Chinese New Year 2021

Chinese New Year 2020 menu

It’s almost Chinese New Year! As the big day draws closer, it’s time to figure out what to plan for your Chinese New year menu and the big Chinese New Year’s dinner festivities. While attending an elaborate 12-course banquet at a Chinese restaurant is a great way to celebrate Chinese New Year, it’s also fun to host your own Chinese New Years’ party at home. Here are a number of menu ideas to celebrate the lunar holiday. Each menu includes at least one recipe that symbolizes good fortune or has other lucky connotations in Chinese culture. The menus call for Chinese tea, but feel free to serve alcohol as well—after all, this is a celebration!

A big draw of Chinese New Year, aside from the delicious food, is of course, the dollar billz. Anyone married is traditionally obligated to give some “lucky money” in red envelopes (hong bao) to kids for good luck. For the elders, all that’s required in return is a polite “Gong Xi Fa Cai!” or, for Cantonese people “Gung Hei Fat Choy!” which wishes the giver good wealth and prosperity in the lunar new year. As kids, me, my sister, and my cousins on my dad’s side (Cantonese) would waddle around parties collecting those brightly colored envelopes, saying “Gung Hei Fat Choy” with our terrible American accents, pocketing the money to count later, and giggling at the silliness of the phrase.

In the spirit of the new year, and to help you all prepare your Chinese New Year 2020 menu for new year’s eve and new year’s day, we’ve supplied this big “fat” Chinese New Year roundup, with menus for every skill levels to make sure you’re enjoying the holiday with plenty of good eats regardless of your comfort level as a cook or your inclination to even wander into the kitchen to begin with. Let’s get started with this easier and more manageable Chinese New Year 2020 menu – The Shortcut!

Shiitake-and-Scallion Lo Mein

Asian street-food carts sometimes serve food in banana leaves instead of using plates or bowls. Look for them at Asian markets. Here, Melissa Rubel Jacobson wraps the leaves around silky Chinese noodles.


  • 1 pound wide lo mein noodles
  • 1/4 pound snow peas, halved diagonally
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup mirin
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 pound shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded and caps thinly sliced
  • 6 scallions, cut into 1-inch lengths
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

How to Make It?

Step 1

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the noodles until tender; add the snow peas to the noodles in the last 2 minutes of cooking. Drain the noodles and snow peas and rinse under cold water until cool. In a small bowl, mix the soy sauce with the mirin and sesame oil.

Step 2

In a very large, deep skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the canola oil until shimmering. Add the shiitake and cook over moderately high heat, undisturbed, until browned, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of canola oil, the scallions and ginger and stir-fry until the scallions soften, about 3 minutes. Add the water and cook over moderate heat, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan, 1 minute. Add the noodles, snow peas and soy sauce mixture to the skillet and cook, tossing the noodles until heated through, about 2 minutes. Add the cilantro, transfer to banana leaf cones or bowls and serve.

Hot-and-Sour Soup

This silky version of the classic Chinese soup includes traditional ingredients like earthy tree ear fungus, tender bamboo shoots and lily buds.


  • 12 dried lily buds
  • 1/2 ounce dried tree ear fungus (1/4 cup)
  • 1 quart low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar, plus more for seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons medium-dark soy sauce, plus more for seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup shredded bamboo shoots
  • 1/2 cup shredded cooked chicken, pork or ham
  • 3 1/2 ounces shredded spiced thick dry tofu (1 cup)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely ground white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil Chopped scallions and cilantro, for serving

How to Make It?

Step 1

In a small bowl, cover the lily buds with boiling water and let stand until softened, about 10 minutes. Cut off and discard the tough tips. In another small bowl, cover the dried tree ear fungus with boiling water and let stand until softened, about 20 to 30 minutes. Rinse and coarsely chop.

Step 2

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, bring the broth to a boil. Add the vinegar, soy sauce and salt. In a small bowl, whisk the cornstarch with 3 tablespoons of water, then add the mixture to the boiling broth, stirring constantly. Let the broth return to a simmer and cook until soup thickens, about 3 to 4 minutes.

