CHINESE NEW YEAR Make your fortune this Chinese New Year >> Chinese New Year falls on February 19 in 2015 – and the man who put Chinese food on the UK map is urging everyone to join in the celebrations to welcome the Year of the Goat. Ken Hom said: “Chinese New Year is the longest and most important celebration in the Chinese calendar and it is fast becoming a major celebration in the British calendar with many households enjoying a Chinese banquet and taking part in some of the Chinese traditions.” People born in the Year of the Goat have personality traits such as creativity, dependability, intelligence and calmness making them very charming to be with. Famous “Goats” include Bill Gates, Mick Jagger and Julia Roberts. Chinese New Year celebrations shouldn’t be reserved for Chinese restaurants. Ken is encouraging caterers in all sectors of foodservice – from education to hospitals, care homes to cafes – to get in on the act. Ken’s top tips for professional caterers: 1. Organise yourself by picking dishes that can be done ahead of time. There are many braised Chinese dishes that are delicious, easy to reheat, so perfect for professionals to make. Stay away from complicated dishes such as Peking duck. 2. Don’t do too many stir-fried dishes. One would be perfect. 3. Above all, have your mis-en-place ready! 40 JAN / FEB 2015 Chinese New Year Banquet Chinese New Year is a social event as families always love to eat together – that is why the Chinese use a round table, so that food and conversation can be shared. Key ingredients to include are: • Chicken for fortune • Fish for prosperity • Noodles for longevity (never cut noodles) • Duck is a symbol of fidelity • Vegetables represent cleansing of the system • Wontons represent gold ingots (wealth) • Seaweed for wealth Ken says: “Shooting off firecrackers on the eve of Chinese New Year is our way of sending out the old year and welcoming in the New Year; and don’t forget that on the stroke of midnight, every door and window in the house has to be open to allow the old year to go out.” Chinese New Year Gifts Ken comments: “One of my earliest memories was receiving red, money filled envelopes (Hongbao) from family and friends. The Hongbao is the most traditional of all New Year gifts. The Hongbao is also the simplest: an elaborately decorated red envelope filled with scrilla (money). Chinese New Year is fast becoming a major celebration in the British calendar Ken Hom’s Chicken on Cr ispy Noodles includes key ingredients to celebrate Chinese New Year Use only one or two notes, to keep the value of the envelope hidden and don’t hand out bad luck with anything that includes the number four, the unluckiest of all numbers. Instead stick to ones, fives, and best of all, eights; these are ‘beloved’ numbers.” Chinese New Year is steeped in superstition – here are just some of the other traditions that you could come across: • The entire house should be cleaned before New Year’s Day. On the eve of Chinese New Year, all brooms, brushes, dusters, dust pans and other cleaning equipment should be put away. Sweeping or dusting should not be done on New Year’s Day for fear that good fortune will be swept away. • If you cry on New Year’s Day, you will cry all through the year. Therefore, children are tolerated and are not spanked, even though they are mischievous. • On New Year’s Day, you are not supposed to wash your hair because it would mean you would have washed away good luck for the New Year. • It is considered unlucky to greet anyone in their bedroom so that is why everyone, even the sick, should get dressed and sit in the living room. • Do not use knives or scissors on New Year’s Day as this may cut off fortune.
Stir it up magazine Jan Feb 2015
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