Congratulations to The Recessionista (Mary C. Hall) and Sharon Seto – Winners for my CNY Recipe Contest 2012

For the second consecutive year, I ran my Chinese New Year Recipe Contest where participants could submit their favorite recipe for celebrating the holiday along with the reason why they love it so much. The contest took place during Chinese New Year (January 19 – Feb 5), with entrees placed on our Facebook page.

This year, we decided to have two winners (Mary C. Hall, aka The Recessionista, and Sharon Seto) as each one had compelling recipes and stories.  They will each now receive my Chinese Pantry Kit and Farina’s Asian Pantry iPhone/iPad App to help start them on their way to cooking great Asian food at home!

Below are their two stories followed by their recipes so you may try them as well.

Recessionista Chinese New Year "Cheap & Cheerful Noodles"

Mary C. Hall – The Recessionista Blogger: Her “Cheap & Cheerful Noodles” is an easy recipe that can be made with ordinary ingredients from the grocery store. It’s an original recipe tested on her family. The sauce and the noodles make the dish so delicious that kids don’t mind eating the eggplant and peas that are part of the recipe. This is very kid-friendly recipe … including having been endorsed by her seven year old nephew who has Autism and follows a Gluten- free diet (and adores rice noodles and quinoa noodles in this dish).

Winner, Sharon Seto, with her Husband David, Celebrating Chinese New Year

Sharon Seto: She raved about her mom who was a fabulous cook and who loved to entertain her family and friends.  Often times on weekends, her mom would have up to 100 people in her home for lively gatherings. There were MJ tables, Card tables, Karoke, and even ballroom dancing! For her guests, her mom’s dinners were the highlight!  During Chinese New Year, or other special occasions, her mom would make these very special Wu Gok dumplings.

Below are their respective recipes – enjoy!

Mary C. Hall’s “Cheap & Cheerful Noodles” Recipe
Freshly minced or pressed garlic
Fresh ginger, minced
Sesame Oil
Rice Wine Vinegar
Soy Sauce
Jiff Creamy Peanut Butter
Louisiana Hot Sauce
1 package rice noodles or 1 package ( 8 oz) Ancient Harvest Organic QUINOA Noodles.
4 chicken breasts cut into small chunks
Olive Oil
Frozen green peas to add at the end.
1 Bunch Fresh Cilantro

Start your cooking by making the sauce, while you let a pot of water boil on the stove to cook the noodles.

Ingredients to Make the Sauce:
2 cloves freshly minced or pressed garlic
1 piece fresh ginger, minced
3 Tbsp Sesame Oil
1/3 cup Rice wine Vinegar
1/4 cup (1/3 if you like more salt flavor) Soy Sauce
1 Heaping Tablespoon of Jiff Creamy Peanut Butter
1 Tablespoon Sherry
2 teaspoons Louisiana Hot Sauce

Combine all ingredients together, one by one, in the order listed in a small metal mixing bowl.
Whisk the sauce to combine the peanut butter smoothly.

When you’ve finished mixing your sauce, start chopping and preparing the cooked ingredients that you will add to your noodles. This can be done while your noodles boil on the stove.
Boil in salted water: 1 package rice noodles or 1 package ( 8 oz) Ancient Harvest Organic QUINOA Noodles. While noodles are boiling, saute the vegetables and the chicken.

Ingredients to add to the Noodles
1 Eggplant peeled and diced
4 chicken breasts cut into small chunks
2 cloves fresh garlic
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Sesame Oil
3 handfuls frozen green peas to add at the end
1 Bunch Fresh Cilantro

In a saute pan on medium heat, saute the garlic in the olive oil until it starts to brown just a bit. Add the chicken and cook it approximately 2 minutes, until the chicken meat starts to turn white and then turn to the other side. Add the Tablespoon of Sesame Oil. Next, stir in the eggplant to saute it as the chicken continues to cook. The eggplant will cook down and add moisture to keep the chicken from drying out. Cook the mixture approximately 5-7 minutes, and stir to cook evenly.

Once the chicken and eggplant is cooked, stir in the peas to add color, and reduce the heat. It will only take 2-3 minutes to cook the peas. They cook quickly.

By now, your noodles should be cooked (follow package directions for boiling time.) Drain the noodles in a colander (noodle strainer), and rinse gently with some cool water. Let them stand a minute or 2 to drain.
Then return them to the empty but still warm pot you cooked them in. Poor the sauce into the pot with the noodles and blend gently. Then fold in the chicken, eggplant and peas.

Finally, add in a 1/2 cup of the freshly chopped cilantro. Pour the whole dish into an elegant serving dish or plate, and top it with the remaining chopped cilantro for color.
Top with a little freshly ground pepper and serve!

Sharon Seto Celebrates The Year of the Dragon

Sharon Seto’s Wu Gok Dumplings Recipe

The Skin
1 Yam, about 1 1/3 pounds
9 tables spoons tapioca starch
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 tablespoon five spice powder
1 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
3/4 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 teaspoon salt

Oil for deep frying

The Filling
Mix all ingredients below in a large bowl and put in refrigerator.
9 ounces Char Siu (or stir fried ground pork, lightly flavored with salt and touch of sesame), diced
1 small onion, diced fine
1 small carrot, diced
1/3 cup frozen peas, thawed
1/2 cup oyster sauce
1/2 teaspoon five-spice powder
3/4 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons Kikkoman soy sauce
1 tablespoon cornstarch

1) With a peeler, remove skin off the yam and cut into pieces to steam in a pot for about half hour over boiling water until soft. Mash the yam and set aside in a bowl.
2) On a clean surface, mix tapioca starch with boiling water gradually and knead to form a dough.
3) Put in shortening, five spice powder, sesame oil, sugar, white pepper and salt with the dough. Mix together well and divide in 12 parts. Flatten the portions into a circle.
4) Place fillings in the center for each flatten circle. Seal the circle by pinching the ends together to form a half circle dumpling.
5) Heat oil in a deep wok. When oil is ready, fry the dumplings until it is golden brown.