Chinese New Year recipes from Jan Bilton
January 27 heralds the beginning of the Chinese New Year — the Year of the Rooster. The Chinese Zodiac consists of a 12-year cycle, each year being named after a different animal that — many Chinese believe — imparts distinct characteristics.
For example, people born in the Year of the Rooster (1921, 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017) are said to be deep thinkers, capable and talented. They like to be busy, they are devoted and are deeply disappointed if they fail.
Food is a very important part of the 15-day New Year festivities, and cooked chickens are traditionally served with their heads, tails and feet still attached, to symbolise completeness and prosperity. In New Zealand it's difficult to source 'complete' chickens.
However — whether served whole or chopped up — chicken cooked Chinese-style is popular with young and old.
Probably more food is consumed during Chinese New Year celebrations than at any other time of the year. Vast amounts of traditional foods are prepared for family and friends. The presence of ancestors is also acknowledged. The spirits of the ancestors, together with the living, celebrate the onset of the New Year as one great community.
The communal feasting — called 'surrounding the stove' or weilu — symbolises family unity and honours past and present generations.
This chicken is moist, healthy and so easy to prepare. And the bonus is a well-flavoured stock remaining in the wok. Tip: Shaoxing is pronounce ‘showshing’. Get the recipe
I used Yeo’s Hot Chilli Sauce. Thick white fish could be changed out for the salmon. Get the recipe