January 23,2012 is Chinese New Year and in Chinese astrology it is the year of the water dragon. It is believed that the year of the dragon brings growth and change in career, love and life. A great feasting is also celebrated to bring abundance, happiness, prosperity, good health and long life. The food to be prepared always symbolizes something.
I only prepared two types of food among the long list in the Chinese culture. Sauted Rice Stick (Pancit Bihon) and Sweet and Sour Fish. Noodles symbolize longevity. It stands for long life and is said to be unlucky to cut up a strand when cooking. Fish, served whole is a symbol of prosperity and eating fish is believed that it will help your wishes come true in the year to come.
But I still believe that the ingredients of a meaningful life are strong faith, love, hard work and good health. Kung Hei Fat Choi everyone!
Sauted Rice Stick (Pancit Bihon)
8 oz rice stick noodles
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 lb shelled shrimp or 1 cup pork or chicken meat
1/2 cup carrots, cut in strips
1 cup shredded cabbage
6 pieces button mushroom, cut
1 cup of sweet peas
2 1/2 cups chicken stock or water
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
5 tablespoons soy sauce
salt and pepper to taste
calamansi or lemon wedges (optional)
1. Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute onion until translucent, then add garlic and cook until golden brown.
2. Add meat (if using) and season with oyster sauce,soy sauce, salt and pepper. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil. Stir in the vegetable, cover, and steam until the vegetables are tender, about 4 minutes. Remove meat and vegetable mixture. Add the shrimp in the boiling stock and remove shrimp when it becomes orange-pink in color (usually less than a minute).
3. Cook noodles in the remaining stock until most of the liquid is absorbed by the noodles. Keep tossing the noodles to keep them from sticking.
4. Transfer cooked noodles in a platter and topped with the meat/shrimp and vegetables mixture and serve with lemon wedges or calamansi if desired.
Sweet and Sour Fish
1 lb fish fillets (such as tilapia, sea bass, cod, I used Allaskan Pollock)
1/2 cup snow peas
1/2 cup red bell pepper, cut in strips/cube
1 tablespoon ginger, finely chopped
1 stalk spring onion, chopped diagonally
2 cups vegetable oil for frying
For the Marinade:
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg white
1 tablespoon cornstarch
For the Sauce:
1 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
4 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoon water
1. Rinse the fish fillets and pat dry. Cut into 2 inch square. Add the fish to the marinade ingredients and mix. Then add the cornstarch last. Let it marinade for 15 minutes.
2. Prepare the sauce and vegetables. In a bowl, mix together the chicken broth, soy sauce, rice wine, tomato paste, vinegar and sugar. In a separate small bowl, dissolve cornstarch in the water.
3. Microwave on high the snow peas for 30 seconds. Cut the red bell pepper into cubes, seeds not included.
4. Heat the vegetable oil in wok or cast iron pan. Fry the marinated fish until golden brown. Remove and drain on paper towels.
5. Remove all but 2 tablespoons oil from the pan. Add the ginger and spring onion and stir fry for 30 seconds. Add the snow peas and red bell peppers.
6. Remove the vegetables from the pan, add the sauce and bring to a boil. Add the cornstarch and water mixture, stirring to thicken. Turn off the heat and add the vegetables in the sauce.
7. Serve the fish on a platter and pour the sauce and vegetable mixture. You may add all the sauce or reserve some on the side so the fish will not get soggy.