Chinese New Year-A A +A
By Artie Sy
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
NEXT week will be what Asians call the beginning of the lunar year, commonly known as the chinese new year. Although it is not only celebrate by the ethnic chinese, the majority of the celebrants are the indeed the ethnic chinese, hence the festival is very commonly called the CHINESE NEW YEAR. In the same way as there are celebrations in the Common Era year, and the Mayan year, the Chinese New Year is celebrated with much pomp and circumstance. There is feasting, reunions, firecrackers, much wishes for a better than the last New Year, and exchanges of gifts and money for all.
In the spirit of such, much emphasis is placed on food and its symbolisms and significance. Chinese New Year is the most important of the traditional Chinese holidays. In our very own Baguio City, it is incorporated into the PANAGBENGA festivals and is known as the Spring Festival, which is the literal translation of the Chinese name. The chinese name is Pinyin. The festival begins onn the first day of the first month. Early in the morning children greet their parents with wishes for a healthy wealthy and prosperous new year, and they in turn receive red envelops with cash. The red envelops are called 'ang (red) pao (treasure or wrap).
Chinese New Year is the longest and most important festival in the Chinese calendar. It is not surprising that much emphasis is on the food served on this auspicious day. Out of the many and varied foods the most happily served and offered to guests are oranges, for prosperity because of the goldeness of the fruit and its fragrance, the noodles always a symbol for long life and the fish and duck, symbol for a happy family life. The oranges are served to the guest and partaking of them reciprocates the wishes. Then meals are served to include all that the family can afford, to include the abovementioned fish and duck. The noodles should not be cut, so as not to cut the life of the eaters, and the duck and fish are served whole, so that all wishes are given whole heartedly and without reservations. Usually the noodles are in a broth, but if you refer, do the popular, saute and stir fry noodles. (as previously mentioned try not to cut the noodles, and steam or fry the fish and serve with your favorite sauce, could be sweet and sour, or steamed with black beans and garnished with onion and or garlic shoots. The duck may be roasted in an oven or pot roasted in a deep casserole. serve it in the braising sauce, and steamed shitake mushrooms and snow peas.
Pot roast duck you will need...
1. a whole dressed duck, cleaned very well, and left to hang overnight, or even a few hours, unchopped, and uncut. or you can use 2 ducks ( if you can find the large variety, use that.)
2. 1 cup of good soy sauce, use your favorite brand, a thumb of ginger, fresh and split lengthwise.
3. 2 whole onions,
4. 4 cloves of garlic
5. 1/2 cup of Chinese rice wine
6. 1/2 cup of liquid seasoning, use lea and perrins if you can find it
7. 1/2 cup of tomato paste
8. 1/2 cup of hot water
9. 2 soup cubes of your favorite brand
10. 1 CUP dried shitake mushrooms cleaned, soak in warm water and drained
11. 2 cups cleaned snow (chinese) peas
Now comes you own individuality. Put what you feel like putting, sage leaves, basil, cumin, coriander or whatever little herbs are you favorite. Try to use herbs sparingly, especially dried ones, because the flavor has intensified, and you do not want to overwhelm the ducks flavor.
Mix all ingredients except the mushrooms and the peas in a marinade and marinate your duck for a few hours turning once or twice.
In a large heavy casserole, which can sit the duck or ducks comfortably, bring all to a boil, and turn the heat to very low and simmer till absolutely tender and fragrant. Cool a little, and place of a platter large enough to contain the whole duck. In the same casserole, put mushrooms and snow peas, When peas are tender, surround the duck with the mushrooms and peas. ADJUST SEASONINGS, then thicken the sauce if you wish. Pour sauce over the duck.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on January 30, 2013.