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Shrimp Lo Mein

Shrimp Lo Mein recipe by SeasonWithSpice.com

There’s no excuse this Sunday not to celebrate Valentine’s Day.  That’s because it’s your birthday too! Chinese legend has it that humans were created on the 7th Day of the Lunar calendar.  So on the 7th Day of Chinese New Year – known as “Human Day” or Renri 人日 – we celebrate everyone’s birthday.

Since symbolism is always on the plate during Chinese New Year, I chose to feature this recipe of Lo Mein 捞面 with long strands of noodles.  Noodles represent longevity in Chinese culture – a welcome wish on all of our birthdays.

Shrimp Lo Mein recipe by SeasonWithSpice.com

Lo 捞 in Cantonese means ‘to stir’ or ‘toss up’.  An act that correlates with well wishes in Chinese culture.  So as you cook up this lo mein on the 7th Day of Chinese New Year, and stir & toss the noodles high up in the air, make all your wishes for the upcoming year (just like you’re blowing out candles on your birthday cake).

8 Lucky Dishes for Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year recipes by SeasonWithSpice.com

Did you know that Chinese New Year lasts for two weeks?  Feasting with family & friends is at the heart of this long holiday, so it’s best to pace yourself, squeeze in some exercise, and drink lots of tea for digestion.  But still enjoy yourself because the fun of Chinese New Year is trying all the different dishes & snacks from contemporary creations, to the auspicious, traditional foods that usher in happiness and symbolize good fortune for the New Year.

This year is the Year of the Monkey.  I just happen to be a monkey (you can check your Chinese Zodiac here), so I might indulge a little more this holiday.  You don’t have to be Chinese to join in the fun, so if you’re up to trying out some auspicious foods for the Lunar New Year to increase your luck for 2016, and to just enjoy learning a new dish, here are 8 Chinese New Year recipes to get you started.  Gan Bei 干杯 Cheers!

Chinese New Year Prosperity Salad (Yee Sang) by SeasonWithSpice.com

1. Yee Sang 鱼生 (Chinese New Year Prosperity Salad):  This festive colored salad is commonly served on the 7th day of the New Year in Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia.  Everyone will gather around the table, chopsticks in hand, and toss the Yee Sang ingredients up in the air, while saying Lo Hei (toss up), or any well wishes for the New Year.  This recipe is my modern twist on the dish.

fried dumplings for chinese new year recipe by SeasonWithSpice.com

2. Dumplings: It’s just not Chinese New Year without the holiday’s most symbolic food – jiaozi or dumplings.  Shaped like Chinese gold ingots or money bags, dumplings are eaten to bring you good fortune.  That aside, dumplings bring deeper meaning as family members gather together to prepare and cook them, signifying the reunion of a family.

Chinese Chicken Lettuce Cups

Chinese Chicken Lettuce Cups recipe by SeasonWithSpice.com

Coincidentally, American and Chinese families will both be celebrating this Sunday night with a feast.  And for Chinese families living in the US, a fusion feast of Super Bowl snacks and traditional Chinese New Year dishes.

Sunday night is the eve of Chinese New Year (or Spring Festival 春节), where Chinese families like mine back in Malaysia will come together for a “reunion dinner”.  Since I won’t be back this year, and most likely be watching the Super Bowl that night, I decided to make a fun, finger-foods dinner for Chinese New Year with these Chinese Chicken Lettuce Cups.

Chinese Chicken Lettuce Cups by SeasonWithSpice.com

Even if you’re not celebrating Chinese New Year, these chicken lettuce cups are a great way to change things up this Super Bowl, and give yourself and your guests a healthier option.  They’re delicious with a cold beer too!

Soba Noodle Soup with Shiitake Mushrooms & Kale

Soba Noodle Soup with Shiitake Mushrooms & Kale by SeasonWithSpice.com

Whether you’re digging out of two feet of snow right now, or just had enough of winter already (that’s me), then daily bowls of nourishing, noodle soup are definitely on the menu during this last week of January.

Start with this Soba Noodle Soup with Shiitake Mushrooms & Kale.

dried shiitake mushrooms & kale for soba noodle soup

The soup has a rich, earthy broth from cooking shiitake mushrooms in mirin, soy sauce, and fresh ginger.  The sweet & savory flavors combine so well to create an irresistible winter soup.

Easy Spicy Korean Chicken Stew (Dakdoritang)

Savory, spicy chicken stew with a mix of hearty carrots, potatoes, onions, and cabbage, Dakdoritang (닭도리탕) is a Korean dish to warm the soul on a frigid, winter night.

Spicy Korean Chicken Stew recipe by SeasonWithSpice.com

I first tried dakdoritang on a winter night many years ago at a small restaurant in Seoul.  I sat down on the wooden floor, cross-legged, with my heavy jacket still wrapped around me.  The Korean auntie (bapsang) walked over and I excitedly pointed to the table next to ours.  There was a large, shallow pot, resting on top of a hot stove, filled with delicious meat and vegetables soaking in a spicy, bubbling sauce.

Thai Rice Noodle Soup with Chicken

Thai Rice Noodle Soup with Chicken by SeasonWithSpice.com

Shortly before Christmas, our mail carrier knocked on the door.  He was holding a large Priority Mail box, which we recognized immediately as one of the bigger orders we had sent out the prior week. We both knew that the package must have been marked as non-deliverable by the post office, and was unfortunately sent back to us to correct the address and pay for shipping again.

But when Mark opened the package, he was shocked to see it filled not with spices, but with a variety of mason jars filled with delicious, homemade goodies.  One of our amazing customers - Lynne from Wingshadow Helencia farm in California – had surprised us with all sorts of treats grown on her farm and created in her kitchen, from pickled okra to raspberry fig preserves, from green chili salsa to chipotle in adobo. And candied jalapeños, which are just the perfect addition to my recipe this week – Thai Rice Noodle Soup with Chicken.

[This bowl’s for you, Lynne.  Thanks again for spicing up our dishes!]

Thai Rice Noodle Soup recipe by SeasonWithSpice.com

Thai Sriracha-Lime Spiced Nuts

Thai Sriracha Lime Spiced Nuts recipe by SeasonWithSpice.com

Before we ring in the New Year, I wanted to quickly share this recipe for Thai Sriracha Lime Spiced Nuts.  They’re sweet, salty, citrusy, and have a kick of heat to jump start your New Year’s Eve party.

Thai Sriracha Lime Spiced Nuts by SeasonWithSpice.com
Thai Spiced Nuts with Kaffir Lime Leaf Powder & Sriracha Lime Sea Salt by SeasonWithSpice.com