As I am getting older and the days never seem to slow down, I really value convenience wherever I go. If I can save even as little as 30 minutes, I’m super happy. With Chinese New Year coming up quite soon, entertaining the family with ease can be tricky as lots of symbolic food needs to be made to celebrate the start of a new year.
I am a big fan of Real Canadian Superstore and its selection of authentic brands and products like Rooster brand and T&T items, at a great value. I can find all my dinner ingredients that are fresh and dry like Rooster Brand Dried Flower Mushrooms, bok choy and Chinese rock sugar. and As well as decor and dish ware all in one place.
My secret indulgence is snacks, so you will always find some sweets at my Chinese New Year celebrations. Each Real Canadian Superstore location varies slightly, but you’ll still be able to find what you’re looking for.
I came to get all the ingredients to create some of my favourite Chinese dishes like Braised Chinese Mushrooms, Sesame Bok Choy, Dumplings and Red-Braised Pork Belly for my dinner.
Over the years, they listened to their customers and expanded their selection of vegetables and fruit like white pomelo.
Chinese New Year Dinner and Symbolism
These are a lot of symbolisms in the food we eat at Chinese New Year that bring us great fortune in the new year. Here are a few of the symbols from the dinner I prepared, and their meaning:
This is one of the most common symbols as tangerines mean wealth and oranges mean luck. Thus, having these around will bring good luck and fortune in the coming year.
The shape of a dumpling is similar to ancient gold or silver ingots, thus symbolize wealth.
As pig is part of the Chinese Zodiac, it invokes strength, wealth, and abundant blessing.
As a staple of any Chinese dinner, this brings fertility and luck.
Symbolizes close family ties.
As mentioned in a lot of Chinese literature, this represents longevity or even immortality.
Box of Harmony
A Candy box aka “Box of Harmony” symbolizes money and sweetness of life. A variety of snacks like nuts, seeds, candy and dried fruits are displayed in the box, but you can arrange it any manner you like.
Braised Chinese Mushrooms and Sesame Bok Choy
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
- 2 cups (500 mL) Rooster Brand Dried Flower Mushrooms
- 2 cups (500 mL) boiling water
- ¾ cup (175 mL) chicken broth
- 2 tbsp (25 mL) Rooster Brand Oyster Sauce
- 1 tbsp (15 mL) Chinese rice wine (Shao Hsing) or dry sherry
- 2 tsp (10 mL) Rooster Brand Superior Soy Sauce
- 2 tsp (10 mL) Rooster Brand Superior Dark Soy Sauce
- 2 tsp (10 mL) crushed Chinese rock sugar or granulated sugar
- 2 tbsp (25 mL) Rooster Brand 100% Pure Canola Oil
- 2 tsp (10 mL) Rooster Brand 100% Pure Corn Starch
- 2 tsp (10 mL) sesame oil
- 675 g Shanghai bok choy (about 6 heads), halved lengthwise (TIP: if heads are large, cut into
quarters for even cooking.)
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced diagonally
- Place mushrooms in large heatproof bowl; add boiling water. Arrange mushrooms stem side up.
Cover bowl with plastic wrap; let stand until softened, 30 to 45 minutes. Drain; squeeze out excess liquid from mushrooms. Remove and discard stems.
- Meanwhile, stir together broth, oyster sauce, rice wine, soy sauce, dark soy sauce and sugar in small bowl until sugar is dissolved. Set aside.
- Heat canola oil in 10-inch (25 cm) skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms; cook, turning often, until lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Add broth mixture; reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer, turning mushrooms occasionally, until tender, 20 to 25 minutes. (If necessary, add water, 1/4 cup at a time, while cooking to prevent mushrooms from drying out.)
- Stir together cornstarch, 1 tsp sesame oil and 1/4 cup water in small bowl until smooth; stir into mushroom mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, until sauce is glossy, about 30 seconds.
- Meanwhile, bring large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add bok choy and remaining 1 tsp sesame oil; cook until tender-crisp, 1 to 2 minutes. Drain.
- Arrange bok choy in circle along edge of plate with leaves pointing inward; spoon mushroom mixture into centre of circle, over top of leaves. Sprinkle with green onions.
Red Braised Pork Belly
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
- 900 g skin-on pork belly
- 2 tbsp (25 mL) Rooster Brand 100% Pure Canola Oil
- 3 tbsp (45 mL) crushed Chinese rock sugar or granulated sugar
- ¼ cup (50 mL) Chinese rice wine (Shao Hsing) or dry sherry
- 3 cups (750 mL) chicken broth
- 2 tbsp (25 mL) each Rooster Brand Superior Soy Sauce and Rooster Superior Dark Soy Sauce
- 1 star anise
- 1 cinnamon stick (2 inch/ 5 cm stick)
- 3 green onions
- 2-inch (5 cm) piece fresh ginger, peeled
- Fresh cilantro, for garnish
- Bring large saucepan of water to a boil. Add pork; return to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-high; cook 5 minutes. Transfer with tongs to cutting board; let cool enough to handle. Cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) chunks. Set aside.
- Heat oil in wok or large (4 L) saucepan over low heat. Add sugar; cook, stirring, until melted and light brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat; carefully add rice wine.
- Stir in pork, broth, soy sauce, dark soy sauce, star anise and cinnamon stick; bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
- Slice 2 green onions into 2-inch (5 cm) lengths. Add ginger to cutting board; hit sliced green onions and ginger several times with back of knife to lightly bruise and crush. Stir into pork mixture. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and cook until pork is fork-tender, about 1 hour.
- Uncover; skim fat from surface of cooking liquid and discard. Increase heat to medium; cook uncovered, stirring often, until sauce is thick and syrupy, 15 to 20 minutes. Discard star anise and cinnamon stick. Transfer pork mixture to serving bowls. Thinly slice remaining green onion; sprinkle over top of pork mixture. Garnish with cilantro.
Curious what’s at your local Real Canadian Superstore? Visit www.realcanadiansuperstore.ca to see all the items to craft your Chinese New Year dinner.
This blog post was sponsored by Real Canadian Superstore but the opinions are all my own.