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January 16, 2023

All of us at Cheng & Tsui would like to wish you and your language loving friends, family, students, and teachers a healthy and prosperous Spring Festival, and year ahead. Please enjoy our staff's own recipes which they commonly prepare and enjoy eating during the Spring Festival. Read below the recipes and some warm anecdotes which go with our recipes, each one from a different staff member; a new recipe will be added each week day until the end of January. Come again to see more recipes!

Be sure to visit our store to enjoy 20%* off by using code LNY2023 now thru February 5, 2023. (Not valid on resale or for 3 or more copies of the same title. Discount not valid with any other offer.)




Please find my homemade dumplings recipe below. This is THE dish for me for Chinese new year, and the one I cook very well. I tried to be as succinct as possible, but it might still look long. Anyway, here you go.



Cabbage/celery/chives and pork boiled dumplings



Boiled dumplings meaning: reunion, luck, fortune


Traditional custom: All family members during New Year’s eve make and eat dumplings together for the New Year’s eve meal, inside one dumpling put a coin and save it to eat for the first meal of the next day, whoever eats that one dumpling with the money inside means they will have one year of luck.


Ingredients: 500 grams of flour, cabbage or celery or chives, 100 grams of ham, 500 grams of minced pork, one egg, green onion, ginger, garlic, cilantro, salt, soy sauce, sesame oil, chili oil

制作:1. 先把一个鸡蛋放进碎肉里搅拌均匀;在切碎的葱、姜、火腿里加入生抽和香油搅拌好,再拌进碎肉,把做成的肉馅用保鲜膜包好,放进冰箱放几个小时备用。2. 面粉加温水和一点儿盐和成面团,用保鲜膜包好放一个小时备用。3. 把白菜、韭菜或者芹菜剁碎入碗,放少许盐,把菜汁挤出来(可以把菜汁搅进肉馅里),然后把菜搅拌进肉馅,这样饺子馅就做好了。4. 把醒好的面团分成几个面团,揉成长条,切成小块,再用擀杖擀成圆形的饺子皮备用。5. 把每个饺子皮放入馅儿包成饺子,放到盘子里。6. 把切碎的葱、蒜和香菜加入少许生抽、香油和辣椒油,用一勺开水烫一下做成蘸料。7. 把半锅水煮开,放入饺子,等水再次烧开,加入一杯冷水,然后等水再沸腾的时候饺子就煮好了。8. 把煮好的饺子放入盘中,加上蘸料,就可以享用了。

Directions: 1. First mix an egg with the minced pork meat; cut up green onion, ginger, and ham and add soy sauce and sesame oil and mix well together, mix in the minced pork, wrap the mixed filling in plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator for a few hours for later use. 2. Mix together the flour with warm water and a bit of salt to make the dough, wrap in plastic wrap and put aside for one hour. 3. Cut up the cabbage, celery, or chives, and add a bit of salt to take out the liquid from the vegetable (if you want you can also put the liquid into the filling), then add the vegetables into the filling, and the filling is ready to use. 4. Separate the matured dough into a few pieces, roll each piece into long strips, cut the strips into small pieces, roll the small pieces with a rolling pin into circles to use for dumpling skin. 5. Put an amount of filling into each dumpling skin and make the dumplings, put aside on a plate. 6. Cut up green onion, garlic, and cilantro, add a small amount of soy sauce, sesame oil, and chili oil, mix all together with one spoonful of boiling water and the sauce to eat the dumplings with is ready. 7. Bring half a pot of water to a boil, put the dumplings into the boiling water, when the water starts to boil again, add one glass of cold water, when the water starts to boil again the dumplings are ready. 8. Put the boiled dumplings on a plate, add the sauce, and they are ready to be enjoyed and eaten.





