another 2-3 minutes, until they are nicely browned and cooked through.

Turn off the heat, remove the cooked cakes from the pan, and serve on a plate.