It is that time of year again. CHINESE NEW YEAR. I write this on the very eve that ushers in the new year of the Lunar calendar.
I have made a tradition of celebrating it in our household. “Why Chinese new year?” I’ve had friends ask. Good question. If I really sit down and think about it, I suppose initially it was a way to get back to my “roots.” I never celebrated the Lunar new year growing up, although my Chinese-American Grandma did teach us to say “Gong He Fat Choy” (there are many varied spellings of it) on new years day. There was something so special and mysterious about visiting Grandma. She had decorations in her house I had never seen anywhere else. It was scattered with porcelain figurines of wise old men with long, slinky mustaches, velvet paintings of birds, gold knickknacks and oriental rugs. It was exotic and I wanted to be a part of it.
Now, as an adult, I have Asian “flavored” decor strewn all about my own house. I’ve always been attracted to it. Is it a yearning to connect to my ancestors? Perhaps. Is it a way for me to remember Mary? Maybe. Is it an excuse to have an Asian-themed party when no one else is? Yes!
After looking back at old my old party invitations, I realized that the FIRST Chinese New Year party I ever threw was 12 years ago, on the last Year of the Sheep (Ram/Goat).
Last weekend’s party offered a new art form: Coloring! (well, new to my parties anyway!) I discovered a WONDERFUL online source for free coloring pages here: http://www.activityvillage.co.uk/chinese-scene-colouring-page-0
Here’s a link to the masks we colored (above): http://www.firstpalette.com/Craft_themes/Wearables/chinesedragonmask/chinesedragonmask.html
We had our annual decorations out, as well as a few new ones this year.
My friend Katrina makes a DELICIOUS Asian salad, and I asked if I could feature her recipe on this blog post. It was a huge hit at a recent party, so get your taste buds ready!
KATRINA’S FRESH ASIAN HERB SALAD
6tbs Chopped fresh basil
1/3 c Chopped fresh mint
1/3 c chopped fresh cilantro
1 1/4 cup Siracha sauce
Place noodles in a bowl and soak in hot water until tender. (You can use tap water if you’d like). Strain.
Chop noodles into small pieces (Caution: Noodles are a little difficult to hold on to! PLEASE BE CAREFUL!!!)
In another large bowl, mix all of your fresh chopped veggies and shrimp. Add noodles.
- For the Dressing: Whisk together and pour over salad just before serving. Mix salad and dressing well. Katrina says you might want to double the dressing recipe, because it is REALLY good!
I hope this inspires some of you to celebrate a new holiday this year. Or at LEAST try a new recipe! This holiday is meant to welcome Spring, as it is often called “Spring Festival” in China. I don’t know about you, but I could certainly be done with Winter for the year!
Some other helpful links I found on-line related to Chinese New Year are here: