How to prepare a Chinese New Year Feast: sample menus & workflow

Three sample menus and a detailed workflow, this Chinese New Year Feast guide will help you to cook a complete meal from scratch for this very special occasion.

I guess every enthusiastic home cook enjoys hosting festive dinner parties. It’s a great opportunity to showcase your culinary skill and, most importantly, to express your love through delicious food. However, preparing a complete meal from scratch for a group of guests can be very challenging, especially when you have little time (which always seems to be the case).

When planning a major meal like a Chinese New Year feast, I always design a well balanced menu and write a detailed workflow in advance. This is a tremendous help in easing stress on the day. For the coming Year of the Dog, I’d like to share three sample menus and a detailed workflow for one of them. I hope this will inspire you and help you to deliver a wonderful Chinese New Year Feast for your loved ones on this very special occasion.

Culinary tour of china new itinerary

Sample menu No.1 (for 6-8 persons):

Aubergine salad with garlic dressing (凉拌茄子)

Pork rind jelly salad (肉皮冻)

Black pepper beef stir-fry (黑椒牛柳)

Kung Pao shrimp (宫保虾仁)

Spare ribs with black bean sauce (豆豉炖排骨) 

Sweet and sour fish (糖醋鱼)

Tofu-stuffed tomatoes (番茄豆腐盅)

Pan-fried vegetarian dumplings (素煎饺)

Hong Kong style mango pancake (芒果班戟)

Steamed to a creamy, melt-in-your-mouth texture and seasoned with a pungent chilli-garlic dressing, this aubergine salad (凉拌茄子) is simple yet delectable.

Slippery, springy and spicy, Chinese pork rind jelly (肉皮冻) is truly a delight to enjoy. There is no commercial gelatin involved and it’s very simple to prepare.

Tender and succulent beef strips with a black pepper flavoured sauce, black pepper beef stir-fry (黑椒牛柳) can be made at home to a restaurant standard.

A stir-fry dish with pungent and fragrant flavour, Kung Pao shrimp (宫保虾仁) is a classic Sichuan dish not to be missed.

Multi-layered flavour penetrating tender meat, braised spare ribs with black bean sauce (豆豉炖排骨) is a scrumptious treat requiring effortless preparation.

Visually appealing and balanced in flavour, sweet and sour fish (糖醋鱼) is a must for Chinese New Year feast.

Juicy tomatoes are hollowed and steamed with well seasoned tofu crumbs. This Tofu-stuffed tomato (番茄豆腐盅) dish is served with a scrumptious sweet and sour sauce.

Delectable on the palate and pleasing on the eyes, pan-fried vegetarian dumplings (素煎饺) are filled with vegetables and resemble vegetables.

Fresh mango chunks topped with fluffy whipped cream, then wrapped with a thin, moist and elastic crepe, pillow-shaped mango pancake (芒果班戟) is a dessert to die for.

Suggested workflow for sample menu No. 1

1-3 days ahead of time:

  • Familiarize yourself with all the recipes.
  • Purchase the ingredients.
  • Assemble dumplings then store in the freezer.
  • Braise pork rind, then keep refrigerated.
  • Make Chinese chilli oil for seasoning pork rind jelly salad and the dipping sauce for dumplings.
  • Make spicy black bean sauce for spare ribs. Store in the fridge.

1 day ahead of time:

  • Make the wrappers for Hong Kong style mango pancake, then keep refrigerated.
  • Soak Shiitake mushroom for Tofu-stuffed tomatoes.

1-3 hours before serving:

  • Chop mango and whip cream. Assemble mango pancakes then chill in the fridge.
  • Steam aubergine then leave to cool.
  • Prepare the ingredients for black pepper beef stir-fry: Slice beef then marinate. Chop vegetables and herbs. Mix the sauce.
  • Prepare the ingredients for Kung Pao shrimp: Marinate shrimp. Roast peanuts. Chop herbs. Mix the sauce.
  • Stuff tomato with tofu filling. Make the sauce for this dish.

0-1 hour before serving:

  • Tear the aubergine into pieces. Prepare the dressing.
  • Slice the pork rind jelly. Prepare the dressing.
  • Braise pork ribs with black bean sauce.
  • Steam the stuffed tomato 10 minutes before the diners arrive.
  • Fry the fish then set aside. Chop herbs for this dish and mix the sweet & sour sauce.

