Lunar New Year Recipies


Steven Sessamen

Artifacts of Asiatic Cuisine Garnished With Customs

In southeast Asia each year, a migration of 385 million people occurs in an event called Chunyun. This event starts two weeks before the New Year on January tenth and ends on February 18th. 

During these forty days, people travel to the Far East to spend the Lunar New Year Spring Festival with their families to uphold their traditions.

As with most traditions, food is an important part of the celebration. 

In China, jiaozi, or dumplings, are commonly found during their Spring Festival. 

Jiaozi represents the togetherness of family and is shown by the family making them on New Year’s Eve and eating them at midnight. 

Also, due to the jiaozi’s resemblance to sycee, gold ingots used by during the Qin Dynasty, a coin was put into one of them and whoever was to bite into the coin would be granted good fortune for the year.

To make twenty dumplings you will need:

Wonton skins or dumpling wrappers

4.5 oz of ground pork

2 scallions

1 tbsp of minced ginger

1/2 tbsp of sesame oil

1 tbsp vegetable oil

1/2 tbsp of soy sauce

1/2 tbsp of salt 

1 tbsp of chicken stalk

1 tsp of finely chopped chives

Stir the pork, ginger, oils, soy sauce, salt, and chicken stalk in a large bowl in one continuous direction. After the ingredients have blended together evenly, stir in the chives following the same cycle. Place a tablespoon of the filling in the middle of each wrapper and fold the wrapper into a half-moon shape. Slightly wet the inner rim of the wrapper and pleat into a crescent shape. The filling should form a bulge called the “Buddha Belly”. Fill a pot most three-quarters of the way with water and once boiling add a dash of salt. Add the dumplings and gently stir them to prevent sticking. Once the water boils again gently stir in a 1/2 cup of cold water and cover. Once the water boils again strain the water and transfer the dumplings to a plate.

In Vietnam, Banh Chung, or sticky rice cake, is culturally important to celebrating the lunar festival. Banh Chung cakes come with a story. King Pháp Hài Lang told his sons that he would abdicate his throne to one of them that created the best dish for their altar. While most of the sons created extravagant meals with high-end ingredients; while the youngest son, Lang Liêu, created two rice cakes. The one was square and green symbolizing the earth while the other was round and pale symbolizing the sky, and they both had simple, cheap ingredients. The father gave his crown to Lang Liêu as his meal paid proper respect for their ancestors.

For sticky rice cakes you will need:

1 cup of sushi rice

2 bananas each cut into six thick slices

1 cup of sesame seeds

2 cups of either of grapeseed, peanut or coconut oil

After soaking the rice for two hours cooking in a covered saucepan or rice cooker with 1.5 cups of water. Once the rice has cooled enough to handle, coat a banana slice in a portion of the rice. Sprinkle, roll or dip the rice patty in sesame seeds. Pour the oil 2 cm deep onto a skillet or pan. Let the skillet rise to high or medium heat before adding the rice cakes. Cook on each side until golden brown.

In the Philippine Islands, lumpia, or spring rolls, is given as gifts during Lunar New Year. Fresh lumpia represents new beginnings as spring is a new beginning for nature and the new year is a chance for people to change for the better. When fried, lumpia’s wrapping goldens in the oil and begins to appear like a gold bar, and for this reason, fried lumpia embodies wealth.

For strawberry-banana lumpia you will need:



Brown sugar 

Egg roll wrappers

Sprayable cooking oil

Preheat an air fryer to 390 F. Peel the bananas and cut them into thirds the length of the banana and quarters longways. Cut off the strawberries’ leaves and dice the bodies into slithers. Place some of the strawberry and banana cuts into the middle of an eggroll wrapper and sprinkle brown sugar to your liking. Fold in one corner and it’s the opposite. Fold in one of the remaining corners and roll it up in the same direction. Spray both sides of the lumpia with cooking oil and place into the air fryer. Cook for four minutes on each side (Use tongs to flip and remove).