Chinese New Year, also known as the Lunar New Year, is one of the most important holidays in the Chinese culture. Chinese households are thoroughly cleaned, then decorated with red streamers (in window sills) to celebrate the holiday. Each year, an animal is represented on the lunar calendar-this year is the year of the horse!
Before getting out my wok and pans to cook, I decided to do a little research on the customs of Chinese New Year. Tradition is an important part of the Chinese New Year celebration; not just the firecrackers and dragon parade floats, but the food. Certain foods are thought to bring good luck and prosperity; others are avoided to ward off bad luck (bean curd and tofu).
Jiaozi, or pork and chinese cabbage dumplings are one of the more popular Chinese New Year foods, and thought to bring prosperity for the coming year, particularly if one gets a dumpling stuffed with a peanut or coin. Oranges and tangerines are supposed to bring wealth and good luck, long (uncut) noodles represent long life, water chestnut represents unity, and serving whole fish is supposed to bring abundance.
I decided to make this dish with a few traditional good luck foods, including orange, long noodles, and water chestnut. Sweet and tangy, this dish was a hit with my family (even my finicky son), and I am sure it will be with yours too. Hopefully, in making this dish, you too will have good luck in the coming year. This dish, along with Quick Wor Wonton Soup and Cream Cheese Wontons, will make a lovely Chinese New Year dinner. Happy New Year (Xin Nian Kuai Le)!
- 1 lb of Flank or London Broil Beef Steak
- 1/3 c. Superfine Flour or Corn Starch
- 2-3 Tbsp. Canola Oil
- 1 c. Carrots, peeled and cut into 3-4 in. lengths
- 1 can Baby Corn
- 1 can Sliced Water Chestnuts
- 1-2 Tbsp. Canola Oil
- 2 Tbsp. Finely Minced Ginger (Peeled)
- 2 Tbsp. Finely Minced Garlic
- 1 c. Soy Sauce (I use low sodium)
- 1/2 c. Orange Juice
- 2/3 c. Brown Sugar
- 1 Tsbp. Superfine Flour
- 2-3 Green Scallions, Cleaned and cut into 3-4 in. pieces
- 1 Tbsp. Fresh Orange Zest
- 1 Package of Rice Noodles (Cook as directed on package)
Partially freeze the flank steak, as it is easier to cut when frozen.
Slice the beef into 1 1/2 inch strips, then dredge in the superfine flour.
Please the coated pieces of beef flat on a baking sheet and allow to sit for 10-15 minutes, so the flour will set (if you use right away, the flour will clump on the beef or fall off when frying). While the beef is sitting, heat a large fry pan or wok to medium heat.
Add 2 Tbsp. canola oil, and stir fry the vegetables for about 2-3 minutes. (Do not cook too long or the vegetables will get mushy.)
Remove from the pan and add 1-2 more Tbsp canola oil, depending on how much is left in the pan. When the oil is heated, add the beef and lay as flat as possible in the pan. Turn the heat to high and stir fry about 2-3 minutes on each side. Take the pan off the heat, and remove the beef, placing it on a paper-towel lined plate to drain off the oil. Wipe the pan out.
Turn the stove down to medium, and place the pan back on the burner. Add 2 Tbsp. of canola oil, then the ginger and garlic. Stir the ginger and garlic so it does not burn, and cook for 2-3 minutes.
Add the soy sauce and orange juice, whisking it all together in the pan. Turn the heat up to medium hight. In a small bowl, blend the brown sugar and superfine flour and whisk into the sauce. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly, until slightly thick. Add the beef, vegetables, and green scallion to the sauce, and simmer on medium low for 2-3 minutes. Serve over rice noodles, sprinkling a little bit of orange zest on the dish.