Recipe of the Day: Chinese New Year Dinner Menu for the Lunar New Year

Photo by Angela Roma on

About forty years ago, I took a Chinese cooking class at the University District store, The House Of Rice, in Seattle. I made these recipes so often that I ended up teaching classes using them.

These recipes make a great menu to celebrate the Chinese New Year.

Chinese Dinner for Company

Chinese BBQ Pork
Fried Rice
Asian-Style Vegetable Stir-Fry
Chinese Fried WonTons
Pineapple Tidbits and Mandarin Oranges
Mini Cheesecakes
Chinese Green Tea

Chinese Barbecued Pork From The House of Rice in Seattle

1 pound pork tenderloin or boneless pork roast
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp Chinese Five Spice Powder
1/4 white pepper
1 tsp Sherry (optional, I’ve never really added this)
2 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp Hoisin sauce (store remainder in a glass container in the fridge)
1 tbsp Red Wet Bean Curd (comes in a can, store remainder in a glass container in the refrigerator)
1/2 tsp red food coloring

Cut pork into strips 5-6 inches long and about 1 inch thick.
Mix sugar and salt and rub on all sides of the pork strips.
Set aside for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, pour off juice.
Combine remaining ingredients and rub this mixture onto the pork strips and marinate for at least 2 hours (you can marinate overnight too, covered in the fridge)
Place pork strips on a roasting pan with a rack and roast at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Turn pork strips and roast for another 25 minutes.
Remove from pan, slice each strip into slices, and serve hot, warm, or cold with toasted sesame seeds, hot mustard, and soy sauce. We also mix soy sauce with ketchup and use that as a dip.

Over time I simplified the recipe since Red Wet Bean Curd isn’t always easy to find. I modified the recipe to this one:

Chinese Barbecued Pork

One 3-pound pork roast, boneless
1/2 teaspoon salt
One tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder (check spice or Oriental sections at a grocery store)
One teaspoon cooking sherry* (optional)
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
Two tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon red food coloring
1/2 jar of Hoisin sauce (Oriental section at a grocery store)
1/2 jar of Chinese BBQ sauce (Oriental section of a grocery store)

Cut pork roast into 6-inch pieces. Mix salt and sugar and rub into meat. Set aside for 30 minutes. Combine the rest of the ingredients and rub them into the pork. Marinade overnight (or at least 2 hours). Roast on the rack of a roasting pan in a 350-degree oven for 25 minutes. Turn pork and roast for 25 minutes more. Slice thinly and serve hot or cold with sesame seeds, hot Chinese mustard, ketchup mixed with soy sauce, and garlic powder.

Fried Rice

4 cups cold cooked white rice
1/2 onion, chopped
mushrooms, chopped
bean sprouts
Two eggs
soy sauce
peanut oil

Sauté chopped onion and mushrooms in hot peanut oil. Break the eggs into a small dish, and beat slightly. Add to onions and oil, and stir until scrambled. Add cold rice, and stir as it cooks. Add soy sauce and bean sprouts, and cook until rice is heated through and slightly “fried”.

Asian-Style Vegetable Stir-Fry

1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup prepared stir-fry sauce
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Four teaspoons peanut or vegetable oil
2 cups small broccoli florets
2 cups small mushrooms
One small onion, cut into wedges and separated into
1-inch strips
One medium carrot cut diagonally into thin slices.

Combine honey, stir-fry sauce, and pepper flakes in a small bowl; set aside. Heat oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add vegetables; cook and stir 2 to 3 minutes or until tender. Add honey mixture; cook and stir about 1 minute or until vegetables are glazed, and sauce is bubbly.

Chinese Fried WonTons

1 pound package of WonTon Skins (usually found in the produce
department of a grocery store)
1 pound ground pork (not sausage)
One egg
One tablespoon soy sauce
One small can water chestnuts
One teaspoon minced ginger
1/2 onion
1/2 teaspoon MSG* (optional)
Beat egg and chop an onion. Drain and mince (finely chop) the water
chestnuts. Mix all ingredients except the wonton skins. Place one teaspoon of pork mixture on each skin. Roll wonton style and seal with a dab of water. Fry in hot peanut oil until brown and crisp. Drain and serve with sweet and sour sauce.

Cream cheese wontons
Originally from

12 ounce cream cheese (at room temperature)
50 wonton wrappers
1 cup imitation crab (chopped)
Two green onions (minced)
1 (8 ounces) can water chestnuts (drained and minced)
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon soy sauce
One egg (beaten)
oil (for frying)

Cream the cream cheese together with crab, green onions, water chestnuts, garlic powder, and soy sauce in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, beat one egg. Lay out a wonton wrapper in the shape of a diamond. Place one teaspoon of the filling into the center of each wrapper. Brush the opposite corners of the wrapper with the beaten egg. Fold the edges over to form and triangle and seal. Heat oil in the deep fryer to 375 degrees. Deep fry in bathes (turning once if needed) until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Serve hot with sweet and sour sauce for dipping.

Chinese Sweet and Sour Sauce

1/3 cup of cold water
Two tablespoons of cornstarch
2/3 cup of sugar
1/3 cup of Rice vinegar (found in the Chinese food section of the
grocery store)
Two tablespoons of bottled Sweet and Sour Sauce
Two tablespoons of soy sauce

Pour 1/3 cup water into a small saucepan. Add cornstarch and stir
until dissolved. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir over medium heat until thickened and the color turns darker.

Mini Cheesecakes

Two packages of Jell-o Cheesecake
Fresh strawberries
Chocolate Magic Shell ice cream topping
cupcake papers

Place cupcake papers in a muffin pan. According to package directions, mix graham cracker crust mix with margarine and sugar. Spoon crust into each cup and press down with the bottom of a glass. Mix cheesecake mix with milk according to package directions. Spoon cheesecake mix into each cup. Chill for 1 hour in the refrigerator. Slice up strawberries and place three slices, slightly overlapping, onto each cheesecake cup. Drizzle with chocolate and refrigerate for an hour

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