Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Ling Ling. All opinions expressed in my post are my own. Find Ling Ling products with the store locator.
Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year is the biggest holiday in China. A time for family and friends to gather together, the holiday celebrates the incoming new year with hopes of good luck and prosperity. The celebration lasts for 15 days, and the start date varies from year to year. The first day of the holiday is based on the Chinese lunar new year calendar and always falls between January 21 and February 20.
I grew up in a Chinese-American household where we celebrated Chinese New Year. Now that I have my own family, we celebrate the holiday by passing down traditions which include eating Chinese New Year symbolic foods.
One of the must-eat foods we cook every year is potstickers, which are dumplings traditionally filled with meat and vegetables. Known in Chinese as jiăo zi (饺子), they symbolize wealth as the potsticker is in the shape of historical Chinese silver and gold ingots. Eating these represent the hope to bring in wealth for the new year. Another symbolic food is rice (mĭ, 米). Rice is a staple in Chinese cuisine and represents prosperity and abundance.
Ling Ling Asian Entrees
This year we cooked Ling Ling Asian Entrees as part of our Chinese New Year celebration. The entrees, found in the frozen aisle in grocery stores, provide convenience in our busy lives. They’re not only delicious but also quick and easy to cook.
Ling Ling potstickers feature chicken or pork and vegetables stuffed in a dumpling wrapper. Each package includes Ling Ling’s signature dipping sauce. Ling Ling Fried Rice offers five unique Asian-inspired dishes from China, Japan, Korea, and Thailand. Available flavors include Chinese-Style Vegetable, Yakitori Chicken, Yakiniku Beef, Thai-Style Chicken, and Bibimbap Beef.
We try the Ling Ling Pork and Vegetable dumplings and the Ling Ling Chinese-Style Vegetable Fried Rice. My kids make sure to wear their traditional Chinese outfits to get in the Chinese New Year celebratory spirit. The kids love the flavor of the potstickers and fried rice and enjoy the fun challenge of picking up each potsticker with chopsticks. Even more so, they love receiving hóng bāo (红包), or lucky money. For Chinese New Year, adults traditionally give children these red envelopes with money. The red color represents good luck.
Try This Potsticker Recipe
I created a Chinese New Year-inspired recipe called Potsticker Ramen Noodle Soup using Ling Ling potstickers. I was influenced by a version that my mom makes at home.
The recipe includes vegetables which add color as well as a healthy aspect to the dish. It’s a versatile dish that can use any vegetables. I use matchstick carrots (thinly-cut carrots) and spinach, but you can use peas, peppers, edamame or whatever else is on hand. If using “harder” vegetables like carrots, you will need to add these earlier in the cooking process to allow them enough time to soften. “Softer” vegetables like spinach will cook very quickly, so add them at the end.
For the potstickers, I add five of them. This is the max number I would add. Adding more may prevent the water from covering them when cooking. I avoid four potstickers because “4” is an unlucky number in Chinese. Why? Because the Chinese word for 4 (sì) sounds similar to the pronunciation of the word meaning death (sĭ).
I use ramen noodles in the recipe because they’re inexpensive, tasty, quick to make and filling. Noodles symbolize long life in Chinese, so don’t cut or break the strands!
Eggs symbolize fertility. During Chinese New Year people dye eggs red for good luck. This recipe uses one egg. The technique I use is similar to the one for Egg Drop Soup. Drizzle the beaten egg slowly into the boiling liquid while stirring constantly. This will create thin “strands.” If you don’t stir it enough while adding the egg, the egg mixture may clump into little pieces. This is fine as well. Either way, the egg makes for a thicker, heartier, and tastier soup.
Hope you enjoy this recipe. Happy New Year (新年快乐)!