Year of the Tiger 2022: Updated Chinese recipes for good luck in the Lunar New Year

Mackensy Lunsford
Southern Kitchen

Chinese New Year, which falls on Feb. 1 this year, will usher in The Year of the Tiger. To get the new lunar year off to the most auspicious of starts with all of that fierce tiger energy, many families will eat a feast of luck-bringing dishes such as the ones we've provided here.

These updated Chinese classics come courtesy of Sunda New Asian, a Chicago-based modern Asian restaurant with its first Southern location in Nashville, Tennessee.

Sunda culinary director and Food Network-featured chef Mike Morales, who developed the recipes, hopes they'll bring you and your family dà jí dà lì, or good fortune, in the new year.

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Cumin-lamb dumplings from Sunda New Asian.

Cumin lamb dumplings

"Round dumplings signify family because (they are) usually prepared by the whole family for the New Year, and prosperity because the shape resembles ancient Chinese coins," Morales said. "At Sunda, we took the flavors of a very popular Chinese dish, Cumin Lamb, and packed all the amazing ingredients from that dish into bite-sized dumplings."

Makes 20-25 Dumplings, or 4-5 servings

For the filling

1 pound ground lamb

2 tablespoon Shaoxing wine

2 tablespoon mushroom soy

2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon minced ginger

¼ cup scallions

1 tablespoon cumin ground

3 eggs

¼ cup shallots, minced

1 tablespoon white pepper

To assemble

1 package square wonton wrapper

Egg wash

Ginger vinaigrette (recipe follows)

½ cup pickled mustard greens, chopped (recipe follows)

Chili crisp (available at any Asian grocery store)

Instructions

In a bowl, place lamb, wine, soy, Worcestershire sauce, ginger, scallions, cumin, eggs, shallots and white pepper. Mix thoroughly. 

Place a tablespoon of filling into the center of each wrapper. Moisten edges of wrapper with the egg wash and fold edge to edge and press on the side to remove air. Then fold into a ring shape and pinch the edges together, fastening with more egg wash. Watch these wanton dumpling tutorials for more ideas. 

Cover and place dumplings in the freezer on a piece of parchment in a cookie sheet until ready to use. Place dumplings five at a time into a steamer in a perforated pan and cook for 8 minutes until done. If you don’t have a steamer, place dumplings in a pan with a little bit of oil. Once you get a nice sear on one side, add enough water to cover the dumplings halfway and bring it to a simmer until all the water has evaporated and the dumplings are done (internal temperature should reach 165 degrees).

For each 5-dumpling serving, place 4 ounces of the ginger vinaigrette in a medium-sized bowl, arrange dumplings in the bowl, add chopped mustard greens around the plate and drizzle chili crisp on top of dumplings. Garnish with cilantro if desired. Repeat with remaining servings.

Pickled mustard greens

¼ cup rice vinegar

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

2 red chilies, chopped

½ pound mustard greens

3 garlic cloves, sliced

1 shallot, sliced

Instructions

Combine 2 cups water, vinegar, salt, sugar and bring to a boil, then set aside. Add chilies, garlic, shallots, and chopped mustard greens into a container.

Pour hot brine over mixture and set aside. Once cool, refrigerate.

Ginger vinaigrette

1 cup soy sauce

¼ cup canola oil

½ cup rice wine vinegar

2 tablespoons lemon juice

¼ cup sugar

½ bunch scallions, sliced

1 teaspoon garlic

1 tablespoon ginger

Instructions

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix until incorporated. Set aside

Pan-seared trout.

Pan-seared trout

"Including a whole fish on your Chinese New Year menu is very common as it is a sign of wellbeing and prosperity," Morales said. 

1 whole trout, head removed

4 ounces black bean sauce (recipe follows)

6 ounces mustard greens

1 ounce scallions, sliced into ribbons

2 ounces radish, sliced

Salt and pepper to taste

2 ounces canola oil

Instructions

Season trout inside and out with salt and pepper and rub with a little canola oil.

In a hot pan, heat canola oil and add trout, skin side down and cook until skin is crispy, then flip over after about 5 minutes, or once the skin releases easily from the pan. Cook on the other side until cooked through, 5-10 minutes. Finish in a hot oven if the trout is particularly large.

In a separate pan add oil, and cook mustard greens with salt and pepper until wilted.

On a plate or bowl add black bean sauce, mustard greens and top with trout.

Garnish with radish and scallions

Black bean sauce

2 ounces fermented black bean

2 cups ginger vinaigrette (same recipe as dumpling method)

Instructions

Bring ingredients to a simmer. Remove and let cool slightly.  

Seafood lo mein from Sunda New Asian.

Seafood lo mein

"No Chinese New Year celebration is complete without noodles, (which) symbolize a long life," Morales said. "To elevate the noodles, we added scallops, shrimp, and XO sauce, a spicy seafood sauce from Hong Kong with an umami flavor profile."

1 pound of scallops

5 Gulf shrimp

3 ounces potato starch

3 ounces spring pea pods, sliced

2 ounces carrots, julienned

1 ounce water chestnuts

3 ounces Shiitake mushrooms

9 ounces lo mein noodles

6 ounces Velvet sauce (method below)

2 ounces XO sauce, store-bought

1 ounces scallions, sliced into strings

Velvet sauce is a Chinese cooking technique to tenderize meat in by marinating the protein in cornstarch, water or stock and soy sauce. When the protein is cooked it tenderizes and thickens your dish. Stir together 2 ounces of each ingredient to make 6 ounces of sauce.

XO Sauce can be purchased at any Asian grocery store.

Instructions

Toss scallops and shrimp in potato starch. Saute scallops and shrimp in a small amount of cooking oil over medium-high heat until golden brown, about 6 minutes, taking care not to overcook.

In a separate sauté pan or wok, add canola oil and cook mushrooms, carrots, water chestnuts, and pea pods. Add shrimp, scallops, velvet sauce, and noodles then toss.

In a bowl add noodles, making sure to place proteins on top. Garnish with scallions, and drizzle XO sauce around the noodles

Mackensy Lunsford is the food and culture storyteller for USA TODAY Network's South region and the editor of Southern Kitchen.

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Reach me: mlunsford@southernkitchen.com