Celebrating Chinese New Year!
by Jenny Atkins, LiveLighter nutritionist and busy mum
- January 17, 2023
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Celebrate Chinese New Year!
As we wind down from the festive Christmas and New year celebrations, you will find the Asian community gearing up for the upcoming Chinese New Year (Lunar New Year) which begins on 22 January 2023. This will mark the end of a year of the Tiger, and the beginning of a year of the Rabbit
In my family, Chinese New Year is one of the best times of the year and another opportunity to gather with family, friends and of course, fabulous food!
During my childhood, I witnessed generations of families bustling in the kitchen cooking all day, from weeks leading to the festival to finally sitting down on New Year’s Eve dinner to gather and enjoy food and time together – much like a traditional Christmas lunch!
The New Year festivities themselves last for 15 days from Chinese New Year’s Eve to the Lantern festival. This time is rich in tradition and customs including lion and dragon dances plus fireworks displays.
Red is the main colour for the festival as it is believed to be auspicious... and our whole family is dressed to impress!
You may see red lanterns hanging, red couplets (strips with Chinese characters expressing wishes for the year ahead) and New Year pictures decorated on doors and buildings. Red clothing tends to be worn for the first three days of the New Year Celebrations.
Food is the central focus to symbolise good luck, health and prosperity for the year ahead. Here are some of key foods eaten during the celebrations, and some LiveLighter recipes that incorporate them. Enjoy!
A whole chicken is a symbol of family.
Our tangy and herb-flavoured roast chicken takes minutes to prepare then it’s in the oven to do its own thing.
Fish is usually steamed whole. In Mandarin, the pronunciation for fish and abundance is the same so a fish dish symbolises success for the incoming year.
Homemade dumplings taste so much better than the frozen store-bought versions. If you haven’t already, give our chicken and corn or ginger mushroom dumplings a go. The best thing is that these dumplings can be made ahead and frozen! Then either steam or panfry when you’re ready to cook.
Spring rolls resemble gold bars so are symbols of wealth and fortune.
You can make our healthier oven baked version into small or larger rolls, depending on the size of the wrapper you buy.
If you want a fresh version, try our rice paper rolls instead .
Both rolls are also great to get the whole family involved in its preparation. In my family, those that prep together get to brag about how well we each did when we sit down to eat!
Noodles signify long life - the longer the noodle, the better! You can use any kind of noodles and either fresh or frozen vegies.
Chinese New Year day itself is a day where vegetarian dishes are eaten. Feast your eyes on some of my favourite vegetarian LiveLighter recipes!
I replace the meat in these two recipes with cubed firm tofu for a meat-free dish:
Search online and enjoy the culture, arts, stalls and entertainment that is on offer for local Chinese New Year celebrations. I close by wishing you, Gong Xi Fa Chai in Mandarin and Kung Hei Fat Choi in Cantonese.