For Chinese people celebrating the Spring Festival, “New Year’s eve food” must not exclude fish! Why? “Fish” and “surplus” have the exact same pronunciation, so “every year has fish” sounds exactly the same as “every year has surplus,” which brings the meaning of each year having enough and excess. While many Chinese people like to eat fish while celebrating the New Year, China has 8 major regional cuisines, and moreover has many local culinary specialties, so making fish comes in many forms and appearances. Today, let’s teach everyone one kind, easy and delicious: braised fish!


1. 先在洗干净的鱼里加上料酒、盐、酱油、醋、姜和花椒,把鱼肉腌入味。

2. 然后把黑木耳泡发,切成小片。

3. 再在锅里放一点油,等油烧热以后,把腌好的鱼放进锅里炸到表面变成金黄色。然后把鱼捞出来以后沥油。

4. 接下来,在锅里放入姜、蒜、干辣椒段,炒出香味以后把炸好的鱼放进去。

5. 然后把黑木耳也放进锅里,加上料酒、酱油、一点儿盐、糖、胡椒粉、和一些水,把汤汁煮到浓稠。

6. 最后,再在锅里加一些水淀粉,进行勾芡,然后把火开大收汁。在鱼上撒一点葱花以后就可以装盘了!

1. First on the washed and cleaned fish add cooking wine, salt, soy sauce, vinegar, ginger, and pepper corns, to marinate the fish.

2. Then cut black wood fungus into small strips.

3. Put a bit of oil into a wok, when the oil is hot put the marinated fish into the wok and fry until it’s golden in color. Then take the fish our and pour out the excess oil.

4. Next, put in the wok ginger, garlic, and dried chili peppers, and fry until there is a fragrant smell, then put the fried fish again into the wok.

5. Then put the black wood fungus strips into the wok, add cooking wine and soy sauce, a bit of salt, sugar, and crushed pepper, and some water, cook until the soup thickens.

6. Finally, add some starch into wok, turn the fire to high to condense the liquid. Cut up some green onions and sprinkle over the fish, then it’s ready to serve!



How does it sound? Have you learned this easy and delicious dish, and its beautiful meaning? During the Spring Festival, try making a dish of braised fish! I wish everyone to have surplus each year!




皮蛋豆腐 Tofu with preserved eggs


Pídàn dòufu is an easy dish which requires hardly any cooking, uses very few ingredients, will be ready quickly, and is delicious! Whenever your meal needs an extra side dish or if you are thinking of adding another dish for company, this is a great dish which everyone likes to eat.

I think it should take around 10 minutes to prepare this dish.



Silk tofu (one full package)(1盒鲜豆腐/嫩豆腐)

6 Pídàn (preserved eggs) (6个皮蛋)

Green onions (a few pieces) (几许小葱)

Garlic (half clove) (半瓣大蒜)

Sesame seeds (芝麻)

Sugar (糖)

Salt (盐)

Vinegar (醋)

Oil (油)

Soy sauce (生抽)

Oyster sauce (蚝油)


1. Cut the tofu into 1-2 centimeter cubes with a sharp knife. Arrange them into a pile of cubes on a dinner plate leaving about 2 inches around the edge of the plate, doesn’t need to look orderly.

2. With a sharp knife cut each preserved egg into 4-6 pieces from top to bottom, so you end up with long, boat shaped slices, like orange slices. Arrange them around the tofu on the plate.

3. Smash the garlic and cut into tiny pieces. Put the garlic and an equal amount of sesame seeds (about as much as the minced garlic) into a small bowl together.

4. Cut the green onions into small pieces, smaller than 1 centimeter, or as small as you can cut them, and put to the side.

5. Heat a small amount of oil (just one thin layer of a very small frying pan) until the oil starts to smoke, not too long. Then, carefully pour the hot oil over the garlic and sesame seeds.

6. After a few seconds, add just the point of a spoon of salt, the same amount of sugar, one spoonful of vinegar, one spoonful of soy sauce, and one spoonful of oyster sauce. Also add the chopped green onions.

