This Sunday, February 10th, the Chinese Year of the Black Snake kicks off. Sounds ominous, doesn’t it? According to the Chinese Zodiac, this year will bring a lot of change, so I’d like to amass as much good luck as I can get. According to superstition, these five lucky foods should give me a running start. Note: I have no first-hand knowledge of Chinese New Year traditions and this post is the result of research. So if I’ve gotten a detail wrong, please forgive me and let me know in the comments!
5 Lucky Foods for the Chinese New Year
1. Oranges & Tangerines – Lucky because the Chinese character for “orange” and “good fortune” look similar, as do the characters for “tangerine” and “gold.” It’s good fortune by association.
2. Noodles – Uncut noodles symbolize a long life, so resist the urge to cut them into bite sized portions and slurp’em up.
3. Whole chicken – And I do mean whole. Including the head and feet symbolizes family unity, prosperity and togetherness.
4. Pomegranates – Symbolizing fertility, pomegranantes also have the advantage of being red – a color that brings happiness and repels evil spirits. With all those antioxidants, this superfood might just live up to the hype!
5. Buddha’s Delight – For at least half of the Chinese New Year’s 15 days, many Chinese eat a vegetarian diet to gain a long life. Buddha’s Delight is a dish often served on the first day of the new year. The ingredients list is long and packed with hard-to-find edibles (when’s the last time you saw black moss in a supermarket?), but even paired down, it’s delicious and healthy.
Here’s how I’ll be cooking Buddha’s Delight on Sunday Night:
- 1 Tb vegetable oil
- 1 onion, sliced
- 2 carrots, cut into matchstick-sized pieces
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2 tsp minced fresh ginger
- 1 pound tofu or Seitan, chopped bite sized
- 4 oz oyster mushrooms, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 head Napa Cabbage, chopped
- 1 can bamboo shoots, rinced and drained
- 1 Yb low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tsp dark sesame oil
- 1 1/2 tsp rice vinegar
- Green onions
- *Optional hard-to-find ingredients: black moss (wealth), lotus seeds (fertility), tiger lily buds, jujubes, Chinese cabbage, and cloud ears.
This is a stirfry, so everything goes in – but, I like to throw the oil, onion, carrots, garlic and ginger in first until they’re fragrant. Then add the tofu and mushrooms, followed by the broccoli, cabbage and bamboo shoots. Once everything is cooked (but still crisp – you don’t want to overcook vegetables in a stirfry), toss in the soy sauce, sesame oil and rice vinegar. Garnish with chopped green onions.
Serve with oranges for dessert!
What’s your lucky food of choice? Tell me in the comments and don’t forget to join the link party that is WanderFood Wednesday!
Image courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons