Wine Wednesday: Happy Chinese New Year of the Rabbit

Happy Chinese New Year!!

I love Chinese food and I dare say so do you.  Today’s Wine Wednesday is to celebrate and wish you all a very prosperous Year of the Rabbit.

I’ve read that it’s customary to wear new shoes, clothes and something red all to signify wealth and luck.  What if you are having a customary dinner, how would you pair it?  No worries, that’s why you have me! So break out your new red Christian Louboutin, a little something from Monique Lhuillier and get ready to celebrate dinner with your family.

Wine wasn’t always a big thing in China, but in recent years Bordeaux has seen a tremendous boom.  It’s actually a great pairing with many Chinese dishes (even if it’s the local Chinese restaurant) but not the only choice.  If you are having duck, choose a Bordeaux to bring out the richness of flavor and while I’m not a fan of seeing the ‘entire duck’, keep the head and feet on for complete luck.

I’m a huge fan of spring rolls (or money rolls/bars of precious metals) and because they are fried and have tons of veggies in them, I’d recommend a beautiful Sauvignon Blanc, or a wine that as a bit of ‘lemon’ in the tone (more acidy) will have you doing back-flips.  Get it ‘spring’ roll… Never mind.

Did you know that Dumplings are though to be shaped like gold coins? I thought of them more like purses….and just plain yummy! The combination of cabbage, pork, garlic, ginger and soy can be a bit tricky, but an off-dry sparkling wine like a Moscato d’Asti or Prosecco is a great match. Go for the heaviest looking one…more filling, more wealth.

Lettuce wraps are “leaves of growing good fortune” and filled with spicy bold flavors like duck (or another savory meat).  To balance these flavors a Sparkling Shiraz or, even better, Malbec.

Don’t forget and don’t break the Noodles! The longer the noodle the longer life.  From what I’ve read, they are often paired with a ‘luxury’ ingredient like lobster, to signify abundance and scallops to look like coins.   A slightly oak-styled Chardonnay is a natural match with lobster.

Roast Chicken is probably the easiest to pair with a simple Pinot Noir or a white Rioja Blanco Reserva.

Because a whole fish is the centerpiece of the celebration and usually very spicy why not try something that has a bit of sweetness to it.  It will meld great with and temper the ‘heat’ of spice. A Germany Rieslings (a personal favorite) is highly recommended.

I can’t end this without two great recipes.  I hope you enjoy, may your year be filled with happiness and what ever you wish for.

If you were born in 1951- 1963- 1975- 1987- 1999 and this year, you all share this sign. If you want to know more about what sign you’re born under, click here.

Chinese Style Roast Chicken

Whole chicken oven roasted and basted with sauce featuring garlic, minced ginger, peanut oil, fresh lemon juice, red pepper flakes, and Chinese five spice powder. Ingredients –

2 large Garlic Cloves, peeled and minced
2 teaspoons Coarse Salt
1 whole (5 pounds) Roaster Chicken, insides removed, fat trimmed away
1 tablespoon Freshly Minced Ginger
1 tablespoon Fresh Lemon Juice
4 tablespoon Peanut Oil
1 teaspoon Chinese Five-Spice Powder
1/4 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
2 tablespoon Toasted White Sesame Seeds
1 cup Plum Sauce (for dipping)

Preparation:

1. Preheat oven to 400 F.

2. Add garlic, peanut oil, fresh lemon juice, coarse salt, red pepper flakes, Chinese five-spice powder and minced ginger, Pulse to form paste.

3. Stir sesame seeds into paste.

4. Rub whole chicken with paste.

5. Place chicken on rack above roasting pan (add ¼ cup water to roasting pan).

6. Roast 1 hour, basting and turning chicken occasionally.

7. Remove chicken from oven. Allow to stand 5 minutes.

8. With very sharp knife, slit chicken into 6 pieces.

9. Serve with plum sauce on the side.

Four Happiness Pork Balls (not traditional for the meal, but I KNOW these are yummy!)

Chicken, pineapple, cashews and crushed red pepper mixed with carrots, onion, scallions, mushrooms, snow peas stir fried in a chicken broth, oyster sauce, honey, soy sauce, and rice wine vinegar mixture. Served over long grain Chinese white rice. Ingredients –

3 1/2 oz peeled Chinese Yam (potatoes can be substituted)
1 egg (beaten)
14 oz Lean Pork
3 Tablespoons cornstarch
2 Teaspoons Rice Wine
9 oz Vegetable Oil
1 Teaspoons Soy Sauce
1 Teaspoons chopped Scallions
2 Teaspoons Salt
1 large Fennel Bulb
1 Teaspoon fresh chopped Ginger
2 cups Beef Stock

Preparation:

1. Boil, peel and mash the yam or potato.

2. Mince the pork.

3. Mix with the yam mash, rice wine, 1 tsp. of the soy sauce, salt, and 1 tsp. of the ginger.

4. Stir in one direction until the pork and yam paste stiffens

5. Shape it lightly into four flattened balls.

6. Mix egg, cornstarch, and 1 tsp. soy sauce into a paste and coat the balls.

7. Heat the oil in wok over medium heat to moderately hot.

8. Deep-fry the meatballs until they are reddish-brown.

9. Drain, and place in a heatproof bowl.

10. Add the scallion, the remaining 3/4 tsp. ginger, the fennel, and stock, and place the bowl in a steamer.

11. Steam the meatballs until done.

12. Discard the scallions, ginger and fennel.

13. Remove and serve.

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