Food&Drink Writer Yankie Chow shares three simple and popular traditional Chinese dishes in the spirit of Chinese New Year

Written by YankieChow

In the spirit of Chinese New Year, here are some delicious traditional Chinese dishes and recipes that are easy to make! 

Firstly, we have ‘Jiaozi’, also known as dumplings. Many people enjoy Jiaozi during Chinese New Year. Dumplings are a symbol of wealth and prosperity as they resemble ancient Chinese currency. The recipe for the dish is fun to make, and families always gather to prepare dumplings for the year together. All you need is a few ingredients typically found in dumplings, such as minced pork and cabbage. To assemble the dumplings, you add a little of each ingredient inside a wrapper and then seal the wrapper using water. Delicious!

Dumplings are a symbol of wealth and prosperity as they resemble ancient Chinese currency

Another popular dish eaten during Chinese New Year is ‘Chun Juan’ – these are spring rolls! Like dumplings, spring rolls also symbolise wealth and prosperity since they are shaped like gold bars. Again, this is a simple recipe. All you need is a spring roll wrapper and assortment of ingredients like vegetable, pork or shrimp. The method is very similar to dumplings: after softening the spring roll wrapper and adding the filling, you then seal the spring roll by dabbing its end into water. Many people like to fry spring rolls to give a nice crispy texture and are often served with sauces like sweet chilli sauce, soy sauce and peanut sauce for extra flavour. 

The final dish I’d like to share is ‘Nian Gao’, also known as sticky rice cakes. In Chinese, the name ‘Nian Gao’ sounds like the phrase meaning growth and improvement, so sticky rice cakes are believed to symbolise prosperity and progress in the coming year. The first step is to mix glutinous rice flour, water and sugar to sweeten the mixture. Next, pour the mixture into the pan and allow it to steam – and there you have it! This is just one way of making sticky rice cakes, but there are many recipes and methods. You could also pan-fry or stir-fry the mixture with other eggs or vegetables. This dish is a little more complicated than the dumplings spring rolls, but definitely worth it. This is one of the most traditional Chinese New Year dishes to be eaten for good luck. 

These are just a few dishes prepared for the celebration of the New Year which all symbolises good luck and fortune. Which recipe would you try?

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