Chinese New Year Customs 2015 + Long-life Noodles
by Katie Chin, Tastemaker in Residence
Gung Hay Fat Choy!! Happy Chinese New Year!
Chinese New Year is February 19th and it is the Year of the Sheep. Chinese New Year is a very special holiday as everything you eat on this day and everything you do determines how your entire year will unfold. Chinese people eat things like Long Life Noodles to symbolize longevity (the longer the noodle the longer the life!) or a whole steamed fish to symbolize abundance.
Here are some other Chinese New Year traditions and customs to ensure luck, prosperity, good health and wealth in the coming year:
- Distribute red envelopes (lai see) to children and the unmarried for joy and luck in the coming year
- Don’t use foul language or bad words on Chinese New Year’s Day or they will follow you throughout the year
- Don’t sweep on Chinese New Year’s Day or you’ll sweep out all your good luck
- Don’t wash your hair because you will wash away your good luck for the year
- Greet your friends with oranges or tangerines during the New Year to ensure that your friendships remain intact
- Don’t use scissors or knives on Chinese New Year’s Day or you’ll cut out all your good luck
- Step into new shoes on New Year’s morning to start your year off on the right foot (my personal favorite)
Long Life Noodles
8 oz (1/2 box) spaghetti or linguine
12 oz boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces
1 tsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp white pepper
3 Tbsp vegetable or canola oil, divided
1 garlic clove, minced
3/4 cup thinly sliced red bell pepper
1/2 cup bean sprouts
3/4 cup snow peas, blanched and thinly sliced
1/2 cup carrots, julienned
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tsp oyster sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/8 tsp sugar
- Prepare noodles according to package directions. Rinse, drain and set aside.
- Toss the chicken pieces with the cornstarch, salt and white pepper. Cover and refrigerate for 10 minutes.
- Heat a wok or large skillet over medium high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil and swirl to coat. Add garlic and stir-fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the chicken and stir-fry until it turns white. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Add the red pepper and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the bean sprouts, snow peas and carrots and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil, white pepper and sugar and stir-fry until blended, about 1 minute. Add the reserve chicken and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the reserve noodles and toss until coated.
- Transfer to a platter and serve immediately.