Step 3

Beat the eggs with a pinch of salt. Bring the soup to a full rolling boil, and using a circular motion, pour the beaten eggs into the soup. Wait 5 seconds, then turn off the heat and stir the pot to distribute the eggs throughout the soup.

Step 4

Add the lily buds, tree ear fungus, bamboo shoots, chicken, tofu and white pepper. Simmer over medium heat until the flavors meld, about 2 minutes. Season with soy sauce, vinegar and salt.

Step 5

Divide the soup among 4 bowls. Drizzle each with sesame oil and garnish with scallion and cilantro.

Mama Chang’s Stir-Fried Shrimp and Scallions

Joanne Chang’s mother used to make this sweet-and-spicy shrimp stir-fry all the time. When she was old enough to cook, Chang asked her mom for the recipe. “She hemmed and hawed until she finally gave it to me, revealing her secret ingredient: ketchup.”


  • 1 1/2 pounds shelled and deveined large shrimp
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced One 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
  • 1 large egg white
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 3/4 cup ketchup 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro

How to Make It?

Step 1

In a large bowl, toss the shrimp with the garlic, ginger, red pepper, egg white and 1 teaspoon of the cornstarch until well-coated.

Step 2

In a medium bowl, whisk the ketchup with the broth, sugar, pepper, salt and the remaining 1 teaspoon of cornstarch.

Step 3

In a very large skillet, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the shrimp and stir-fry over high heat until they begin to turn pink. Add the ketchup mixture and simmer until the shrimp are cooked, about 2 minutes. Stir in the scallions and cilantro and serve.

White-Cut Chicken

It’s traditional to serve a whole chicken, including the head and feet, for Chinese New Year. The white meat symbolizes purity, and serving the entire bird represents unity. Plunging the chicken into ice water after poaching ensures that the meat is perfectly juicy and tender. A very simple but powerful dipping sauce tops it off. Use only a tiny amount — it’s quite strong.

YIELD – Makes 8 servings (as part of a Chinese meal)

ACTIVE TIME – 30 min

TOTAL TIME – 1 1/2 hr


For chicken

  • 1 (3- to 3 1/2-lb) whole chicken (with head and feet if desired), neck (if without head) and giblets reserved for another use if desired1 bunch scallions, halved crosswise
  • 2 oz Smithfield or other cured ham (1 piece or sliced), trimmed of any spice coating
  • 6 (1/4-inch-thick) round slices peeled fresh ginger
  • 14 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves

For dipping sauce

  • 1 bunch scallions (white and pale green parts only), cut into very thin 2-inch strips
  • 3 tablespoons light soy sauce (preferably Pearl River Bridge brand)
  • 3 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated (with a rasp) peeled fresh ginger
  • well-seasoned 14-inch flat-bottomed wok
  • heavy cleaver

Special Equipment


Make chicken:

Rinse chicken inside and out, then bend legs to tuck feet (if still attached) inside cavity. Stuff cavity with scallions, ham, and ginger.
Bring water with salt to a boil in a deep 7- to 8-quart stockpot or pasta pot. Add chicken, breast side down (chicken may not be completely covered with liquid), then reduce heat and simmer, covered, 20 minutes.
Remove from heat and let stand, covered, 30 minutes. Turn chicken over and let stand, covered, 15 minutes more (chicken will be cooked through).
While chicken stands, fill a large bowl three-fourths full with ice and cold water. Carefully remove chicken from pot with a large slotted spoon and plunge into ice water to stop cooking. Let stand, gently turning over once (be careful not to tear skin), until cool, about 10 minutes total. Carefully transfer to a cutting board and discard scallions, ham, and ginger from cavity. Pat dry. Rub skin with sesame oil.