7. Mix the bowl for a few seconds and then pour the bowl over the tofu.

8. Ready!




Here is the Chinese New Year recipe I’d like to share: 炸藕盒 Crispy Stuffed Lotus Root with Pork


Lotus root or “Ou” is a vegetable common in Chinese cuisine. It’s tasty and nutritious, and symbolizes virtue despite adversity, since lotus roots grow in the mud while remaining pure inside. Lotus root can be eaten raw or cooked.


The dish “Crispy Stuffed Lotus Root with Pork” is a popular recipe for daily or festive occasions. The basic steps are: 1) mix ground pork with soy sauce, salt, cooking wine, scallion, and cornstarch to making the filling; set aside for a little while; 2) peel the lotus root and cut it into thin slices (another way is to cut it into thicker pieces, and then slice in the middle but keep the end connected to create a “shell”---this is more technically demanding; in general slicing lotus root is not an easy task, so be very careful with your fingers!); 3) put the pork filling on one lotus root slice, and then put another slice on top with a little squeeze like making a sandwich; or, if the lotus root is cut into shells, stuff the meat in the middle --- don’t add too much filling, otherwise the shell may break; 4) mix flour, salt, and water; stir slowly to make batter; 5) steep the stuffed lotus root in the batter and then fry until them are golden---this will take about 6-7 minutes, flip in the middle (a healthier option is to use an airfryer).  


The Chinese name of the dish is Ou He, and embody the New Year wish “He Jia Xing Fu” 阖家幸福 (Happiness to the whole family). It will be a wonderful addition to your family banquet on the eve of the Chinese New Year!


(Below is a very detailed English recipe with many images--- sorry for the popup ads on the web page:




Braised Pork Belly (红烧肉)

Braised Pork Belly is a well-known dish in China, and there are many kinds of cooking recipes, I would like to cook the simple and original version.

The ingredients: pork belly, fried tofu puff, oil, granulated sugar, wine, soy sauce, dark soy sauce; Salt.

The instructions:

1)      Cut the pork belly into ¾-inch thick pieces.

2)      put them into the pot of boiled water for 3-5 minutes, then take them out, and put them aside.

3)     Melt the sugar in the heated pot ( at low heat), and add the pork, then cook till the pork is browned ( adjust the heat to medium ), stirring pork from time to time.

4)     Added the wine, soy sauce, dark soy sauce, and salt. (not too much)

5)     Covered and heated for 45 minutes (at medium heat), watched, and stirred it from time to time.

6)     or you can use the rice cooker, which is the same way as cooking rice.  

Wow… it’s simple and easy to learn. Let’s make it one major dish for the Banquet of Chinese New Year.




芋儿烧鸡 Sichuan-style stewed baby taro chicken


This is a dish I learned while living in Chengdu. It’s usually more of a restaurant food, but it works wonderfully for a family meal, and it keeps well in the fridge for a few days, so it’s handy if you need to make something ahead of time. The person who taught me to make it was a Chengdu local, but she had lived in Canada for a while, and some of her cooking was a bit Western-influenced (thus, this recipe uses Chicken breast instead of a whole chicken or boney bits). It’s not exactly a Spring Festival dish, but it’s warm and hearty and a great choice for a cold winter evening.



2 lbs. chicken breast, cut into large chunks

2 medium-sized leeks, cut into 1-inch trapezoids

1 bulb of garlic, peeled

2 heaping tablespoons of Pixian broad bean paste 郫县豆瓣酱

6-8 baby taros, peeled and cut into 2-inch trapezoids

3 2-inch strips of ginger, smashed



3-5 whole dry chilis, or to taste

1 stick cinnamon

3-5 star anise

1 tsp fennel

2 tsp Sichuan peppercorns 花椒

3-5 pieces of dried kencur/Thai ginger 山奈

*If you don’t have these spices, substitute 2 tsp of five spice mix


Heat oil in a large wok until hot. Add leeks and garlic, reduce heat to medium and sauté until most of the water has left the leeks (5-10 minutes).  Add chicken and stir-fry until the chicken is mostly cooked through (7-10 minutes). Add ginger and spices and cook until fragrant (1-2 minutes). Add Pixian broad bean paste and stir to mix well (1-2 minutes). Add taro and stir, then add enough water to cover all ingredients, and turn the heat to high to bring the water to a boil. After boiling, reduce heat and simmer for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until the chicken easily pulls apart. Remove the ginger and cinnamon after about 45 minutes.

