Chinese New Year Recipes for Kids

This year the Chinese lunar new year begins on February 10 and 2013 is the Year of the Snake. This is a great way for kids to celebrate Chinese culture and Chinese food. Kids can try these easy Chinese new year recipes and have fun, too!

Long Life Noodle Egg Drop Soup

Noodles represent long life in China and throughout Asia. For good luck, make "long life" noodles - and make sure you don't cut them! Egg drop soup (egg flower soup) is a popular soup in China and is often made for Chinese new year. This is a recipe kids and teens love to eat and it's easy to make.

6 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper (I prefer white, but you can use black)
1 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled
1 teaspoon sesame oil
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 green onions, sliced
8 cups water for boiling
1 8-ounce package thin egg noodles, dried (found at Asian grocer)

In a large pot add chicken broth, soy sauce, pepper and ginger. Bring to a boil. Remove ginger. Add sesame oil.

In a separate pot, bring water to a boil. Add noodles and cook for about 4 minutes, separating noodles using chopsticks. When done, drain noodles and rinse in cold water. Place noodles in 6 separate large soup bowls.

Crack eggs and lightly beat in a small bowl. Stir soup in a circular motion. Slowly pour egg in soup and cook the "ribbons" for about 1 minute.

Pour soup into each bowl. Garnish with green onions on top. Serve while hot.

Fuss Free Fried Rice

This is a super-easy fried rice recipe that's perfect for Chinese new year. It's best to use leftover rice as it will be drier and easier to re-fry than freshly cooked rice.

2 cups leftover cooked white rice (refrigerated overnight)
1 cup chicken breast strips, chopped ham or shrimp
3 tablespoons vegetable or peanut oil
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1 carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 green onion, thinly sliced

Heat wok or fry pan, add 1 tablespoon oil and add beaten eggs. Tilt wok or pan to spread the omelette around. Let cook, then turn. Remove from pan and let cool. Roll up omelette and slice. Set aside.

Add 1 tablespoon oil to wok. Add garlic and chicken strips, ham or shrimp. Stir fry for 2-3 minutes. Remove and set aside.

Add 1 tablespoon oil to wok. Add carrots and peas and stir fry for about 2 minutes. Add rice to wok and stir fry, breaking up any lumpy pieces of rice. Stir in egg and chicken. Add soy sauce. Mix well. Sprinkle green onion on top to garnish.

Chinese Golden Money Bags

Chinese new year is a time to wish friends and family a happy and prosperous new year. These fried wontons look like little money bags and represent good luck and lots of money for the new year.

1/2 pound ground pork
1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 pound shrimp, shelled and deveined
1 teaspoon ginger, minced
3 teaspoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar or white vinegar
sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1-2 packages wonton wrappers
oil for deep frying

Note: If wonton wrappers are frozen, remove from refrigerator 1 hour before you begin making the filling.

Shell and devein shrimp, then chop into small pieces. Combine shrimp, beef and pork in a bowl. Add ginger, soy sauce, vinegar, white pepper, and a splash of sesame oil. Mix well using your hands.

Next take the wonton wrappers and carefully peel off one wrapper. Take a slightly damp towel and cover the remaining wonton wrappers to keep them from drying out.

Now it's time to fill the money bags. Place a spoonful of filling in the middle of the wrapper. Pull the wonton wrapper up so it looks like a stuffed money bag and twist and pinch to seal (it will look like a drawstring bag).

Now it's time to deep fry your money bags. First heat oil for deep frying to 350F (180C) degrees. Add money bags a batch at a time, turning occasionally. They should cook through in about 2 minutes, but make sure they are a lovely golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

Serve for Chinese new year with a sweet and sour sauce for dipping.

Half Moon Pork Dumplings "Jiaozi"

Families in China spend hours together preparing pork dumplings for the new year's celebration. Make ahead and refrigerate, then boil when you're ready to eat. While wonton wrappers are square and thin, jiaozi (or gyoza) wrappers are thicker and round. They become clear when boiled and look like a Chinese ravioli.

1-2 packages dumpling wrappers (jiaozi or gyoza)
1 pound ground pork
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon ginger, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1 bunch fresh chives, chopped finely

Dipping Sauce:

rice vinegar
1 clove garlic minced
dash of white pepper

Note: If dumpling wrappers are frozen, remove from refrigerator 1 hour before you begin making the filling.

In a bowl combine ground pork, soy sauce, ginger, garlic white pepper, and chives. Use hands to mix together.

Get a small bowl of water. Carefully peel off one dumpling wrapper at a time. Take a slightly damp towel and cover the remaining dumpling wrappers to keep them from drying out.

Spoon a small amount (about 1 tablespoon) of the filling into the middle of dumpling wrapper, one at a time. Dip your fingers into the bowl of water and carefully Wet the edges of the dumpling (careful not to get it too wet though). Then fold the dumpling wrapper over the filling into a half moon shape. Pinch edges with your fingers to seal the dumpling so the filling won't come out while you're cooking them).

These dumplings are delicious boiled, a Chinese tradition on special occasions such as new year. Bring a large stockpot of water to a boil. Once the water is boiling, add about 8 dumplings to the water. The dumplings will fall to the bottom of the pot and the water will stop boiling. Bring the water to a boil again, then add another 1/2 cup of cold water. When the water boils again, the dumplings will float to the top of the water and turn translucent (clear). This means they are done. Remove them one at a time using a slotted spoon and drain. (Dumplings can also be partly boiled, then fried for a crispier dumpling.)

It is best to serve boiled dumplings hot, so my family eat them as they're cooked. Serve with steamed white rice and dipping sauce. Of course, you must eat them with chop sticks, but be careful, they're slippery!

Have a Chinese new year recipe of your own? Please tell us about it!

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