Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Your Chinese New Year Celebration - Asian Flavors and Style

Peking Duck House & Ping restaurants on Mott Street in Lower Manhattan

This year Chinese New Year is February 19th! The Year of the Sheep, I really like the way Asian style and flavor permeates everything. Just like fashion, cooking is an art form so it is no small surprise to see Chinese restaurants and markets mingled in along side dress shops nearly the whole length of Mott Street in Chinatown. The two just compliment each other so take a cue for Your Chinese New Year Celebration!

Panda Clothing Shop at 24 Mott Street selling beautiful Mandarin style jackets
Your Chinese New Year Celebration
So this Chinese New Year, try immersing yourself in the culture with a beautiful satin or silk top/dress, something jade and an array of delicious Asian foods for yourself and your party guests.

 I'm wearing this lovely Black Cranes dress by Joseph Altuzarra for Chinese New Year

The Black Cranes Dress by Joseph Altuzarra has four flying cranes embroidered in gold thread. The dress has satin tuxedo lapels and a gold zipper up the side. Joseph is known for his plunging necklines and high leg slits so this dress does not disappoint there! The belt shown in the photo is not included so try a wide banded wrap style to replicate this look. Part of his capsule collection for Target, this structured black dress is my choice to celebrate Chinese New Year.

Structured Black Cranes Dress by Joseph Altuzarra for Target.  PHOTO: c/o Target

Try new flavors and textures! Steamed dumplings with an array of traditional Asian Sauces.
Hosting your own Chinese New Year Party can be as simple or as ambitious as you like. You can make some delicious heat and eat: steamed dumplings, egg rolls, pork ribs, hot wings, chicken fried rice and more. All of these are available in the frozen food section of most grocery stores.

You can also go the other route and simply order Chinese takeout or do a combination of both! There are no rules here, just go with what you like and is easiest for you. As an example, my college friend Jean Chen taught me how to make Egg Foo Young using a Wok. Her family owned a Chinese Restaurant near Princeton, NJ so she knew her stuff! So certain Asian style dishes I can make on my own and others I prefer to order out.

Spice is Nice!
Whether you decide to make it from scratch or order takeout, you'll always want to have a few traditional Asian spices and sauces on hand to take that meal over the top. This will give your Chinese dishes an authentic flavor and delicious complexity. I like Lee Kum Kee of Hong Hong's array of fantastic, restaurant quality sauces and condiments. If you are just starting off, these four sauces should be in every cook's kitchen who wants to cook Asian style:

My Four Essential Sauces and Spices to enjoy authentic Asian cuisine.

Garlic Hoisin Sauce (thicker and more complex than plain soy sauce)
Minced Ginger can also be used in a marinade
Plum Sauce which goes so well on crispy egg rolls, chicken and pork
Shrimp Paste of which a little goes a long way. Very concentrated but essential to many seafood dishes

Some Like it Hot
If you want to add a little kick to your menu, you've got to try this new Sriracha Chile Ketchup. It is SO delicious without being overly spicy and hot. Just enough kick for: Hot Wings, Ribs, Shrimp, Pork. See the entire line of restaurant quality sauces from Lee Kum Kee online.

NEW! Sriracha Chili Ketchup
So bring it all together for Chinese New Year. It's like getting a restart on 2015. You can learn to prepare some new dishes and try different cooking techniques such as steaming using bamboo baskets. A great way to prepare vegetables, stuffed dumplings and fish that's low in fat but big on flavor. Eating with chopsticks also slows you down, helping you to eat less. Try it!

Bamboo Steamer Dumplings: (L-R) Plum Sauce, Shrimp Paste, Minced Ginger and Garlic Hoisin Sauce
Joseph Altuzarra Black Cranes Dress - Mine
Asian Sauces c/o Lee Kum Kee

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