Home' Advocate Communications : Fiordland Advocate 18 February 2010 Contents WHAT'S COOKING
Page 10 | 18 February, 2010
Chinese New Year -- the Year of
The Tiger -- began on February
14th (also Valentine's Day). Many
of drama, intensity, change and
The Chinese calendar begins on the second new moon after the
northern hemisphere winter begins. It is divided into 12-year cycles with
each year represented by different animals. The rat, ox, tiger, rabbit,
dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and boar impose
their characteristics on their allocated years.
Some of the world's greatest wartime strategists and leaders were born
in the Year of the Tiger, including Dwight D Eisenhower and Ho Chi Minh.
Other 'cats' of note include Queen Elizabeth II, Karl Marx and Marco
Food plays an important role during Chinese New Year celebrations.
Sweetmeats, cakes or cookies are often exchanged as gifts. Serving a
whole chicken symbolises family togetherness.
Both clams and spring rolls symbolise wealth: clams because of their
resemblance to bouillon, and spring rolls because their shape is similar
to gold bars. Noodles represent a long life and superstition says that it's
bad luck to cut them.
So here's to your good health and prosperity during the Year of the
And you don't have to be Chinese to enjoy the following recipes.
Great gifts for the Chinese New
Year. If you don't have time to
wrap the filling, the date combo
makes delicious truffles -- just roll
into balls and dust with icing sugar
-- or dip into melted chocolate.
Finely chop the dates -- this can
be done in the food processor.
Finely chop the walnuts. Combine
together with the five-spice and
enough lemon juice to bind.
Roll the mixture into 10-14 balls
about the size of walnuts.
The size will be influenced by the
size of the wrappers.
If using spring roll
wrappers, trim a little from
1 edge to make them
smaller. Place the date
mixture in the middle.
Bring the pastry together
over the filling to make a 'bag'.
Tie with the chives.
Heat enough oil for deep frying in
a deep, narrow saucepan. When a
faint haze rises, deep-fry the bags
one at a time, until golden.
Drain on paper towels.
Remove the chives.
Dust with icing sugar before
Great served as a nibble with
coffee or with custard as a
dessert. Makes 10-14.
¼ cup sliced dried shiitake mushrooms
½ cup hot water
297g pack firm tofu
1 tablespoon each: dark soy sauce, sesame oil
2 large carrots
½ cup sliced water chestnuts, drained and chopped
225g can sliced bamboo shoots, drained and chopped
125g snow peas, sliced
1½ cups finely shredded cabbage
3cm knob root ginger, finely grated
Sauce: 4 tablespoons reserved mushroom soaking liquid
1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine
1 teaspoon sugar
Other: 2 tablespoons canola oil
salt and pepper to taste
Soak the mushrooms in the hot water for 30 minutes to soften. Drain
through a sieve squeezing out any excess water.
Reserve the soaking liquid.
Meanwhile, drain the tofu and cut into 3cm cubes. Place in a bowl.
Marinate in the combined soy sauce and sesame oil.
Peel the carrots, halve and julienne. String the snow peas and cut in
Arrange the remaining vegetables and ginger ready for stir-frying.
To make the sauce, combine the reserved soaking liquid with the
Chinese rice wine and sugar. Set aside.
Heat the wok over medium-high heat. Add the canola oil. When hot,
stir-fry the carrots for 1 minute. Add the dried mushrooms. Stir-fry for 30
seconds then add the water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, snow peas and
ginger. Stir in the shredded cabbage and the tofu and marinade.
Add the sauce ingredients and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, cover,
and simmer for 3 minutes. Season.
Serve with rice or noodles.
1 cup chopped mung bean sprouts
2 spring onions, thinly sliced
1 small green pepper (capsicum),
1 large clove garlic, crushed
3cm knob root ginger, finely grated
1 small carrot, julienned
2-3 tablespoons peanut oil
8-10 sheets filo pastry
Combine the sprouts with onions,
pepper, garlic, ginger and carrot in
Toss with about 1 tablespoon
Place a sheet of filo on a flat
surface and brush with peanut
oil. Fold one end over to meet
the other. Place about of the
mixture at one end of the filo,
leaving a 3cm free edge either
side. Form the vegetables into
a cylinder shape. Fold the sides
of the filo over the vegetables
and roll up like a mini spring roll.
Repeat with the remaining filo and
Preheat the oven to 190°C. Place
the rolls on an oiled baking tray.
Brush well with peanut oil.
Bake for 10-15 minutes.
Great served as finger food with a
dip of sweet chilli sauce.
Mini filo spring rolls
1kg (littleneck) clams
2 tablespoons each: canola oil,
finely grated root ginger
1 tablespoon crushed garlic
¼ cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons each: black bean
sauce, rice cooking wine
1 spring onion, thinly sliced
Drain the clams in a colander.
Heat a flat-bottomed wok or frying
pan over high heat. Add the oil,
the ginger and garlic. Stir-fry for
30 seconds or until fragrant. Add
the stock and black bean sauce.
Simmer for 1 minute.
Add the rice wine and clams.
Simmer -- stirring -- for 2-3
Garnish with the spring onion.
Serve immediately with rice.
Serves 4 as part of a Chinese-
Stir-fried clams in black bean sauce
1½ cup pitted dates
½ cup walnuts
¼- ½ teaspoon Chinese five-spice
powder, to taste
1-2 teaspoons lemon juice
10-14 spring roll wrappers or
chives for tying
canola oil for deep frying
icing sugar for dusting
Spring rolls are usually prepared with wonton wrappers then deep-fried. This baked version uses filo pastry.
Omega Littleneck Clams are available in 1kg vacuum packs from the chiller cabinets of many supermarkets.
This vegetarian dish is traditionally served on New Year's Day.
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