New Traditions For A New Year



On Jan. 29, families all over the world will come together to celebrate the start of the Chinese lunar year 4704, the Year of the Dog.

The 15-day New Year festival is a time to look back and honor ancient traditions. But it's also a time to look forward -- a celebration of all things new. Before the festival begins, the house is given a thorough cleaning, everyone gets a haircut, doors and window frames are repainted and old grudges are forgiven.

This mix of respecting the old and welcoming the new is a fitting symbol for the experience of Chinese Americans, who, with each new generation, have created new traditions that build on the past -- especially when it comes to food.

Chinese American cooks have learned to adapt beloved recipes and flavors with fresh twists, using locally available ingredients to create dishes that reflect the best of classic and modern, East and West.

It might be a handful of basil tossed into a quick beef and tomato stir-fry; a salad of flavorful imitation crabmeat, accented with the bright flavor of mango and the sweet crunch of candied walnuts; or a noodle dish, symbolizing happiness and longevity, made not with Chinese noodles, but with linguine.

These kinds of "family fusion" dishes have something for everyone -- and that makes them a perfect choice for celebrating the Chinese New Year.

So, this year, invite friends and family over to usher in the Year of the Dog. Set the table with red and gold, symbolizing prosperity. Put a tangerine (with leaves attached) at each place as a token of good luck and happiness. And serve up a feast featuring these easy, modern takes on classic Chinese dishes.

Gung Hay Fat Choy! Here's to a year of good fortune, good eating, old friends and new traditions.

Golden Egg Flower Corn Soup

Makes eight servings.

1 can (14.75 ounces) cream style sweet corn

1 can (14 ounces) chicken broth

1 tablespoon Kikkoman Soy Sauce

1/4 cup water

1/2 cup frozen green peas

1 egg, beaten

1 cup diced soft tofu

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper

Combine corn, chicken broth, soy sauce and water in medium saucepan. Bring to boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer 5 minutes. Add green peas; return soup to boil over high heat. Gradually pour egg into boiling soup, stirring gently in one direction. Add tofu and cilantro. Sprinkle in pepper and stir well.

Happiness & Long Life Noodles

Makes six to eight servings.

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons Kikkoman Stir-Fry Sauce

1 tablespoon dry sherry

2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided

1 pound fresh or thawed medium shrimp or prawns (31 to 40 count), peeled and deveined

3 cups green cabbage chunks

1 red bell pepper, cut into short strips

4 green onions and tops, cut into 2-inch lengths, separating whites from tops

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger root

1/2 pound linguine, cooked

Combine stir-fry sauce and sherry. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in wok or large skillet over high heat. Add shrimp. Stir-fry 1 minute, or until shrimp turn pink; remove. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in same pan. Add cabbage, bell pepper, whites of green onions and ginger; stir-fry 1 minute. Add green onion tops; stir-fry 1 minute. Pour in stir-fry sauce mixture, linguine and shrimp. Cook, stirring, until all ingredients are heated and evenly coated with sauce.

Tomato Beef Stir-Fry With Basil

Makes six to eight servings.

1 pound boneless tender beef steak

1-1/2 tablespoons plus 4 teaspoons cornstarch, divided

1-1/2 tablespoons plus 3 tablespoons Kikkoman Soy Sauce, divided

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon sugar

3/4 cup water

3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided

1 green bell pepper, cut into 1-inch squares

1 onion, chunked and separated

1-1/2 cups fresh basil leaves

1 tomato, chunked

Hot cooked rice

Cut beef into thin slices, then into 1-inch squares. Coat beef with mixture of 1-1/2 tablespoons each cornstarch and soy sauce and garlic; let stand 5 minutes. Meanwhile, combine remaining 3 tablespoons soy sauce and 4 teaspoons cornstarch, sugar and water. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in wok or large skillet over high heat. Add beef and stir-fry 1 minute; remove. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in same pan. Add bell pepper and onion; stir-fry 2 minutes. Stir soy sauce mixture; pour into pan. Add beef and basil; cook, stirring until sauce starts to boil and thicken. Add tomato; cook, gently stirring, 1 minute. Serve with rice.

Sweet & Sour BBQ Chicken

Makes six to eight servings.

3/4 cup Kikkoman Sweet & Sour Sauce

3 tablespoons Kikkoman Soy Sauce

1 tablespoon packed brown sugar

1 tablespoon tomato ketchup

1 clove garlic, pressed

4 boneless chicken thighs

2 boneless chicken breast halves, cut in half crosswise

Nonstick cooking spray

Combine sweet & sour sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar, ketchup and garlic; remove and reserve 1/4 cup mixture. Pour remaining mixture over chicken in large plastic food storage bag. Press air out of bag; close top securely. Turn over several times to coat pieces well. Refrigerate 1 hour, turning bag over once. Place chicken, skin side down, on rack of broiler pan sprayed with cooking spray; discard marinade. Broil chicken 4 inches from heat source 8 minutes, brushing with reserved sauce mixture once. Turn chicken over; brush with sauce mixture. Cook 5 minutes longer, or until chicken is no longer pink in center, brushing with remaining sauce mixture after 3 minutes. To serve, slice chicken and arrange on platter.

"Crab" & Mango Salad

Makes six to eight servings.

1 package (8 ounces) mixed salad greens

1 ripe mango, peeled, seeded and cubed or 1 can (11 ounces) Mandarin orange segments, drained

1 cup peeled, halved, seeded cucumber slices

1 cup (5 ounces) imitation crab meat, chunked

1/2 cup original-flavor glazed walnuts

Soy-Ginger Vinaigrette

Combine salad greens, mango, cucumber, crab and walnuts in large serving bowl. Prepare Soy-Ginger Vinaigrette; pour over salad mixture. Toss to coat all pieces well.

Soy-Ginger Vinaigrette: Whisk together 3 tablespoons rice vinegar, 2 tablespoons each Kikkoman Less Sodium Soy Sauce and vegetable oil, 3/4 teaspoon sugar and 1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger root until sugar dissolves.

For more about Chinese New Year and other entertaining tips, download Kikkoman's official Chinese New Year Celebration Guide at

Recipes and photos from Family Features Editorial Syndicate

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