What would you prepare for Chinese New Year? [Cooking]

2011 Dec 15
I know I'm a little early asking for this.

I will be attending a Chinese New Year potluck brunch on January 22nd. The guests have been asked to bring a Chinese dish and an ornament to decorate the place. Since the upcoming year will be the Year of the Dragon we have been asked to bring an appropriately themed ornament.

The first item on my agenda is to decide what to bring. I am wondering if anyone on ottawafoodies can tell me what types of dishes are served for a New Years celebration? I am hoping to find something fairly easy to make since I have never actually made Chinese food. (Except for fried rice but the hostess will be serving a fried rice dish.)

The other challenge is finding an ornament to bring. Can anyone suggest what types of ornaments one would buy for New Years?

As always your suggetions are appreciated.

2011 Dec 15
At the Chinese New Year meals I've been at, the dishes were... too numerous to recall! Fish, vegetables, noodles, dumplings, buns... I think the tradition is to serve too much food (somewhat similar to the Quebec tradition in the Holidays ;-)

I would suggest preparing some dumplings with a meat filling. They are fairly easy to make, but time consuming, so it will be especially appreciated by anyone who has ever made them.

As for ornaments, I can only tell you that red and gold are usual colors for those celebrations.

2011 Dec 15
If you don't know what other people are bringing, you may want to do a fresh vegetable dish. You could keep it simple, stirfry broccoli with ginger, garlic & sesame oil.

2011 Dec 18
I normally bring curry chicken with potato, pan-fried dumplings, or stir-fried Chinese noodles. (The curry chicken is a very popular dish ever since I switched to use the curry paste I bought from Toronto.)

FYI. The curry paste comes in a glass jar (two sizes). The owner (from Malaysia or Singapore) has a special recipe for his curry paste. My friend recommended it to me and I went there to buy a dozen. With this curry paste, my kids and all my guests love my curry chicken.

If you are interested in trying, you can buy one jar when you are in Toronto. The store also has many other good cooking spices.

Tin Yin Spice Wholesaler Co. Ltd (Chinese: 天然椰子香料)
63 Silver Star Blvd., Unit E9,
Scarborough, Ont.
Tel: 416-609-0125

For the ornament, you may want to check out T&T or the specialty stores in Chinatown (I think of the one at 708 Somerset St.W, i.e., the one next to Yangzhe).

2011 Dec 19
Thanks everyone for the great ideas. I am planning a trip to Chinatown over the Christmas holidays to pick up ingredients and try some new dishes.

Ashley Thanks for the heads up on the curry paste. I will have to pay a visit to Tin Yin Spice on my next trip to Toronto. I don't think I will be going before Chinese New Year though. Could you recommend a comparable product I could find in Ottawa? Thanks!

2011 Dec 19
Don't forget the money to burn.

I suggest Hell Bank Notes (a lot cheaper than real money).