Saturday, February 7, 2009

Chinese New Year Feast

Lucky cat

Gung ho fat choy! Happy New Year! Today is February 7th, which is the day of the Chinese New Year Festival & Parade in San Francisco! This year is the year of the Ox, which is JP's year, and since Kelly was going to be staying with us in Berkeley for the weekend, we decided to make a little Chinese New Year feast and celebrate!

Chinese Spring Rolls (unfried)
Chinese Spring Rolls

Hot & sour soup
Hot and Sour Cabbage Soup

Chinese savory crepes (more like pancakes)
Chinese savory crepes

Kelly and I (with some help from JP) made the Chinese spring rolls and Chinese savory crepes from The Asian Vegan Kitchen by Hema Parekh. I'd heard nothing but good things about this cookbook but was nervous to give anything a try; I'd never really done any but the easiest, most Americanized Asian cooking, and her authentic recipes often use equally authentic ingredients. I chose the spring rolls and crepes because they seemed easy, used ingredients that are readily available in these parts, and nicely complimented my choice of soup, VeganYumYum's hot & sour cabbage soup, and the soup and spring rolls used some of the same ingredients, which was convenient.

Happily, we found everything we needed to make these at the farmer's market, except the spring roll wrappers, which were procured earlier in the month at Berkeley Bowl, and the mung bean sprouts, which I was too lazy to go look for anywhere else, so we just left them out, and the spring rolls were tasty anyway. All three recipes were very easy to make, and were only time-consuming due to prep work, i.e., lots of chopping! My only complaint was that the savory crepes recipe needed almost double the amount of water called for. Our crepes turned out more like pancakes. They were still insanely delicious, but probably would have spread more with added water.

Chopping vegetables for soup

Everything tasted so yummy! The recipe called for deep-frying the spring rolls, but as I don't own a deep fryer (ugh, I would die within a week of self-induced saturated fat poisoning), we shallow fried half the spring rolls and left the other half unfried. We actually preferred the unfried ones. They're filled with a tasty mixture of cabbage, shiitake mushrooms, carrot, and leek, and tasted very yum dipped in a store-bought peanut sauce.

The crepes/pancakes were the hit of the evening! Basically just scallions and flour, they were so simple, yet so tasty! We ate these with a bottled plum sauce we picked up at the Thai market.

The soup really hit the spot, and would be great for any sicky-poos out there trying to beat the flu into submission: it's definitely on the HOT side of "hot & sour"! Plus it makes a HUUUGE pot of soup, which = lots of leftovers!

Chinese New Year Feast

We definitely can't wait to do this again next year, and I'm excited to try more recipes from The Asian Vegan Kitchen!

The two chefs!

Happy Year of the Ox, everyone!

Our happy little new year's shrine with sauce!)


Jenna said...

Awww. That is a wicked cute picture.

miss v said...

those spring rolls look delish1

michelle said...

Ohh, I have that book too, and have also been scared to try stuff. I have only made the vegetable pancakes (which were super-yummy). I have to try more recipes from there! Everything of yours looks great!

Mandee said...

Looks like a great feast and I love your lucky cat ornaments!

allularpunk said...

i love the chinese feast! especially those savory pancakes, omg.

Mihl said...

I can't tell you how much I love that book. Everything you made from it looks so good. I still have to try those crepes.

Melisser; the Urban Housewife said...

That is SO fun! Everything looks delicious.