Chinese New Year recipes

It’s the year of the (under)dog.

Doggone delicious: Celebrate the Chinese New Year 4716 (2018) — the Year of the Dog — with these festive dishes.

By Donna Zitter Bordelon

This Friday, Feb. 16, is Chinese New Year 4716 (2018) — the Year of the Dog. With green as this Chinese New Year’s color and the dog being the 11th animal of the Chinese zodiac, was it destiny or coincidence that the Eagles wear green and a certain quarterback is №11 and that the Eagles clinched the Super Bowl going from underdog to top dog? Maybe fate and destiny played a part. Then again, maybe the Eagles were just better than the Patriots. Celebrate the New Year with the following imperial dish.

SHANGHAI LION’S HEAD

Meatballs:

1 lb. ground pork

½ cup sliced water chestnuts, chopped fine

1½ tsp. fresh ginger root, minced

2 green onions, white part only, minced

2 Tbsp. Soy sauce

1 Tbsp. (cooking) Sherry

½ tsp. salt

½ tsp. sugar

1 Tbsp. cornstarch

2 eggs, lightly beaten

2 Tbsp. canola oil

2 lbs. napa cabbage, bok choy, or half and half

Sauce:

2 Tbsp. soy sauce

½ tsp. Sugar

1 can chicken broth (14 oz.)

Blend together:

1½ Tbsp. cornstarch

3 Tbsp. Water

In a bowl, combine all meatball ingredients except the oil. Stir and mix well.

Divide mixture into 8 meatballs. (Mixture will be sticky.)

In a large skillet on medium high heat, add the oil and swirl to coat pan. Place the meatballs in a single layer in the bottom of the pan; don’t overcrowd.

Decrease the heat to medium and cook the meatballs, turning gently to brown all sides (they don’t have to be fully cooked here), about 6 minutes.

Remove meatballs carefully with a slotted spoon and transfer to a Dutch oven or large stockpot.

Mix together the soy sauce and sugar. Add them, along with the chicken broth, to the Dutch oven.

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat. Cover and simmer 30 minutes.

While meatballs cook, core the napa cabbage/bok choy.

Cut napa cabbage/bok choy white, heavy stalks into 2-inch squares. Cut leafy tops in half.

Place napa cabbage/bok choy gently over the meatballs. Cover and simmer about 8–10 minutes until just tender, so as not to overcook the greens.

Use a slotted spoon and transfer the greens to a serving plate. Arrange the meatballs in the center with the greens surrounding them, as the lion’s mane.

Slowly add the blended cornstarch and water to the Dutch oven, stirring constantly, until mixture slightly thickens.

Pour sauce over meatballs and cabbage.

Serve with rice or noodles.

Here’s a spicy, Chinese salad to accompany the Lion’s Head.

BANG BANG SALAD

1 Tbsp. sesame seed

2 Tbsp. white vinegar

2 tsp. sugar

1 tsp. fresh ginger root, minced

4 tsp. soy sauce

1 cup radishes, cut julienne

1 cup cucumbers, cut julienne

4 cups iceberg lettuce, shredded

2 Tbsp. fresh cilantro or parsley, minced

Into a small jar with a well-fitted lid, mix the sesame seeds, vinegar, sugar, ginger and soy sauce. Shake jar well until sugar dissolves.

In a bowl, combine radishes, cucumber and 3 tablespoons of the dressing.

Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

In a large bowl, toss the lettuce with the cilantro/parsley.

Add the radish mixture and pour the remaining dressing over the lettuce.

Toss to combine.

Dress up your New Year platters with decorative scallion curls.

SCALLION CURLS

6 scallions

Cold water

10 ice cubes

Remove the white bulb part of the scallion, just below where the dark green leaves are joined together.

Trim the remaining green tops, still joined together, into 3-inch lengths.

Using sharp kitchen shears, cut each section of the green tops lengthwise into very thin strips down to where the green tops join together, keeping the end piece intact.

Fill a large bowl about one-half full with cold water. Add the trimmed green scallions along with the ice cubes.

Refrigerate about 2 to 3 hours until scallions curl.

Remove, pat dry, and use for a fancy garnish.

Have an auspicious Valentine’s Day!

Eat well live long, enjoy!

(Ques­tions or tips can be sent to Donna Zit­ter Bor­de­lon at WhatscookinNEPhilly@gmail.com or in care of the Times, 2 Executive Campus, Suite 400, Cherry Hill, NJ 08002)

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