Friday, March 1, 2013

A Chinese New Year feast

This year we wanted to take the children down to Chinatown (Brisbane) to experience the Chinese New Year celebrations. However, what do you think?..... rain, rain and more very heavy rain.

So with just a day to prepare, we opted for a very simple menu and created a Chinese New Year feast at home. OK, not really a feast. After I had pulled a couple of Chinese cookbooks from the shelves I got really excited by the amazing dishes I could try if I was to make a proper Chinese feast. But it was lunch time and I had no intention of driving any further than my local IGA (remember - pouring rain) So the menu was simple:

Prawn Crackers
Spring Rolls with Sweet Chilli Sauce
Chinese Braised Spare Ribs
Steamed Jasmine Rice
Steamed Bok Choy with Sesame Oil
Fortune Cookies
Hello Panda Cookies

Lucky Beer
White Wine

The kids absolutely loved setting up the house for our Chinese New Year dinner. With some planning I think this could get pretty big next year. We love celebrating with food in this house, even if we are not Chinese, it was fun.

And a note on the Lucky beer, also know as Lucky Buddha. I do not like beer, at all. But I tried this beer with a few spring rolls - perfect! My husband only bought one, to get into the theme of the night. I tell you, he had a hard time getting me to give it back. In truth, I am really clueless about pairing wines or beer with the right food, it is something I'd love to know more about, because getting it right is really worth it. So even though I am claiming to lack this knowledge, I'm going to go right ahead and recommend that you try Lucky beer with your next Chinese meal.

Both the spring roll recipe and pork recipe had been handwritten into an old cooking notebook. I know that I kind of made up the spring roll recipe well over 10 years ago, when we had Asian friends coming for dinner, but where the braised spare ribs recipe comes from is anyone's guess, again, I have been cooking this dish for well over 10 years.

This time I served the spring rolls with homemade sweet chilli sauce, that was what we had, but there has been a request that I try and make the red sauce that they serve at our local Chinese restaurant next time. I'm not sure, what is that red stuff - really? Any idea??

Spring Rolls

(oven baked)

makes 12

• 1 tablespoon peanut oil
• 250 grams pork mince
• 1 clove garlic (crushed)
• 1 teaspoon ginger (grated)
• 4 shallots (sliced)
• 1 cup cabbage (finely diced)
• 1/2  cup mushrooms (finely diced)
• 1/2 cup carrot (grated)
• 1/2 cup bean sprouts (finely chopped)
• 1 tablespoon soy sauce
• 1 tablespoon sherry
• black pepper

• 12 spring roll wrappers (defrosted)

to serve

• sweet chilli sauce

Preheat oven to 220 degrees. Heat the oil in a wok or frying pan and brown the pork mince over a high heat. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for one minute. Add the shallots, cabbage, mushrooms, carrot and beans sprouts and continue to stir fry for 2 minutes. Add the soy sauce and sherry and cook for a further minute. Set aside and allow to cool.

Place the spring roll wrapper on a flat surface with one corner facing towards you. Cover the remaining wrappers with a damp tea towel. Brush the edges of the wrapper with water. Place about 1 tablespoon of the filling in one corner of the wrapper. Roll up from the corner, folding in the edges to enclose the filling. Repeat to make 12 spring rolls.

Place the spring rolls on a greased baking tray. Brush with oil. Bake for 20 minutes, after 10 minutes turn the spring rolls. Allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving. Serve with sweet chilli sauce.

Chinese Braised Spare Ribs

serves 4-6

• 1 kilogram pork spare ribs

for the marinade

• 4 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
• 3 tablespoons soy sauce
• 2 red chillies (chopped)
• 5 cm piece ginger (peeled and thinly sliced)
• 2 tablespoons honey
• 2 star anise
• 1 stick cinnamon (broken into pieces)
• 1 teaspoon sesame oil
• 2 tablespoon peanut oil
• 4 shallots (chopped)

to cook

• 2 teaspoons chinese five-spice
• 2 tablespoons honey

to serve

• 2 shallots or a small handful coriander leaves (chopped)

In a large bowl, combine all of the marinade ingredients and marinate the pork overnight.

Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Bring the meat to room temperature. Put the pork and the marinade into a roasting tray and cover with alfoil. Cook for 1 hour. Remove the foil and sprinkle with the Chinese five-spice and drizzle with honey. Return the ribs to the oven for 30-40 minutes. Turn the ribs half way through this time, they will become sticky, crispy and glossy brown. Arrange on a serving platter and sprinkle with shallots/coriander. Serve immediately

I would love to know your favourite Chinese recipe? Or maybe you have a different spring roll filling I could try? Do you like to celebrate other cultures and food this way?


  1. We were going to go into Brisbane too but like you the weather meant we changed our plans. From Kilcoy it is too far to go for getting drenched. We had a nice stir fry and rice but your meal looks delish.

    1. Thanks for your comment. I was going to cook a stir fry too, but then I started looking through cookbooks and got inspired to do a little more:)

  2. This really looks like a fun Chinese New Year creation.


Thanks for stopping by. I'd love to hear what's happening in your kitchen. If you've tried one of my recipes, I'd like to know what you thought? Do you have some advice to make it better? Did you find a mistake? Perhaps it is a new favourite in your home?

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