Today marks the celebration of Chinese New Year, the most grand holiday on the Chinese calendar. 2015 is the Year of the Sheep (or goat or ram, depending upon the source). If you were born in 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, or 2003, tradition suggests this will be a lucky year for you!
Chinese celebrations are famous for their traditional foods, and Chinese New Year feasts are laden with an amazing variety of dishes. Feasts may vary from village to village, but will always, always include noodles. Long noodles are said to represent long life, and must never be cut! Great care should be taken to cook and eat the noodles whole.
While I cannot claim any Chinese heritage, I see Chinese New Year as an opportunity to sample wonderful new (to me) foods and learn a bit more about the almost indescribably rich cultural history of China. In that spirit, we are making Chinese New Year Noodles today. I hope you enjoy them!
Ingredients (Makes 6 servings)
1 package rice vermicelli noodles (8 ounces dry)
1 cup snow pea pods, sliced into matchsticks
1 red pepper, diced
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon (more or less to taste) chili paste, such as Nam Prik Pao
Step 1) Boil vermicelli noodles according to package instructions (they only take a few minutes, like spaghetti noodles). DON’T BREAK THE NOODLES!
Step 2) While noodles are cooking, use a fork to “whisk” together the peanut butter and vinegar. This will look like a gloppy mess for the first minute or two, but just keep mixing… soon the mixture will be smooth and uniform.
Step 3) Stir the sugar, soy sauce, and chili paste into the peanut butter mixture. The end result should have a consistency like salad dressing. If the mixture is too thick, add a tablespoon of water.
Step 4) Gently mix together the cooked noodles, vegetables, and sauce. That’s it! For a heartier dish, top with a few cooked shrimp or pieces of cooked, cubed chicken.
Happy Chinese New Year!
3 replies to “Chinese New Year Noodles”
We are celebrating Chinese new year in class. Any ideas for a substitution for peanut butter? We are a peanut free facility.
You could use ground sunflower seeds; the taste and texture will be pretty similar. 🙂
Also, for child friendly noodles, I’d leave out the chili paste and add a bit of honey. If you have a can of baby corn handy, that would make a fun addition. American kids seem fascinated with baby corn.