Serve with rice, and garnish with cilantro, scallions, and/or fresh basil.


Variation #1: Vegetarian. Leave out the chicken. After simmering for 45 minutes, add four large portobello mushrooms, cut into large strips.

Variation #2: Zero-spiciness. If you don’t like spice dishes, leave out the dry chilis. If you have zero tolerance for spiciness, leave out the Pixian broad bean paste. After the wok has been simmering for 30 minutes or so, add your favorite soy sauce until you reach the desired level of saltiness.


珍珠糯米丸子 Pearl glutinous rice balls



All needed materials:

200克糯米或 寿司米,350克去皮五花肉,4朵新鲜香菇,25克新鲜荸荠,8克嫩姜,20克葱,4克白胡椒粉,20克生抽,半勺盐,半勺糖,一勺玉米淀粉


200 grams of glutinous rice or sushi rice, 350 grams of peeled pork belly, 4 fresh mushrooms, 25 grams of fresh water chestnuts, 8 grams of young ginger, 20 grams of shallots, 4 grams of white pepper, 20 grams of soy sauce, half a spoonful of salt, half a spoonful of sugar , a spoonful of cornstarch

(This is the material for 32 meatballs, which can be increased or decreased in the same proportion as needed.)









1. Soak glutinous rice in water for 1 hour.

2. Chop pork belly, shiitake mushrooms, water chestnuts, scallions and ginger, add white pepper, light soy sauce, salt, sugar, cornstarch, and stir clockwise.

3. Divide the filling into about 32 portions evenly, and form into ball-shaped balls.

4. Drain the glutinous rice, put it into a large bowl, and pour in the meatballs. Shake the bowl so that the meatballs are covered with glutinous rice.

5. Boil water in a steamer, steam for 30 minutes after the water boils.




Symbolic meaning:

Eating these balls of food while celebrating the New Year symbolizes reunion, delight, and happiness. Whether they are  fried radish balls, steamed glutinous rice balls, braised Sixi balls, or boiled fish balls, all over China for the New Year’s eve meal, on the table there is always a kind of ball of food waiting for you!



West Lake Soup 西湖牛肉羹

I like to make West Lake Beef Soup right before and during the Lunar New Year. It's a recipe from Chichi Wang that I like and made a few times. I find the soup very comforting and I love the cilantro flavor and the egg white.

Below is the recipe for this tasty beef soup:



8 ounces ground pork or minced beef

Pinch of Kosher salt

1 tablespoon light soy sauce

2 tablespoons Shaoxing rice wine

6 cups homemade or store-bought low-sodium or sodium free chicken broth

5 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 1/4 cup water, to form a paste

4 egg whites, lightly beaten

1/4 teaspoon white pepper

1 1/4 cups finely chopped cilantro


1.  In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine meat with 1 teaspoon salt, soy sauce, and rice wine and set aside.

2.  Combine broth and cornstarch paste in a 3-quart saucepan and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until broth comes to a boil and thickens slightly. Reduce heat to a bare simmer.

3.  Add the marinated ground beef stirring to break it up as you add it. When the meat is just cooked (about 30 seconds for meat), add egg whites by drizzling them into the simmering broth and stirring the broth around slowly with a pair of chopsticks. When egg whites are solidified, about 30 seconds longer, turn off the heat. Add white pepper and more salt to taste. Add chopped cilantro and stir around to incorporate. Serve immediately.