Chinese New Year happens on February 19th in 2015, and we’re entering the Year of the Goat. Or the Year of the Sheep. Actually, it’s the Year of the Ram – which can be a goat or sheep, so take your pick. Me, I like ’em both, but goats are among my favorite animals. Tradition describes those born in the Year of the Goat as intelligent, dependable and calm. I think all goats are individuals, but of the few I know well, like Lily, pictured below who lives at Burleigh Manor Animal Sanctuary, this is an apt description.
There are many exciting traditions associated with Chinese New Year. Perhaps you are lucky enough to live in a city that has a parade, such as San Francisco, New York or Washington DC. The splendor of a Chinese New Year parade is truly unparalleled and the dancing dragons are not to be missed. Want to participate in another great tradition? Chinese families often don’t sweep their homes on the New Year, so as not to sweep out good fortune. You can also dress in red to invite good luck into your life.
Foods Have Meaning
Many foods have special meaning during the Chinese New Year as well. Long noodles are usually hand made in Chinese families from wheat and water, but we’ve found many varieties at nearby Asian markets and even area grocery stores. The meaning of long noodles is to wish your friends and family a long life. So the longer the noodles, the longer life you are bestowing on them. Cabbage represents prosperity; scallions, closeness; peas, unity; carrots are for good luck and cashews represent gold bars. So as you can see, by serving this meal to your loved ones, you’re basically wishing them the most wonderful year ever, which is as it should be for the Year of the Goat!
The Skinny on Noodles
When you’re shopping for noodles, try the Asian section of your local grocer. You can use rice or wheat noodles and most Asian noodles cook in much less time that Italian pastas. We tried two varieties, and both cooked in less than four minutes! Be sure you don’t overdo it, the noodles get chewy. It you have a local Asian grocer, you may be able to find freshly made long noodles around Chinese New Year, which are a special treat.
Once your veggies are prepped, this dinner comes together in only a few minutes. Serve it family style with chopsticks, hot tea and a tray of fresh orange slices. Wishing you a very lucky, healthy and happy Year of the Goat!
- 2/3 cup whole cashews
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 Tbl. fresh ginger, peeled and minced
- 2 Tbl. canola oil (any high temp oil will work, like grapeseed or peanut)
- 4 carrots, peeled and julienned
- 2 bell peppers, seeded, cored and sliced (any color)
- 2 cups snow peas in pods
- 2 cups napa cabbage, sliced
- 1 bunch green onions, roots removed and sliced lengthwise
- 2 cups bean sprouts
- 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce (we like gluten-free San-J Tamari sauce)
- red pepper flakes, to taste (optional)
- 1 pacakge Chinese long noodles (you can also use rice noodles, or even linguine)
- In a dry pan over medium heat, add cashews. Toast, stirring constantly, for one or two minutes. As soon as they begin to brown lightly and become fragrant, remove from heat and set aside.
- Add garlic, ginger and oil to a large saute pan or wok over high heat. Cook until sizzling, about one minute. Add carrots, bell peppers, snow peas and napa cabbage. Stir fry until veggies start to get tender and release their juices. Keep everything moving so that no veggies burned. After 2 to four minutes, add the sliced green onions, bean sprouts, soy sauce, toasted cashews and red pepper flakes. Stir well and remove from heat. Allow to rest in pan.
- Cook the noodles according to package directions, strain and add to a large serving bowl. Top with veggie stir fry and all liquid in pan, and serve hot.
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