Make dipping sauce:

Stir together scallions and soy sauce in a small heatproof bowl.
Heat wok over high heat until a drop of water vaporizes instantly. Pour oil around side of wok, then tilt wok to swirl oil, coating sides. When oil just begins to smoke, carefully add ginger (oil will spatter) and stir-fry 30 seconds. Immediately remove from heat and pour over scallion mixture, stirring to combine (scallions will wilt).
To cut and serve chicken on a platter (Chinese restaurant–style), cut off the head and neck (if attached) with a cleaver and put at one end of a large platter. (These parts, along with the back and feet, aren’t always eaten.) Cut off the feet. Cut off the drumsticks and thighs, then cut crosswise through the boneinto 1-inch pieces. Place the feet and leg meat at the other end of the platter. Cut off the wings, separating them at the joints, and put on the sides of the platter. Cut through the ribs, separating breast from back, then cut the backbone crosswise into 3 pieces and put them in the center of the platter. (Striking the cleaver with a rubber mallet makes the cuts clean.) Cut the breast crosswise through the bone into 1-inch pieces and arrange on the back. Alternatively, cut chicken according to procedure and mound pieces in a bowl.
Drizzle 2 tablespoons dipping sauce over chicken and sprinkle with cilantro leaves. Serve warm or at room temperature, with remaining dipping sauce on the side.

Whole Black Bass with Ginger and Scallions

A whole fish, representing abundance, is almost always included on the celebratory Chinese table. Ours is flavored only lightly, with ginger and scallions, so as not to overpower the fresh taste of the fish. We developed an oven-steaming method to free up space on your stovetop for soup and stir-fries.

YIELD – Makes 8 servings (as part of a Chinese meal)

ACTIVE TIME – 20 min

TOTAL TIME – 50 min


  • 1 (3-lb) whole black bass or sea bass (not Chilean), cleaned, leaving head and tail intact
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 bunch scallions, white and pale green parts cut into very thin 2-inch strips and greens reserved separately
  • 1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut into very thin matchsticks
  • 3 tablespoons light soy sauce (preferably Pearl River Bridge brand)
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon peanut or vegetable oil

Special Equipment

a large shallow baking dish (about 15 by 10 inches) to fit inside a 17- by 12- by 2 1/2-inch roasting pan; heavy-duty foil; a well-seasoned 14-inch flat-bottomed wok


Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 400°F. Put baking dish in roasting pan.
Rinse fish and pat dry, then rub inside and out with salt. Transfer to baking dish and sprinkle with scallion strips (white and pale green) and ginger.
Stir together soy sauce and sugar until sugar is dissolved, then pour over fish. Add enough boiling-hot water to roasting pan to reach halfway up side of baking dish. Oil a large sheet of heavy-duty foil, then tent foil (oiled side down) over fish and tightly seal around roasting pan. Carefully transfer roasting pan to oven and bake until fish is just cooked through, 30 to 35 minutes.
While fish bakes, cut enough scallion greens diagonally into very thin slices to measure 1/2 cup (reserve remainder for another use).
Just before serving, remove foil from fish and sprinkle with scallion greens. Heat wok over high heat until a bead of water vaporizes instantly. Pour oil around side of wok, then tilt wok to swirl oil, coating side, and heat until smoking. Remove from heat and immediately pour oil over scallion greens and fish.

Deep-fried Kung Pao Chicken With Peanuts

Kung Pao Chicken, named after a court official or “Kung Pao,” is a spicy Szechuan dish made with diced chicken, peanuts and chili peppers. This recipe calls for deep-frying; for a lighter version, try Kung Pao Chicken Stir-fry.


  • 2 boneless chicken breasts (about 6 ounces each)

For the Marinade:

  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese rice wine (or dry sherry)
  • 2 teaspoons cold water
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch

For the Sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar (black or red, or red wine vinegar)
  • 1 tablespoon chicken broth (or water)
  • 3 teaspoons sugar (granulated)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3 to 4 drops sesame oil
  • 1 tsp. cornstarch

For the Stir Fry:

  • 6 to 8 small dried red chili peppers (or as desired)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup peanuts (skinless, unsalted)

Steps to Make It

Cut the chicken into 1-inch cubes.

Mix in the soy sauce, rice wine or sherry, water and cornstarch.

Marinate the chicken for 30 minutes.

In a small bowl, mix together the sauce ingredients, whisking in the cornstarch last.

