A Chinese feast

Table full of Chinese foodThe weekend of Chinese New Year, I wanted to do traditional Chinese New Year food. However, I didn’t want to work too hard at it. I thought about making dumplings (AKA potstickers or gyoza), but I’ve done that before, and while they came out delicious, it was a LOT of work. Even in my pre-gluten-free days, when I could just buy wonton wraps at the store, dumplings were labour intensive. When you factor in having to make all the wraps as well as the fillings, then form and fry/steam the dumplings, it becomes a huge undertaking. So that was out.

Next, I thought about making gluten-free barbecue pork buns, which I have also done before using more or less the recipe linked to in this sentence (I followed the directions for the bun part but made up my own low-FODMAP filling), but that too was pretty fiddly. I also rejected the idea of making turnip cake because I’d have to go to the Asian grocery store to look for rice flour and daikon, and besides, my husband is allergic to shrimp and lap cheong, with its inimitable taste, is typically not gluten-free.

The more I researched, though, the more it became clear the Chinese New Year foods that most readily popped to mind for me were far from the only ones. In fact, it seemed like almost any Chinese dish could be considered a New Year dish. So I decided to do what was tasty, easy and would create enough leftovers that I wouldn’t have to cook for a few days. On the weekend menu: kung pao chicken, gingery tofu vegetable stir-fry, mu shu duck, steamed aromatic fish, almond cookies, and “ants climbing a tree” (Sunday lunch). Yeah! Continue reading

Kids’ activities – China

Blue and purple dragon made of construction paper, with zigzag bodyMy four-year-old and I celebrated Chinese New Year last week (for an explanation, see Gung Haggis Fat Choy) by making a super easy dragon craft out of two sheets of construction paper. You need:

  • Two sheets of different coloured construction paper (You could use three to make dragon reversible, in which case you’ll need two sheets to be the same colour. If you do this you’ll need to cut two identical heads and tails.)
  • Two straws, popsicle sticks or disposable chopsticks
  • Tape (necessary)
  • Glue (optional)
  • Scissors
  • Two smallish squares of cardboard, slightly smaller than the head and the widest part of the tail
  • Crayons and/or markers
    Continue reading