When the diners arrive:

  • Season spinach salad and pork rind jelly then garnish.
  • Cook two stir-fry dishes: black pepper beef & Kung Pao shrimp.
  • Cook the fried fish with the sweet & sour sauce.
  • Pan fry the dumplings (without defrosting) half way through the meal.

There is an alternative workflow: You can involve all the diners in preparing the dumplings (this is a family tradition in many Chinese households). Prepare the dough and filling before hand. Dumplings can be assembled by the rest of the diners while the cook finishes up the other dishes. After all, Chinese New Year Feast is all about sharing.

Sample menu No.2 (for 4-6 persons):

Spinach salad with ginger dressing (姜汁菠菜)

Sichuan shredded pork with garlic sauce (鱼香肉丝)

Taiwanese aromatic three cup chicken (三杯鸡)

Steamed garlic prawns with vermicelli (蒜蓉粉丝蒸虾)

Spicy dry-pot cauliflower (干锅菜花)

Beef dumplings in hot & sour soup (酸汤水饺)

Peanut & sesame brittle (花生芝麻糖)

An earthy, refreshing dish loaded with nutrients, spinach and soybean salad (姜汁菠菜) is seasoned with a flavourful Chinese ginger dressing.

Signature dish of Sichuan cuisine, shredded pork with garlic sauce (鱼香肉丝) delivers a sophisticated and addictive taste: tangy, spicy, sweet & sour.

Fried in sesame oil, braised in rice wine and soy sauce, then flavoured with fresh basil, Taiwanese three cup chicken (三杯鸡) is super aromatic.

A tasty, good-looking dish with little preparation, steamed garlic prawns with vermicelli (蒜蓉粉丝蒸虾) only takes a few minutes to cook.

Dry-pot cauliflower (干锅菜花) is a healthy dish for those who love spicy food and intense flavour.

Served in a very tasty way, beef dumplings in hot & sour soup (酸汤水饺) is very warm and comforting.

Super crunchy and nutty, Chinese peanut & sesame brittle (花生芝麻糖) is totally addictive!

Sample menu No.3 (for 4-6 persons):

Cucumber salad with easy Chinese dressing (拌黄瓜)

Red-cooked pork belly (红烧肉)

Spicy orange beef stir-fry (橙味牛肉)

Sichuan boiled fish (Shui Zhu Yu, 水煮鱼)

Stir-fried aubergine in plum sauce (苏梅酱茄子)

Crystal prawn dumplings (虾饺)

Pear with rock sugar – two ways (冰糖雪梨)

A classic cucumber salad (凉拌黄瓜) flavoured with an easy Chinese dressing.

Classic dish, simplified version. This red-cooked pork belly (红烧肉) is hassle-free and fool-proof.

Savoury, fruity, slightly sour and refreshingly spicy, orange beef stir-fry (橙味牛肉) is a very delightful dish.

Tendre fish fillet poached in seasoned water, then topped with spices, Sichuan boiled fish (水煮鱼) is tasty, pungent and super addictive.

Creamy and luscious, stir-fried aubergine in plum sauce (苏梅酱茄子) is a tasty vegetarian dish to die for.

Juicy filling wrapped in a translucent skin, prawn dumplings (Har Gow, 虾饺) is a pleasure for your palate and your eyes.

Steamed or boiled pear with rock sugar (冰糖雪梨) is a traditional Chinese dessert perfect for winter days.

Voilà! These are my suggestions for 2018 Chinese New Year Feast. Please feel free to explore more recipes that suits your palate in the Recipe Index.

Time has flown by since I started RED HOUSE SPICE one year ago. Developing this blog has been a very enjoyable experience. Saying good-bye to the Year of the Rooster, I’d like to take this opportunity to THANK YOU, my dear readers, for your ongoing appreciation and support.

Wish you all the best in the Year of the Dog!春节快乐,狗年大吉!

An enthusiastic cook with a Chinese palate and a global mindset.

Three sample menus and a detailed workflow, this Chinese New Year Feast guide will help you to cook up a complete meal from scratch for this very special occasion.

4 thoughts

  1. Congratulations again on your one year anniversary! What a beautiful collection of recipes you have so far. Look forward to seeing your new creations in the Year of the Dog.

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