Remove the seeds from the chile peppers and chop.

Peel and finely chop the garlic.

Heat the oil for deep-frying to between 360 and 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Carefully slide the chicken into the wok, and deep-fry for about 1 minute, until the cubes separate and turn white.

Remove and drain on paper towels.

Drain all but 2 tablespoons oil from the wok.

Add the chilies peppers and stir-fry until the skins starts to darken and blister.

Add the garlic.

Stir-fry until aromatic (about 30 seconds).

Add the deep-fried chicken back into the pan.

Stir-fry briefly, then push up to the sides of the wok and add the sauce in the middle, stirring quickly to thicken.

Stir in the peanuts.

Mix everything together and serve hot.

Chinese Stir-Fried Baby Bok Choy Recipe

This Chinese recipe for stir-fried baby bok choy has a sweeter flavor than when adult varieties of bok choy are used.

For a lighter taste, feel free to stir-fry the baby bok choy in olive oil. Low-sodium chicken broth can be used in place of water.


  • 4 bunches baby bok choy (1 bunch per person)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil (for stir-frying)
  • 2 slices ginger
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (or to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Few drops sesame oil

Steps to Make It

Gather the ingredients.

Wash the baby bok choy and drain.

Cut the baby bok choy in half lengthwise, then cut across into small pieces. Separate the stalks from the leaves before cooking.

Heat wok and add oil. When the oil is ready, add ginger and stir-fry briefly, for about 30 seconds, until the ginger is aromatic.​

Add the bok choy, adding the stalks first, and then the leaves.

Stir in the soy sauce, sugar, and salt, and stir-fry on high heat for 1 minute.

Add the water, cover the wok and simmer for about 2 minutes.

Stir in the sesame oil.

Serve and enjoy!

Chinese West Lake Beef Soup

If you’ve never made Chinese west lake beef soup before, this easy-to-follow recipe will serve you well. Making homemade soup allows you to cut out some of the harmful ingredients used in restaurants, such as salt and MSG. You can also tweak the ingredients to your liking. For example, instead of garnishing the soup with green onions, feel free to stir in fresh coriander leaves (cilantro) to taste. If you’re congested, have the sniffles or are generally feeling rundown, soup is a great pick-me-up. The broth can combat congestion, and if you have a cold or flu, it can help you stay hydrated. Try adding a dash of hot sauce to your cup, as the kick can do wonders for a stuffy nose.


  • 2/3 cup lean ground beef
  • 1 tbsp. light soy sauce
  • 1​ tbsp. Chinese rice wine (or dry sherry)
  • 1 tbsp. water
  • 3–6 drops sesame oil
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch
  • 4–5 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper (or to taste)
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. cornstarch mixed with 1/3 cup water (optional)
  • 2 eggs or egg whites (lightly beaten)
  • 2 green onions (green parts only, washed, drained and cut into 1-inch pieces)

Steps to Make It

In a medium bowl, add the seasonings to the ground beef, adding the cornstarch last (use your fingers to mix the cornstarch). Get the leanest cut of ground beef available at your supermarket to avoid eating extra fat.

Marinate the ground beef for 15 minutes.

While the beef is marinating, bring the chicken stock or broth to a boil. Buy a low-sodium broth if you have hypertension or a similar health problem.

Stir in the marinated ground beef, using chopsticks to break up any lumps. Look for chopsticks in your supermarket if you don’t have any. You may need to visit a Chinese market or order them online if you can’t find chopsticks locally. Add the sugar and pepper.

Bring the soup back to a boil and turn down the heat. Then simmer for a few minutes to allow the ground beef to cook. Taste and add extra salt, if needed. Garlic powder is a great substitute for salt if you want more flavor but less sodium.

If desired, add the extra 1 1/2 tablespoons of cornstarch mixed with water and stir to thicken.

Very slowly pour in the egg whites in a steady stream.

Use a fork to gently stir the eggs in a clockwise direction until they form thin streams or ribbons.

Garnish with green onion and serve.

Categories:   Christmas Cookies, Miscellanea