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New Year 3

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Steamed Chinese Fruit Cake
Also known as Sticky Cake, this New Years dish is traditionally fed to the Chinese Kitchen God, so that he will give a favorable report on the family's behavior throughout the previous year when he returns to heaven.

Yield: 8 Servings

1 tablespoon flour
2 eggs, with whites and yolks separated
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups glutinous rice flour
1/3 cup milk
1 cup Chinese dried fruits, pitted if necessary and diced
1 piece crystallized ginger, diced (optional)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Grease a loaf pan that is approximately 4 x 8 inches and set aside.
Beat the egg whites until stiff. Cream together the butter and the sugar. Add the egg yolks and mix thoroughly. Add one-third (a little less than 1/2 cup) of the glutinous rice flour and mix. Add about half of the milk. Continue adding the rice flour and the milk alternately until the entire amount is mixed in. Stir in whichever fruits you are using and then add the beaten egg whites, folding them into the cake batter.Pour the cake batter into the loaf pan and steam, covered, for about one hour. Allow to cool and cut into thin slices.

Sweet and Sour Pork, Cantonese Style

1/2 cup carrots, peeled and sliced
1 small green bell pepper, seeded, cored, and cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 cup canned pineapple chunks, well drained
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch plus 3 1/2 tablespoons dissolved in 1/3 cup water
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon beaten egg plus enough water to make 1/2 cup
1 teaspoon canola, corn, or peanut oil
About 1/2 pound lean boneless pork chops, cut into 1-inch or smaller cubes (about 1 cup)
1 teaspoon dry sherry
1/4 teaspoon salt
Dash black pepper
Vegetable oil for frying

3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup water
1/2 cup cider vinegar

In a small saucepan of boiling water, parboil the carrots for 1 minute. Add the green pepper to the same water. As soon as it comes back to a boil, drain the vegetables and rinse in cold water to stop cooking. Add the pineapple to the vegetables and set aside.
Combine the flour, 1/4 cup cornstarch, baking powder, egg mixture, and oil in a mixing bowl and beat with a wooden spoon until the mixture is a smooth paste. Set aside.
In another bowl, stir the pork, sherry, salt, and pepper together. Set aside.
In a wok or stir-fry pan, heat 2 inches o foil to a temperature of 375 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Dip the marinated cubes of pork into the batter to coat completely. Carefully drop the pork into the hot oil, 1 piece at a time. Deep-fry until light golden brown. Remove with a wire skimmer, spread out on paper towels, and let cool. Reserve the oil in the pan. (You may deep-fry the pork to this point in advance and keep it in the refrigerator for a few days or in the freezer. The oil may be strained and kept for a day or two; otherwise use fresh oil for the second frying.)
Make the sweet and sour sauce only when ready to proceed with the second frying. Combine the sugar, ketchup, soy sauce, salt, and water in a 2 quart saucepan. Bring to a boil and add the vinegar. When the liquid comes back to a boil, stir in the cornstarch solution. Cook until the sauce thickens. Add the parboiled vegetables and the pineapple to the sauce, then add 1 tablespoon of hot oil from the deep-fry pan to give the sauce a shine.
While preparing the sauce, reheat the deep-fry oil to 400 degrees Fahrenheit for a second frying. Add all the pork to the oil and fry until the pieces are heated and crisped. (Frozen or refrigerated pork should be brought to room temperature before being cooked). Remove with a wire skimmer and drain on paper towels. (If not ready to serve the dish immediately, you can keep the sauce warm on the stove and the pork warm in a 325 degrees Fahrenheit oven for 10 minutes, no longer. Put together just before serving.)
Put the pork in a deep plate and pour the sweet and sour sauce over. Serve immediately. Serves 4 - 6

Lettuce Wraps
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 lb meat from chicken breasts 2 green onions, chopped
1 stalk celery, diced
1 can water chestnuts, rinsed in warm running water and chopped
1 slice ginger, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 red pepper, seeded and diced

1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon dry sherry
1 teaspoon sugar

1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons water

1 head iceberg lettuce or romaine lettuce leaves

Wash the lettuce, dry, and separate the leaves. Set aside. Mix together the sauce ingredients. Heat the sesame oil in a non-stick frying pan on high heat. Add the garlic, ginger, and green onions and fry until the garlic and ginger are aromatic. Add the chicken and cook until the chicken is browned. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.Add the red pepper, water chestnuts, and celery to the frying pan. Add the sauce ingredients and cook at medium heat, Give the cornstarch/water mixture a quick restir and add to the sauce, stirring to thicken.Lay out a lettuce leaf and spoon a heaping teaspoon of the chicken and vegetable/sauce mixture into the middle. The lettuce wraps are designed to be eaten "taco-style," with the lettuce/chicken mixture folded into a package. Continue with the remainder of the chicken and lettuce leaves. Serve.

Lion's Head Meatballs

Meatball ingredients:
1 pound ground pork
1 slice ginger, minced
3 scallions, cut into thin slices
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon sherry
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
Pepper or white pepper to taste

1 cup chicken stock
1 pound bok choy, washed and cut into bite-sized pieces
3 tablespoons oil for cooking
Other seasonings as desired

Place the ground pork in a bowl. Add the meatball ingredients and mix together with your hands, moving in one direction. When the ingredients are blended, wet your hands slightly and form the pork mixture into 4 large meatballs.
Heat wok and add 3 tablespoons oil. Cook the meatballs on medium heat until they are golden brown. Drain the meatballs on paper towels.
Heat the stock separately, adding soy sauce, sugar, or other seasonings if desired.
Arrange the bok choy at the bottom of the pot and place the meatballs on top. Add the stock. Simmer until cooked (1 to 1 1/2 hours). Serves 4 - 6

Longevity Noodles

Symbolizing a long life, this is a popular dish on birthdays and other celebratory occasions.

4 quarts water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pound dried thin egg noodles or spaghetti
3 cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon cornstarch mixed with 2 teaspoons water

2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 green onions, sliced diagonally into thirds
2 - 3 tablespoons cooked ham, sliced 1/4-inch thick
Oil for cooking
Bring the salted water to a boil and parboil the noodles, using chopsticks to separate them. (If substituting spaghetti cook according to dirctions). Drain the noodles, rinsing them several times, and divide equally among four soup bowls.Bring the stock to a boil. Mix in the sauce ingredients. Add the cornstarch mixture last, stirring to thicken. Heat wok and add oil. Add the eggs and stir. Add the stock mixture and bring the mixture to a boil but don't allow the eggs to set. Pour the mixture over the noodles and garnish with green onion and ham. Serves 4

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