Chinese New Year


We all look to see our zodiac sign every time we see a placemat in a Chinese Restaurant. This year, 2020 is the Yar of the Rat. No cooking with this rodent- just celebrated with coins and pictures. The true celebration is the dance of the dragon, the lighting of the Chinese lanterns and of course a wonderful spread for friends to enjoy. Remember your luck is high during Chinese New Year so an extra lottery ticket might bring you an emperor’s chest of gold.

Here are a few of my favorite dishes to serve. All are easily adjusted to quadruple. Just be careful with the Singapore noodles. Pouring boiling water over 2 packs at a time and let them sit, using a fork to keep separating them in a bowl for 2 minutes. Drain, rinse with cold water remove from bowl and redo any batch if needed.


Singapore Street Noodles 

serves 4

Stir Fry

  • 6 oz dried rice vermicelli noodles
  • 4 TBsp peanut oil, separated
  • Thinly sliced boneless chicken or shrimp
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1medium onion, thinly sliced (yellow, brown or white)
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tsp ginger, freshly grated
  • 1lb / 50g Chinese barbecue pork (Char Siu), thinly
  • 2 cups red / bell pepper
  • 2 tsp thinly sliced jalapeno-seeds removed (optional)
  • 2 teaspoon curry powder


  1. Combine the Sauce ingredients in a small bowl and mix.
  2. Place rice vermicelli noodles in a large bowl filled with boiled water and soak as per packet instructions. Drain and set aside.
  3. Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a wok or heavy based fry pan over medium heat. Add the shrimp/prawns, cook until just cooked – about 2 1/2 to 3 minutes. Remove and set aside.
  4. Add the egg and spread it out to make a thin omelette. Once set, use a spatula to roll it up, remove from the wok and slice (while still rolled up).
  5. Return the wok to medium heat and add the remaining 1 tbsp of oil. Add the garlic, ginger and onion, cook for 2 minutes until onion is slightly softened. Add curry powder
  6. Add capsicum and cook for 1 minute.
  7. Add noodles and Sauce, give it a few tosses. Then add the egg, pork, shrimp/prawns, chillies (if using). Toss until the sauce coats all the noodles and everything is heated through – about 1 to 2 minutes.
  8. Serve immediately.

Recipe Notes:

  1. Soy – Use gluten free or light soy sauce. I don’t recommend dark soy sauce, the flavour is too intense.
  2. Chinese wine Also known as Shaoxing wine. Substitute with dry sherry, cooking sake or Mirin. If you can’t consume alcohol, use chicken broth.
  3. Curry powder – Any generic curry powder is fine here. But make sure it is fresh. We often leave our spices in the cabinet long after they expire.
  4. Noodles – Wai Wai is the brand I recommend if you can get it, for both texture and also it holds up well to lots of tossing action. Rice vermicelli is very inexpensive- usually $2 for quite a large bag – and nowadays you’ll find it at everyday supermarkets.

I know it doesn’t sound like much noodles but it expands, almost doubles in weight.

  1. Char Siu – If you don’t have store bought or homemade Char Siu  substitute with diced chicken, bacon, ham or pork, leave it out and/or add more vegetables. For a quick Char Siu, make a small quantity of the Char Siu marinade, marinade pork chops for 20 minutes then pan fry on medium until caramelized, or bake at 180C/350F for around 20 minutes. Then use per recipe. Two-four orders of boneless spareribs work perfectly with this dish.


Mongolian Beef 

  • Ingredients1 tablespoon Vegetable oil
  • 1-2 teaspoons minced ginger
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup Vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds flank steak
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
  • 1 bunch green onions, cut on diagonal into 2-inch pieces


  1. Make the sauce. Heat 1 tablespoon Vegetable oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add ginger and garlic and stir for 30 seconds.
  2. Add soy sauce, water, and brown sugar. Bring to a boil and simmer until thickened some, 10 to 15 minutes.
  3. Slice flank steak against the grain into 1/4-inch slices with the knife held at a 45 degree angle. Some of the really long pieces I cut in half to make them more bite-sized.(tip- place flank steak in freezer 45 minutes before slicing against the grain. Makes the prep slide through the knife.
  4. Toss flank steak with cornstarch and let sit 10 to 15 minutes.
  5. Heat 1 cup Vegetable oil in a large pan over medium-high heat.
  6. Add beef (I cooked it in 2 batches) and cook 2-3 minutes, until brown and crispy, flipping pieces over to cook both sides.
  7. Remove meat with a slotted spoon and discard cooking oil. Place meat back in pan along with sauce and cook over medium heat for 1 minute, stirring to coat meat.
  8. Add red pepper flakes and green onions and remove from heat.
  9. Serve over rice.


And for dessert- lucky chocolate gold coins and toasted coconut ice cream with diced mango and pineapple and of course a fortune cookie!


A graduate of Johnson & Wales, Judi has managed restaurants and owned restaurants in the northeast and was the founder of a successful dessert company. Today, she is a sought-after restaurant consultant, TV cook on the ABC affiliate in her hometown, and culinary editor of a city magazine. Her personal passions are culinary travel to exotic places and holiday cooking in her home for huge gatherings of friends and relatives. Her guilty pleasure? Bruce Springsteen concerts. “I follow him around the country and have for years,” she admits. “But, in every city where Bruce sings, I do check out new restaurants and talk to up and coming chefs. I want all the food news I can get.”
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