Chinese New Year Cooking Class with Real Canadian Superstore

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On February 8th, we are celebrating the Year of the Monkey. The Monkey is ninth of the 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac. Monkeys are smart, ambitious and adventurous but also irritable and stubborn. On Chinese New Year’s Eve, we are having a family dinner with lots of home cooked dishes and desserts. From red pockets to festive home decor, Real Canadian Superstore and No Frills made it easy to prepare for the big celebration.

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I recently attended an interactive Chinese New Year cooking class hosted by Stephanie Yuen of Beyond Chopsticks. Stephanie taught us 2 easy to follow traditional dishes: Shanghai Wonton soup and Taro Root dessert soup.

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Double Happiness Shanghai Wonton soup recipe

Ingredients (serving 40 – 50 wontons)

  • 8 cups water
  •  2 lbs. Shanghai bok choy, separated and rinsed
  • 1 can T&T water chestnuts, drained and diced
  • 4 oz. ground lean pork (or chicken)
  •  ½ cup T&T edamame beans, cooked and shelled
  • 1 tbsp. light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil
  • 2 tsp. sea salt
  • ¼ tsp. granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp. corn starch
  • 1 small egg, beaten
  • 1 package wonton wrap
  • 2 cups Chinese New Year Cake (already sliced)
  • 4 pc. T&T dried shitake mushroom, rinsed and soaked in 2cups hot water for at least 30 minutes or until softened.
  • 2 cans T&T chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro (optional)
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onion (optional)

 

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Wontons:

1. Boil 6 cups of water in a medium saucepan on high heat.

2. Add bok choy and blanch for 2 minutes.

3. Drain the bok choy and let it cool down for 15 minutes.

4. Squeeze excess water out of the bok choy and place onto a kitchen towel to let it dry.

5. Chop the bok choy finely and transfer to a large mixing bowl.

6. Mix water chestnut, ground pork, edamame beans, soy sauce, sesame oil, salt, sugar and corn starch into the bok choy. This is the stuffing for the wontons.

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7. Place one piece of wrap on a dry surface or cutting board.

8. Spoon 1 tbsp. stuffing in the middle.

9. Fold wrap half-way into a half circle and then using a small brush, brush a small amount of egg wash

around the edge of the half circle and press firmly.

10. Turn the half circle to overlap ½ inch of the two corners, brush with egg wash and press firmly.

Continue until the stuffing is gone.

11. Remove mushrooms from water, cut off the stems and julienne.

12. Reserve mushroom water for later.

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Broth:

1. Combine 2 cups of water, chicken broth, mushroom and mushroom water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Once it boils, cover and turn the heat down to low and let simmer.

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To finish:

1. Boil ½ pot of water and cook half of the wontons in the boiling water for 4-5 minutes.

2. Transfer the cooked wonton into a big bowl using a slotted ladle.

3. Repeat with the remaining wontons as needed*.

4. Bring the chicken broth to a boil and add New Year Cake and cook for 1 to 2 minutes.

5. Add cooked wonton and bring to another boil. Turn off heat.

6. Top with chopped cilantro and green onion.

*Tip: Freeze unused wontons in a sealed plastic bag. Wontons can be stored for up to 2 weeks.

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Wonton soup is the best comfort food for cold, rainy winter. It reminds me of Grand Ma’s cooking.

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For desert, we made Taro Root Coconut Milk Dessert Soup with Tapioca Pearl.

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Ingredients (serving for 4)

  • 1 tbsp. mini tapioca
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 cups skinned taro root, into ½” cubes
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 can Rooster coconut milk (165ml)

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Directions

1. Boil water and taro to a boil in a medium saucepan on high heat.

2. Lower heat to medium and cover. Cook for 5 minutes.

3. Transfer to a blender and blend on high for 20 seconds or until creamy.

4. Return to saucepan and cook on medium heat. Stir frequently to avoid sticking.

5. Add coconut milk and sugar, bring to a gentle boil.

6. Add tapioca and mix well.

7. Stir in brown sugar and cook for another minute or until sugar melts.

Tip: Do not place taro directly on your hand – wear kitchen gloves or use a dry towel when peeling taro

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All of the ingredients are available at the Real Canadian Superstore and No Frills. Happy Lunar New Year! Happy Chinese New Year!

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James Chung

Founder & Editor in Chief of Hello Vancity magazine. Email james@hellovancity.com

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