Happy Year of the Snake!

This weekend was the Chinese New Year celebration as we at Media-X decided to use our Friday lunch to help usher in the Year of the Snake. On the menu this week was a simple beef and lemongrass soup, along with egg rolls from Ottawa’s famous Golden Palace and a chicken stir-fry. For dessert, team members put together a snake from rice crispy squares (very traditional) along with donut-hole “snake eggs”.

…the consensus seemed to be that the highlight was the egg rolls from Golden Palace

I always love cooking stir-fries because of the vast variety of ingredients and flavors one can incorporate into them. I firmly believe I could probably eat a different stir-fry every single day of the year just by varying proteins, vegetables and sauces. One thing I didn’t take well into account was the logistics of cooking up enough of the dish to feed 16+ people without having a restaurant kitchen or even a giant wok. Luckily with some help from Yvonne, our team was able to pull off the meal without completely destroying our office kitchen.

A mountain of spring rolls from the Golden Palace.

After the meal, the consensus seemed to be that the highlight was the egg rolls from Golden Palace (I suppose I can’t compete with the ladies who make over 1000 egg rolls daily). The soup and stir-fry was thoroughly devoured as well though, leaving the staff satisfied for the rest of the day.

On the weekend I was fortunate enough to experience my first real Chinese New Year celebration with my girlfriend and her family in Toronto. Over the course of the weekend I got to try a host of different delicious, traditional dishes such as steamed chicken with ginger, sautéed lotus root and dace fish. Then on Sunday a mouth-watering dim sum complete with a New Year Lion Dance by some local martial-artists. Next year I may scare the staff by attempting a few of the surprisingly tasty morsels I had there such as chicken feet and pork tongue!

The Year of the Snake is apparently met with some animosity at times due to the associated creature’s dubious nature, people born in its year are said to be intelligent, efficient, hard-working and charming. This year’s cycle also is based around the element of water, signifying fluidity and intuition. It also apparently signified 3 feet of snow for those of us living in the north-east, but that’s another story.

Below is the recipe for a simple and tasty black bean chicken stir fry.

Vegetables make a strong showing in Chinese dishes.

Ingredients

  • Boneless chicken thigh
  • Red/green bell pepper
  • Onion
  • Scallions
  • Bok Choy (Chinese Cabbage)
  • Snow peas
  • Mushrooms
  • Bean sprouts
  • Whole grain rice
  • Chili sauce
  • Soy sauce
  • Oyster sauce
  • Black bean sauce

Directions

  1. Cut chicken into bite sized chunks and marinade in mixture of chili, soy, oyster and black bean sauce for 1 hour.
  2. Prepare rice in a pot or rice maker, with the appropriate amount of servings.
  3. Chop vegetables into pieces equal to the size of chicken. Prepare as much as desired for each.
  4. Add a generous amount of oil to a large skillet or wok on high heat and begin to fry vegetables stirring frequently.
  5. Add in chili and soy sauce and fry for 2-3 minutes.
  6. Add chicken and fry until it is cooked completely.
  7. Add additional oyster and black bean sauce if necessary.
  8. Remove chicken and vegetables from heat and add in snow peas and bean sprouts.
  9. Serve over rice.

 

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