Chinese New Year of the Tiger 2022
This year is the Chinese year of the Water Tiger, which starts on February 1, 2022, and ends on January 21, 2023.
A water tiger year occurs every 60 years and the Chinese zodiac has five elements, earth, water, fire, wood and metal.
Those born in 2022, 2010, 1998, 1986, 1974, 1962, 1950, 1938 are tiger people.
The 12 zodiac animals are Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig.
Each year is related to an animal sign according to a 12-year-cycle.
People born in a year of the Tiger are brave, competitive, unpredictable, and confident. They are very charming and well-liked by others, but they can also be impetuous, irritable, and overindulgent.
Tigers can be stubborn and sometimes high-handed. They are active, express themselves boldly and never go back on what they have said.
Famous tigers include Queen Elizabeth II, which makes her 96 years old, Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Cruise and Lady Gaga.
Other notable tigers are Beethoven, Karl Marx, Marco Polo, Whoopi Goldberg, Emily Dickinson and Isadora Duncan.
Food is always an important part of Chinese New Year and I fondly recall the halcyon days of my childhood when cooking the Chinese New Year feasts was the responsibility of my parents and all I had to do in the way of helping was to cut some red paper into squares so Mum and Dad could turn them into ang pows, filled with money for the children who came to visit.
Dad always cooked his famous chicken curry, while Mum excelled in duck in preserved vegetable soup and Penang pickle or achar.
This year, my friend and keen cook Hayley Ho has kindly contributed two recipes. Do try them.
Hayley Ho was born in Singapore and now lives in Melbourne.
She is a cooking trainer who simply enjoys cooking and baking.
“I was lucky to have travelled around the world for two years when I was a flight attendant for Singapore Airlines,” Hayley said.
“My travels exposed me to a variety of foods from around the world, but I still enjoy home cooking best because it transports me to the taste of home no matter where I am.”
She loves to share her recipes from her Cantonese background, especially sharing traditional dishes from her parents and grandparents.
Her two children also share her love of cooking and baking, especially pizza, dumplings, pasta, steamed buns and more.
“Cooking with my children helps me create memories that will last forever,” she said.
Try Hayley's recipes for Buddha's Delight and Tang Yuan.
Buddha's Delight is a favourite Chinese New Year vegetarian dish.
8 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked to soften, stems removed, squeezed dry
4 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
½ tsp cornflour
30g cooking oil
1cm fresh ginger, sliced
500g Chinese cabbage, cut into 5cm chunks
120g carrots, thinly sliced
3 Chinese red dates, pitted
10 g dried black fungus, soaked to soften, drained, stems removed, cut into pieces
20 tofu puffs, cut into halves
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp light soy sauce
40g red fermented bean curd (nam yee), with sauce
50g snow peas
50g dried bean curd sheets, soaked to soften or 100g wet bean curd sheets (dau ken)
1 pinch dried black moss, soaked to soften, drained
30g mung bean vermicelli (dongfen), soaked to soften, drained
Mix shiitake mushrooms, 1 tsp sugar, ½ tsp salt and cornflour in a small
bowl. Set aside.
Heat wok over medium-high heat, and add the oil and ginger. Let ginger caramelise for about 30 seconds without allowing it to burn.
Add cabbage and carrots. Stir fry thoroughly, cover wok, and reduce heat to medium, cook for 5 mins.
Uncover the wok and turn the heat back up to high. Add red dates, black fungus, reserved shiitake mushrooms, tofu puffs, bean curd sheets, oyster sauce, light soy sauce, red fermented bean curd and 3 tsp sugar.
Stir fry everything thoroughly, cover the wok and cook for 5 more mins over medium heat.
Add snow peas, mung bean vermicelli, dried moss and ½ tsp salt, cook for another 2 mins. Serve hot.
Tang Yuan or glutinous rice balls is a delectable dessert that provides a sweet finale to a Chinese New Year meal or at any time.
1 cup (125g) glutinous rice flour
½ cup (120ml) water
½ piece chopped brown sugar (from Asian grocers)
Few drops of red, green and yellow food colouring
2 cups (480ml) water
2 pandan leaves, knotted
1 thumbsize knob of ginger, peeled and crushed
½ piece brown sugar
Combine water, pandan leaves, ginger and brown sugar in a medium sized pot. Bring it to
boil. Reduce heat and simmer for another 10 min and turn off heat.
Method for dough balls
Place glutinous rice flour in a large bowl. Pour water over flour and mixed with a spatula
until a soft dough forms. If it is too sticky, add a little more flour.
Knead for 2 to 3 minutes until dough is smooth.
Divide dough into 4 equal portions. Set aside one portion for the white balls. Add 3-4
drops of yellow food colouring to one portion of dough and knead till colour is even. Repeat with red and green colours.
Bring a medium sized pot of water to boil. Drop glutinous rice balls into the water. Cook
for about 5 minutes. They should float when done. Transfer them immediately to a bowl of room temperature water to cool.
Place glutinous rice balls in each bowl and pour ginger syrup to cover the rice balls. Serve warm.
Happy Chinese New Year and happy feasting during the Tigerrrr year!