Happy Chinese New Year! Look, even Hello Kitty is dressed up for the New Year. Since the Chinese follow the Lunar calendar, Chinese New Year falls on a different date every year. This year, it’s especially early, occurring on January 23, 2012. This new year is symbolized by the dragon.

Last year it was the year of the rabbit, and I was able to whip up a lot of bunny shaped foods. A dragon is more complicated so I didn’t even attempt it.

The new year is usually celebrated with a meal with close family and friends. Traditionally, you are supposed to cook up a lot of food before, and then on New Year’s day, you don’t do any cooking at all. We used to make dumplings, but we stopped. It is tasty but time consuming.

This year we actually went out to eat. Then because I felt like we had to make something for the sake of tradition, we stuck with something easy: scallion pancakes.

 

Scallion pancakes are savory, with a strong taste of onions. The pancakes have layers  upon layers of dough rolled into a thin form. They are then pan fried. The end result is a crispy, flaky, savory treat.

The dough is actually very easy to make. Though ours didn’t fry up as pretty as usual, so the picture above is actually the one from last year. I cut ours up before a picture from this latest version.

Along with a feast, there is usually New Year’s cake, which is made of glutinous rice flour, so it basically tastes like mochi. If you buy the cake, it is usually hard. To make it soft and chewy again, it’s sliced into squares, dipped in egg batter and then fried. The heat softens the mochi-like cake, and the egg batter keeps the outside from being a sticky mess. We actually didn’t make any this year as I always end up having to eat it all.

If there are young kids, red envelopes are given by adults to the kids, with money inside. It’s been a really long time since I’ve gotten one so no picture. Oh to be a kid again.

Traditional candy includes a lot of various vegetables and fruit that are dried and crystallized with sugar.

Step by step photos of how to make the scallion pancakes can be found on my old post here.

Print Print Recipe

Scallion pancakes

Ingredients:

2 cups All purpose flour
1 cups boiling water
Oil (vegetable and sesame oil)
Salt
1 cup green onions (diced)

Directions:

1. To view photos for step by step see here. Pour flour and water into food processor or stand mixer and knead for a few minutes. If the dough is too sticky, add a little more flour. If too dry, add a little more water. We kneaded our dough for about 10 minutes.

2. Take a small piece of dough (about the size of your fist) and roll it out as thin as possible. The shape doesn’t matter.

3. Drizzle some oil and rub it in with your hands so that the entire surface is lightly covered, but there are no pools of oil in any one spot. We used about a 4:1 ratio of vegetable oil to sesame oil. If you don’t want sesame oil you can use just vegetable oil. I would not recommend using too much sesame oil because it has a very strong flavor. Don’t be stingy on the oil or your pancakes will be too dry. Make sure there is a nice thin layer on each one, and make sure it is spread across the whole dough.

4. Sprinkle some salt evenly across the dough. Then sprinkle on the diced green onions. It’s up to your personal preference how much you like.

5. Roll the dough into a long rope. It’s okay if oil and onions squish out the sides. Coil that rope into a circle.

6. Flatten the circle with your hand and then use rolling pin to roll out the pancake and thin it to your desired thickness. Ours we about 1/4 inch thick.

7. In a pan, heat up a bit of oil over medium/low heat. Put your pancake on heated pan and let it cook until golden brown, and then flip to crisp the other side. Serve immediately.

Adapted from Gaga in the Kitchen

   

18 Responses to “Happy Chinese New Year”

  1. Sandy — January 23, 2012 at 7:34 am

    Happy Chinese New Year, Kirbie! There’s not a lot of cooking at our house, either. I did make dumplings last week, and will make another batch soon.

    • Kirbie replied: — January 23rd, 2012 @ 9:20 am

      Happy New Year Sandy! We usually do hot pot or go out to eat. I love homemade dumplings, but I just buy frozen ones from LA now.

  2. Faye — January 23, 2012 at 10:10 am

    Happy Chinese New Year! I hope you and the family have a very prosperous year :)

    I loved your scallion recipe from last year. I still haven’t made it yet b/c the version I make w/ my grams is so much work and so i’m nervous to try any other scallion recipes.

    Have you tried Savory Garden yet? I went there once and thought the food was ‘ok’.

    Enjoy your New Years day!

    • Kirbie replied: — January 23rd, 2012 @ 11:30 am

      Happy New Year Faye! Yup I tried it. I agree, it was just “okay.” I’ll post about it soon.

  3. Ann P. — January 23, 2012 at 10:55 am

    i love to eat scallion pancakes, especially at this awesome Taiwanese restaurant back in my college town! Makes me miss it so much, but hey, now I can make my own! :)

    • Kirbie replied: — January 23rd, 2012 @ 11:31 am

      It’s surprisingly easy to make. You should try it out!

  4. Kirk — January 23, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    Hey Kirbie – Xin Nian Kuai Le!

    • Kirbie replied: — January 23rd, 2012 @ 1:35 pm

      Hey Kirk! – Xin Nian Kuai Le to you too!

  5. Nicole — January 23, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    Happy New Year! Since today is a work day, we celebrated by going to dim sum yesterday. Surprisingly, the dim sum was not that crowded!

    • Kirbie replied: — January 24th, 2012 @ 9:20 am

      Wow, I am surprised! The ranch 99 grocery store was ridiculously crowded.

  6. An — January 23, 2012 at 8:48 pm

    Happy New Year! I have not yet been able to perfect scallion pancakes… will have to try your recipe and follow the photos. Thanks!

    • Kirbie replied: — January 24th, 2012 @ 9:19 am

      I love of it is in the rolling and kneading. It takes practice. I’m not as good as my grandmother, but I think the ones we make are decent.

  7. Dennis — January 24, 2012 at 10:54 am

    Happy belated New Year! Love me some scallion pancakes too.

    • Kirbie replied: — January 24th, 2012 @ 11:29 am

      They are so yummy. One of my (many) favorite things.

  8. Carol — January 25, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    Happy belated Chinese New Year, Kirbie! I sure miss my grandmother’s scallion pancakes.

    • Kirbie replied: — January 25th, 2012 @ 3:54 pm

      Happy Chinese New Year Carol! I miss my grandmother’s too. She was so good with the rolling and kneading. I don’t have half her strength.

  9. kat — January 28, 2012 at 3:15 pm

    That is the cutest Hello Kitty ever! Where did you get it??

    • Kirbie replied: — January 30th, 2012 @ 8:57 am

      During Lunar New Year, they sell them at some Sanrio affiliated stores. I bought her at a Sanrio affiliated store in my Ranch 99 market. I got her last year, though I saw them again this year but with a little bit different outfits. I love your icon!

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