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.)



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.