Chinese New Year

by Brenda Hyde

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Chinese New Year is traditionally celebrated with fireworks, music and dancing dragons made out of paper mache and other materials. It's a time for celebration and family fun in Chinese households.

Many of us may not understand the Chinese traditions and their rich history, but we can make an attempt to learn more about this culture by having a theme night! Assign each person in the family an area of Chinese culture to learn about and research at the library or online. Before dinner, exchange what each family member has discovered. The following recipes are very easy and can be served with purchased egg rolls.

Chinese Hot and Sour Soup

  • 3/4 pound boneless pork, cut into 1/2 inch strips
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 pound fresh mushrooms
  • 1 can bamboo shoots (8 ounces)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. white pepper, or to taste
  • 3 tablespoons vinegar
  • 16 ounces tofu
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil
  • 4 green onions, sliced

Mix pork with salt and cornstarch. Heat oil in wok to 375 degrees and stir fry pork until color changes. Bring stock to a boil in a stockpot. Add mushrooms, pork and bamboo shoots. Stir constantly. Add soy sauce, pepper, vinegar and tofu. Return to a boil. Turn off heat and add beaten eggs. Stir quickly for 30 seconds. Add sesame oil. Remove and garnish with green onions. Serves 6.

Sweet and Sour Shrimp

  • 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 20-ounce can chunk pineapple, drained, reserve juice
  • 3/4 cup cold water
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/8 tsp. ground ginger
  • 8 ounce can water chestnuts, drained
  • 1 green bell pepper, cut into chunks

In a large skillet or wok, combine reserved pineapple juice, water, lemon juice, sugar, cornstarch, soy sauce and ginger. Over medium heat, cook and stir until thick and clear. Add shrimp and cook 3 minutes. Add remaining ingredients; heat through. Serve with cooked rice or Chinese noodles. 4 servings.

Brenda is a wife and mom to three living in the Midwest. She is also editor of and where you can find many more family recipes, celebrations and activities.

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