This post was sponsored by Ling Ling, all opinions expressed in my post are my own.
Being born and raised in Hawaii, the Chinese influence was always strong in my family. I grew up eating Chinese food, took part in some Chinese traditions and avoided some things due to superstition. It was always nice to learn and engage in something that not everyone I knew followed or believed. Learning new traditions and foods was definitely a favorite pastime of mine!
As a child, I’d receive a small red envelope filled with some chocolate coins or real money to celebrate Chinese New Year. Sometimes my grandparents would put a small note in the envelope wishing me a wonderful year ahead. It’s a great memory, and I always enjoyed receiving and sharing the chocolates with my classmates.
During the Chinese New Year holiday or other special events such as weddings, red envelopes are given as a token of good luck and prosperity. In Chinese culture, the color red is associated with happiness and good luck. Thus, the reason for the red color on the Chinese lanterns.
Taking part in the red envelope tradition is simple. We put together an easy template for you to print and simply cut, glue or tape to create yours. We even made the template red, so you don’t have to worry about purchasing red paper. DOWNLOAD HERE..
Cooking with Ling Ling
Making food for Chinese New Year is always lots of fun! We get to share some items that we miss out on the rest of the year. My grandma makes her famous mochi, my mother makes the rice ball soup and usually I take care of the dumplings and egg rolls.
This year I am excited to share that I am going to be using Ling Ling pot stickers instead of making them — it even comes with a special dipping sauce! Although I usually avoid frozen food, Ling Ling is made with pure ingredients like wholesome rice, vegetables and seasonings. They avoid all artificial flavors, colors and preservatives, making it a lot healthier than most the frozen food you’d find in the grocery store.
A few days ago, myself and a handful of Seattle bloggers had the opportunity to learn how to cook Chinese New Year favorites with Chef Katie Chin, thanks to Ling Ling. Using Ling Ling pot stickers and some fresh vegetables we made some delicious items *recipes below!
Before the cooking started, Katie shared her story about her love for Chinese cuisine and how her mother, Leeann Chin, held a high influence. Leeann and Katie have had a long relationship sharing their mutual interest in cooking. This love formed the cookbook Everyday Chinese Cooking — which lead to several cooking shows on Food Network! Since then, Leeann has passed away, but Katie works hard everyday to share her love for Chinese cooking and remains in partnership with Ling Ling.
When it comes to Ling Ling food items, Katie is especially fond of the pot stickers. After all, she did work hand-in-hand with founders of Ling Ling on the recipe. During our Ling Ling event with Katie she showed us how to cook these pot stickers to perfection and some other basic side dishes like the ones below.
Chinese Long Beans with Cashews
- 1lb Chinese long beans, trimmed and cut into 2 inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons Hoisin sauce
- 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
- 2oz roasted cashews
1. Cook the long beans in boiling water until tender crisp, about 2 minutes. Transfer the beans with a slotted spoon (or colander) to an ice bath until cool (about 2 minutes). Drain and set aside.
2. Heat the oil in a wok or skillet over medium-high heat. Add the green beans and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Add the garlic, Hoisin sauce and oyster sauce and stir-fry for 30 seconds.
3. Dish out and garnish with roasted cashews.
Note: If you use green beans instead of long beans, blanch for 5 minutes instead of 2 minutes.
Spicy Garlicky Asian Eggplant
- 2 Asian eggplants, cut in half lengthwise then diagonally into 1/2 inch slices
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 hot red chili peppers, seeded and thinly slices
- 2 tablespoons water
1. Cover the eggplants with water, add the salt and stir to dissolve the salt. Soak the eggplants for 5 minutes then drain well.
2. In a small bowl, combine the oyster sauce, sugar and sesame oil. Set aside.
3. Heat the oil in a wok or skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, chili peppers and reserved eggplant and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons water and continue stir-frying for 2 more minutes. Add the oyster sauce mixture and stir well to mix. Dish out and serve immediately with hot steaming rice.
Note: You will find Asian eggplant at many Asian markets. You can substitute regular eggplant, just cut it lengthwise into 4-6 strips before slicing.
Ling Ling pot stickers and other dishes, like their noodles and fried rice will be a regular in our home. The ease of cooking these items and the fresh taste you get are absolutely worth it. This Chinese New Year I am excited to bring to the table the Ling Ling pot stickers for my family and friends to enjoy.
Huge thanks to Katie Chin, Influence Central and Ling Ling Asian Foods for hosting us and creating such a lovely event. Cheers to the new year!
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