Chinese New Year – Kung Hey Fat Choy!
2021 is a year of the Ox, starting from February 12th (Chinese lunar New Year Day) and lasting until January 31st, 2022.
The new year, also known in China as the Spring Festival, is marked by the lunisolar Chinese calendar; this means the date changes from year to year.
The worshiping of animals is called zoolatry, and dates back to the Qin dynasty more than 2,000 years ago.
Chinese New Year is one of the most important holidays in China. Within China, regional customs and traditions concerning the celebration of the New Year vary widely, and the evening preceding the New Year’s Day is frequently regarded as an occasion for Chinese families to gather for the annual reunion dinner. It is also traditional for every family to thoroughly clean their house, in order to sweep away any ill-fortune and to make way for incoming good luck.
Another custom is the decoration of windows and doors with red lanterns and decorations. Parades and performances are usually held, including beautifully decorated dragons, people in traditional costumes and fireworks. The colourful lights and bang of fireworks are supposed to ward off evil spirits.
While celebrations and large gatherings seem like a distant memory, people around the world will now be preparing for the Chinese New Year. This year the celebrations may be somewhat different than normal due to Covid-19.
A great way to celebrate the new year is to make and share great food. Here is a super recipe for you to try at home:
Chinese-Style Beef and Green Pepper Stir-Fry
250g beef mince
1 green pepper
2 garlic cloves
Fresh root ginger (about same size as a thumb)
1 tablespoon veg oil
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
Salt and pepper
Heat a pan with the veg oil over a medium/high heat. When it’s hot add the beef mince and break up as you cook it. While the mince is cooking dice the onion and pepper into fairly big chunks.
When the beef has been browned add in the onion and pepper and cook for a few mins until soft. Grate the ginger and garlic while they are cooking and add to the mixture, cook for a further 2 mins.
In a bowl, mix together the rice wine vinegar, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil and sugar. Add the sauce mixture into the pan and stir until the veg and beef is coated, add a pinch of salt and pepper. If it’s looking a little dry add a dash of water to the pan.
Serve up with some rice and prawn crackers for the perfect take-away dinner!
Like a bit of spice? Top with chopped red chillies to add a kick.
Top rice tip: Add 130g basmati rice to a lidded saucepan, and 300ml of cold water, and a pinch of salt. Bring to the boil over a high heat, once bubbling put the lid on, turn the heat right down and simmer for 12 mins. After 12 mins KEEP THE LID ON and leave to sit for 5 mins. This makes the perfect no-fuss rice!