The most important holiday on the Chinese calendar, Chinese New Year kicked off last Sunday. It lasts for 15 days and is a time of tradition, celebration and good luck foods. Noodles bring longevity, and dumplings bring good fortune because they resemble the gold currency during the Ming Dynasty.

For an at-home celebration of the Chinese New Year, or to simply spice up a typical dinner routine or teach your children about cuisine from different cultures, the fun folks at The Classic Catering People have sent over a few recipes to try. Let us know how they turn out!

Chinese New Year - Chinese Pearl Balls

Chinese Pearl Balls (Steamed Pork Balls in Glutinous Rice)

A Chinese New Year Appetizer

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup glutinous rice (also known as sticky rice)
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 large green onion, minced
  • 2 water chestnuts, finely chopped
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sherry
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • Black pepper to taste

Instructions

Soak glutinous rice overnight. Mix pork and all other ingredients in a mixing bowl. Roll pork ball mixture into half ounce sized balls. Drain rice well and spread evenly on a sheet pan. Immediately roll the pork balls lightly in the rice until they are completely covered. After all pork balls have been rolled, prepare to steam them in a perforated steam pan, or bamboo steamer and wok. Steam pork balls for about 25 minutes. Serve with a light ginger soy sauce for dipping.

Note: For an added flair, mix in black mushrooms, baby corn, snow pea pods or any other Asian vegetable.

Chinese New Year - Salt & Pepper Shrimp - (cool) progeny

Salt and Pepper Shrimp

A Cantonese Dish

Ingredients

  • 1 pound medium shrimp (shell on)
  • 2-3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper or szechuan
  • Peppercorns
  • 4 cups oil for deep frying
  • Red and green peppers or scallions, diced (for garnish)

Instructions

Soak shrimp in warm water with salt for about 5 minutes. Rinse shrimp in cold water and pat dry. Lightly coat shrimp in cornstarch. Deep fry the shrimp for approximately one minute (depending on size) until shrimp are a bright orange. Remove from oil and lightly toss in salt and peppercorns mixture. Garnish shrimp with some diced red and green peppers or diced scallions and serve.

Photo Credit: Ashley Boarman and The Classic Catering People