Chinese New Year of the Ox 2021

Chinese New Year of the Ox 2021

Chinese New Year of the Metal Ox starts on Friday, February 12, and we hope it will be better than last year, which was tumultous and challenging.

The other animals in the Chinese zodiac are the Rat, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Tiger, Rabbit, Sheep, Rooster, Monkey, Dog and Pig.

According to the Chinese annals, those born in the Year of the Ox are said to be determined, strong and conservative.

Their best matches are with those born in the Year of the Rat, Monkey and Rooster, while they are least compatible with Tigers, Horses and Goats.

In the Chinese Zodiac, the Ox is very hardworking and methodical and in 2021, those who work hard will be rewarded.

With any predictions, always take it with a big chopstick-full of salt because life can be so unpredictable.

The reunion dinner on Chinese New Year's Eve is always a momentous occasion and I have fond memories of accompanying my Dad to the market when I was a child because cooking for the big reunion dinner was his chosen responsibility.

While mum took charge of cleaning the house, Dad and I would climb onto a trishaw which

transported us to the market and I soaked up the festive ambience, with the traders and customers haggling over the prices of meat and vegetables, flowers and cookies.

We had neighbours who kept chickens in their backyard and it was a tradition for them to present a couple of chooks to Dad for his cookpot every year.

In return, Dad gave them a very generous red packet filled with money.

It was also tradition that my sister and I would peek behind the kitchen curtains while Dad carried out the necessary massacre, amidst all the screeching and squawking.

We were torn between wanting to watch and being scared and the end we always “chickened out” and ran away to hide.

We tried not to think too much about the massacre in our backyard when slurping on the delicious chicken curry at dinner time.

This year enjoy your Chinese New Year meal with family and friends, whether you like chicken curry or seafood noodles, are a vegetarian or vegan or an omivore like me.

Try Chinese pork fritters as a meal or snack with drinks. For more recipe ideas check out

Chinese Pork Fritters

1 tbsp vegetable oil plus extra for frying

500g pork mince

2 tbsp soy sauce

1 ¼ cups self-raising flour

1 egg, whisked

1 tbsp sesame oil

1 tsp finely grated ginger

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 cup chilled soda water

4 stems spring onions, trimmed and sliced into thin 4cm batons

1 large carrot, peeled and cut into 6cm matchsticks

225g can sliced water chestnuts, drained, rinsed and roughly chopped

shredded spring onions to serve

Soy & chilli dipping sauce

¼ cup soy sauce

2 tbsp Chinese black vinegar

½ tsp caster sugar

1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped

To make dipping sauce, combine all ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

Preheat oven to 160deg C or 140deg C fan-forced.

Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large frying pan over high heat. Add pork mince and cook, breaking up pork with a wooden spoon, for 1 minute.

Add 1 tbsp soy sauce and cook, stirring occasionally and continue to break up the pork mince, for 5 minutes or until pork is cooked and liquid has been absorbed. Set aside for 15 minutes to cool.

Combine flour, egg, sesame oil, ginger, garlic and remaining soy sauce in a large bowl. Pour in soda water and whisk until a smooth batter forms. Stir in cooled pork, green onions, carrot and water chestnuts. Mix until well combined.

Pour vegetable oil into a large saucepan until 5cm deep. Heat oil over medium-high heat until hot.

Use two dessertspoons to form 2 tablespoons of mixture into a rough fritter shape. Carefully spoon fritter mixture into the oil and cook fritters, in batches, for 5 minutes, turning once, or until golden and cooked through.

Place fritters on a tray lined with paper towels and keep warm in low heat oven while cooking each batch.

Arrange fritters on a serving platter. Scatter with shredded green onions and serve with the soy and chilli dipping sauce.

Wishing everyone a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year of the Ox!