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Smithsonian Folklife Festival

Chinese Recipes

Chinese New Year Vegetable Dish
Recipe by Judith Do

  • 4 dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 6 red dates
  • ½ cup dried lily buds
  • 2 long sticks dried bean curd
  • 2 oz mung bean vermicelli
  • 2 oz sea moss (optional)
  • ½ cup gingko nuts, cooked
  • 8 oz baby corn
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 large carrot
  • 6 fresh water chestnuts
  • 1 medium Napa cabbage
  • 4 oz snow peas or green mustard (Yu Choy)
  • 2 inch piece ginger
  • 4 tbsp oil, divided
  • 4 cups water or stock
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Sauce:
  • 1 cube red bean curd, preserved
  • 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • ½ tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 cube vegetable bouillon

Soak dried shiitake mushrooms, red dates, dried lily buds, dried bean curd sticks, mung bean vermicelli, and sea moss individually for about 20 minutes. Drain, set aside. Drain and rinse gingko nuts and baby corn, set aside. Mix corn starch and 2 tbsp water, set aside. Peel and slice carrots and chestnuts. Cut Napa cabbage into 1½ inch slices. String snow peas or cut green mustard. Peel and smash ginger. Combine sauce ingredients, set aside. In a wok, heat 2 tbsp oil, add smashed ginger, mushrooms, red dates, dried lily buds, bean curd. Heat for two minutes. Add carrots and baby corn. Set aside. Heat 2 tbsp oil, add Napa cabbage and green mustard. In a big pot, heat water or stock with sauce mixture. Bring to a boil. Add fried mixture of mushrooms, red dates, lily buds, bean curd sticks, carrots, and baby corn. Boil for 3 minutes. Add chestnuts, gingko nuts, mung bean vermicelli, sea moss. Boil approximately another 3 minutes. Add cabbage and green mustard. Add salt/pepper to taste. Add cornstarch mixture to thicken.



Stir-Fried Chicken with Fresh Greens (Serves 4)
Recipe by Hiu Newcomb

  • Rice (side dish)
  • ¼ — 1/3 lb flank steak, chicken, pork, venison, or ground meat
  • Seasonal vegetables (onions, cabbage, snow or snap peas, bok choy, broccoli, carrots, frozen peas)
  • 2 tbsp corn starch
  • ¼ cup cold water
Marinade:
  • 4–8 tbsp soy sauce (Bragg’s Amino Acid recommended)
  • 1–2 cloves garlic, chopped fine or crushed
  • 1 thumb fresh ginger, chopped or crushed, or 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1–2 tbsp oil (more when using lean venison)
  • 1 tbsp wine or sherry, optional
  • ½ tbsp honey or sugar, optional

Cook rice using 1 cup rice to 2 cups water so that water is 1 inch above the rice. Thinly slice flank steak, chicken, pork, or venison (preferably partially frozen so that it’s easier to slice thinly) and marinade meat for 15 minutes or more. Cut seasonal vegetables into wedges, slices, or bite-sized pieces. Heat pan, add 1 tbsp oil. Add marinated meat (without the marinade) and brown quickly. Remove and set aside. Add onions to hot pan, stir briefly. Add vegetables, stirring to coat with oil and keep from burning. When vegetables are barely fork tender, add cooked meat. Mix corn starch, cold water, and marinade residue, adding water a little at a time to thin sauce to desired consistency. Add this sauce mixture to the pan. The dish is done when the sauce starts to bubble and thicken (1–2 minutes). Serve with rice.

“This is a basic version of a common dish I ate as a child in Hawai‘i and I cooked for my family of six living in Washington, D.C., and later, Fairfax County. It uses very little meat and whatever vegetables are around. As a child, the meat was either pork, chicken, or flank steak. As a frugal farm family, we had ground beef, flank steak when it was cheap, chicken, maybe pork, and venison killed on the farm. Before we grew our own vegetables, I would use frozen peas or cabbage. Now I use whatever is in season: greens, broccoli, snow or snap peas, cabbage, carrots, onions.”
— Hiu Newcomb


Bean Stick Soup (Serves 6)
Recipe by Benita Wong

  • 8 oz dried bean sticks
  • 3 qt chicken stock
  • 8 oz chicken breast
  • 2 large Chinese black mushrooms
  • 1 oz preserved vegetable
  • 2 oz light soy sauce
  • Sesame oil to taste
  • Salt and white pepper to taste

Soak bean sticks in cold water for 10 minutes. Strain. Simmer for 10 minutes. In a separate pot, bring stock to boil. Add dried mushrooms and preserved vegetable. Simmer 20 minutes. Remove mushrooms when soft, cut into slices, and return to soup. Strain the bean stick and cut into 2-inch pieces. Add to the stock and continue to simmer. Cut chicken breast into thin strips. Add to soup and simmer 5 minutes or until done. Season with soy sauce, sesame oil, salt, and white pepper to taste.



Ma Po Tofu (Serves 6)
Recipe by Benita Wong

  • 1 tbsp cooking oil
  • 8 oz ground pork
  • 1–2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 4–5 thin slices ginger, minced
  • 12 oz tofu, cut into bite-sized cubes
  • 1 tbsp chili paste
  • 8 oz chicken stock
  • 1–2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1–3 tbsp water
  • 1 oz light soy sauce
  • Sesame oil to taste
  • Salt and white pepper to taste
  • Hot chili oil, to taste (optional)

Heat cooking oil in pot. Stir-fry pork until half cooked. Set aside. Wash and prep scallion, garlic, and ginger. Cut tofu and drain. Heat wok or pot and add oil. Add scallion, garlic, ginger, and chili paste. Cook until fragrant. Add cooked pork and stir fry. Add tofu and stir gently. Allow mixture to heat for about 1 minute, then add chicken stock and cover for 2 minutes. When mixture has come to a boil, stir gently. Add more chicken stock, if necessary, to create a sauce mixture. Mix cornstarch and water to create a thin paste. When pork mixture is cooked, add cornstarch paste and stir quickly to thicken. Season with soy sauce, sesame oil, salt, and white pepper. Add a few drops of hot chili oil, if desired.



Sichuan Cucumber Slices (Serves 6)
Recipe by Benita Wong

  • 1½ lb pickling cucumbers
  • 1–3 tbsp salt
  • 10 slices ginger, very thinly sliced
  • 1 chili pepper, fresh
  • 4 oz sesame oil
  • 1 tsp Sichuan peppercorns
  • 5 dried chili peppers, sliced thin
  • 2 tbsp vinegar
  • 2 tbsp sugar

Cut off cucumber ends. Cut cucumbers into quarters (or halves). Sprinkle with salt and let sit 30 minutes. Rinse cucumbers in cold water and let drain. Place cut cucumbers in a large bowl and toss with ginger and chili pepper. Heat sesame oil in a wok or small pan. Fry Sichuan peppercorns over medium heat until aromatic. Add dried chili peppers and stir-fry for another 30 seconds. Remove from heat. Strain the hot oil (removing the peppers) over the cucumbers and toss. Mix the vinegar and sugar, pour over the cucumbers and toss again. Marinate at least 6 hours before serving.



Bean Curd Noodle Salad (Serves 6)
Recipe by Benita Wong

  • 2 oz Chinese celery
  • 4 oz bean curd noodles
  • Sesame oil, to taste
  • Salt to taste
  • Carrots

Wash, trim, and julienne celery. Bring water to a boil. Add bean curd noodles and return to a simmer. Strain and cool in ice water. Mix in celery and season to taste with sesame oil and salt. Garnish with a few carrot flowers.

Click to enlarge

Hiu Newcomb

Benita Wong