How to Prepare a Lucky Meal for the Lunar New Year
Tomorrow is the Lunar New Year! Traditionally, that means you should clean your house from top to bottom, put new linens out, and usher in the new year with as many good tidings as possible. Here are a few simple pointers and ideas for a menu that'll stack the luck in your favor in this Year of the Horse! While most of these recipes follow the Chinese New Year traditions, we wish everyone celebrating the Lunar New Year good luck all year round! Gong Hei Fat Choy! Chúc mừng năm mới! Saehae bok mani badeuseyo!
Bánh Chưng (or Bánh tét)
"Bánh Chưng" (or its cylindrical cousin, bánh tét) is typically a savory dish consisting of glutinous rice, mung beans, and pork, all wrapped tightly and steamed in banana leaves! They're sturdy, 6 by 6 inch blocks, and are traditional to make around the lunar new year in Vietnam. You make them with family, and share them as gifts with others to wish them a happy new year! It's a rather ambitious dish to attempt making in your own home kitchens, but they are available in most Vietnamese markets, if you live near one! Here's a wonderful recipe from Gastronomy Blog, if you're curious how it's done.
In Korea, the traditional New Years dish is Tteokguk, which is a broth soup with rice cakes served on top. (Tteok means "rice cake" and guk means "soup"). It is often eaten on New Years and birthdays to help give the one eating it great luck for the year and an additional year of longevity! You can keep the soup simple, or serve it with lovely additions like Korean dumplings (mandu), seasoned meats, and more. For more information on the preparation, check out this fabulous recipe from Korean Bapsang!
Tteokguk (Rice Cake Soup) from Korean Bapsang
Chinese New Year Traditions
There's also a whole range of lucky foods you can enjoy on the New Year, depending on what you'd like to happen within Chinese New Year traditions. For example, to have a year of particular abundance, a whole steamed fish (emphasis on the _whole) _is a great dish to make. To bring wealth and riches, make sure to eat lots of broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, and egg rolls, which represent a blossoming year, money, and gold respectively. And for a long life, it's a great thing to enjoy a bowl of long, uncut noodles! (Just remember to slurp them up whole, since biting them off represents the shortening of life).
Here are a few additional recipes to get you started on a great new year!
Mother's Famous Chinese Egg Rolls from Steamy Kitchen
Chinese New Year Long Life Noodles from Food Republic
Steamed whole snapper with Soy, Ginger, and Spring Onions from Food52
Nigel Slater's Shrimp with Asian Greens from Serious Eats
Pork Dumplings with Chili Sauce from Framed Cooks