Tomorrow begins the year of the snake on the Chinese lunar calendar. The Chinese New Year’s celebration lasts fifteen days, giving DCCC members and all Chinese food fans lots of time to prepare and eat traditional New Year’s foods.
By wonderful happenstance, DCCC members are currently cooking from The Breath of a Wok by Grace Young. In this single volume, you’ll find plenty of New Year’s food suggestions to carry you through the festivities. On pages 194−95 Grace has included a useful sidebar called “Recipes to Celebrate the New Year,” and on page 218 there are four New Year’s menus.
Per Grace’s suggestion for something very simple but very New Year’s appropriate, I made David Camacho’s Stir-Fried Shiitake Mushrooms (page 144 in the book). Mushrooms, Grace said, portend rising fortunes because they grow quickly. I used crimini mushrooms because the shiitake did not look too hot at my local market. The stir-fry’s pleasant peppery bite was a reminder that ginger alone, sans chili, can supply plenty of subtle heat. Simple, delicious, and fast to prepare, it was the perfect dish to re-awaken the spirit of my old wok that’s been sitting tucked away for too long.