More Chinese New Year Recipes

Asian Steamed Cod

The Chinese word for fish sounds like the word for abundance or surplus. Whole fish is traditionally served at the New Year’s Eve dinner with the hope the family will have more than they need in the coming year. Here, fish fillets sub for whole fish in an easy-to-prepare steamed dish.

4 cod fillets

3 TBS soy sauce

3 TBS rice vinegar

1 TBS grated fresh ginger

Salt and pepper, to taste

2 scallions, sliced

In a large skillet, combine the soy sauce, rice vinegar and ginger. Add cod. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil; then reduce heat to simmer. Cover and simmer 8 to 10 minutes or until cod is cooked through. Garnish with scallions. Serves 4.

Gary: Cod is a lighter, milder fish and adds no strong flavors due to the small amounts of ingredients and the steaming process. Look for a dry Riesling from Alsace, Germany or Australia, Pinot Gris from Oregon or Alsace, an Italian Pinot Grigio with richness and texture, a Viognier or Viognier-based blend (Rhône whites) or an unoaked Chardonnay to pair with this dish. Medium-bodied and crisp will be the style desired to enhance the fish without overpowering its delicacy.

Chinese Noodle Soup

A long life is wished for those who eat noodles or long leafy greens on New Year’s Eve.

8 cups chicken broth

1/4 cup soy sauce

2 tsp sesame oil

4 cups leafy greens, such as baby bok choy or spinach

Salt and pepper, to taste

Minced cilantro, for garnish

1/2 lb Chinese egg noodles, cooked according to package directions

In a large saucepot, bring the stock to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium. Add soy sauce, sesame oil, greens, salt and pepper. Cook until greens wilt. Divide the noodles among 4 – 6 bowls. Ladle soup over noodles. Garnish with cilantro.  Serves 4 – 6.

Gary: The elegance of this dish and the hint of soy would lead to using the same wines as we would pair with the steamed cod. Just continue on with the same wine and enjoy the differences in the entrées, or pick two different selections from the same wine style and enjoy a change of pace. If the soup is served between the cod and chicken entrées, it can be a chance for the palate to relax between two main courses. If served before the cod, the wines can follow the entrées from light to full in style.

Chicken Velvet

Traditionally a whole chicken is served on New Year’s Eve to denote prosperity, wholeness and joy in the New Year. Roast a chicken for your Chinese New Year’s celebration and serve this easy-to-prepare dish on a busy weekday.

4 chicken fillets, cut into strips

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup cornstarch

2 TBS sugar

12 dried shiitake mushrooms

3 cups chicken broth

3 cups cooked jasmine rice

In a small bowl, soak mushrooms for 30 minutes in enough water to cover. Scoop mushrooms from water with a slotted spoon, drain and pat dry. Reserve 1/2 cup of the mushroom water, pouring water through a sieve to remove any grit. Using a sharp knife or kitchen scissors, chop mushrooms.

Place chicken in a large skillet. Pour soy sauce over chicken, tossing to coat. In a small bowl, mix cornstarch with sugar and sprinkle on chicken, tossing to coat. Add mushrooms, reserved 1/2 cup mushroom water and broth. Bring to boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 20 minutes. Serve over rice. Serves 4.

Gary: With the addition of mushrooms this dish can use a richer white that is unoaked or has seen moderate oak contact to handle the earthiness of the mushrooms. Look for a lightly oaked Sauvignon Blanc, a white blend that is dry and crisp or a balanced Chardonnay that has both fruit and oak. A dry Rosé would be lovely with this dish as would be a Rosé sparkler. Chicken is flexible enough to pair with a light, supple red, such as Spanish Garnacha, French Grenache, Pinot Noir, Gamay or Tempranillo or a value red with supple flavors and moderate extract.


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