An early Gung Hay Fat Choy (Happy New Year in Cantonese) or Gong xi fa cai (wishing you prosperity and good fortune in Mandarin) to you all! Tomorrow, Sunday, Jan. 22, is Chinese New Year and the start of the year of the Rabbit.

The sign of the Rabbit is a symbol of longevity, peace, and prosperity in Chinese culture and 2023 is predicted to be a year of hope.

There are many special dishes prepared to celebrate Chinese New Year that each hold a special auspicious meaning.  Long noodles, also known as “longevity noodles,” symbolize long life. These

noodles can be up to two feet long and according to Chinese tradition, the longer the noodle, the luckier you’ll be. A whole steamed fish symbolizes abundance, a whole chicken signifies unity and it’s said that dumplings have the shape of gold or silver ingots, the currency of imperial China.

It’s fun to follow tradition and celebrate Chinese New Year at home! Plan a menu including this easy and delicious chow mein recipe to represent your longevity noodles. Make sure everyone dresses in red – it is the top Chinese lucky colour for new year and represents strength and prosperity.

Long Life Chow Mein

Serves 2-4

ingredients:

• 2 tsp. cornstarch

• 1/2 cup water

• 12 raw shrimp, thawed & unpeeled

• 1 tsp. soy sauce

• 1 tsp. sherry

• 1 tbsp. cornstarch

• 2 tbsp. peanut oil

• 1/2 cup sweet onion, sliced thinly into half moons

• 1 tsp. ginger, minced

• 1 tsp. garlic, minced

• 1/2 cup red pepper, thinly sliced

• 3 cups bean sprouts

• 6 green onions, white and light green only cut into 2-inch pieces (save green ends to garnish)

Sauce:

• 1/4 cup oyster sauce

• 1/8 tsp. white pepper

• 1 tsp. sugar

• 1/8 cup Shaoxing Chinese cooking wine (or Sherry to substitute)

• 2 tbsp. soy sauce

• 1 cup chicken broth, divided

• 1 tbsp. sesame oil

• 2 tbsp. green ends of green onions, chopped to garnish

• Thin dried Chinese egg noodles (cooked as per package instructions – with the Rooster brand, we used three bundles)

Step 1: Make a slurry of the cornstarch and water set aside. Add one tsp. soy sauce, one tsp. sherry and one tbsp. cornstarch to raw shrimp and toss together and set aside. Bring a large pot of water to the boil and let sit beside wok.

Step 2: Heat wok on high until smoking. Add oil, then onions and stir fry for a few seconds, then add green onions, ginger, garlic, carrots and zucchini, 1/2 cup chicken stock continuing to stir fry continuously for two to three minutes.  

Step 3: Add shrimp, red pepper and stir fry two minutes until shrimp begins curling. Add sauce and bean sprouts. Stir fry to blend. Add slurry and simmer for a couple of seconds to thicken and remove from heat.

Step 4: Before vegetable/shrimp stir frying is done, add the noodles and cook three minutes.

Step 5: Drain noodles and transfer to wok. Toss with shrimp and

veggies and finish with drizzling the sesame oil, then top with green onions.

China is a big fan of our Canadian icewine. To finish your Chinese New Year feast, why not crack open that special bottle of icewine that you have been saving? Many of our B.C. wineries produce their own icewine. In Canada, unlike other world wine regions, we have the perfect winter conditions to produce this special wine. Icewine production has very strict rules of creation before it can be called icewine. Firstly, the grapes must be picked at -8 C or more and the grapes also must be crushed while they are still frozen. -8 C? No problem for us British Columbians!

Bench 1775 in Naramata offers one of our most dramatic views of Okanagan Lake and the rocky storied Naramata Bench. Here they also make award winning icewine under the Whistler label and not just one varietal! The Whistler Icewine label makes red and white versions of this sweet treat with 10 labels to choose from. Cheers – and all the best for a wonderful year of the Rabbit!

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Jennifer Schell Lirag is an international award winning cookbook author, putting the spotlight on B.C.’s food, farm and drink community for over 15 years. Follow her on social media at @jenniferschell8 and visit jenniferschell.com