Thursday, February 11, 2010

Foodie Friday - A Chinese New Year Valentine

This year, Valentine's Day and Chinese New Year are on the same day, and what better way to treat your sweetheart than with a few of his favorite Asian dishes. This worked out well for me, because I prepared one dinner that covered both occasions. I planned this for tonight because of this post, and the fact that it will leave us free to do brunch on Sunday! That's a nice bonus.

We started our meal with Fresh Vietnamese Spring Rolls accompanied by nuoc cham for dipping. Round rice wrappers, (banh trang), are soaked in warm water until softened, then filled and rolled like an egg roll. These were filled with prepared rice noodles, cooked shrimp, cucumber, carrot, scallion, snow peas, and fresh cilantro. They're a year round favorite here, but are especially nice during the summer when it's too hot to do much cooking. When the mint is over running the garden during the warmer months, we add that too.

Our main course was Thai Green Curry Chicken with Long Beans. Chicken is poached in a coconut milk sauce that is seasoned with Thai green chile paste, garlic, kaffir lime leaves, lemon grass, fish sauce, lime, and fresh basil leaves. This dish is packed with flavor, and can be mildly hot or very hot, depending on how much curry paste you add. We serve this over jasmine rice. The rice collects some of the sauce, which is very thin, and also mitigates a bit of the heat. This dish is simple to prepare. Finding 'exotic' ingredients is what consumed my time.
I would have made Thai Black Rice Pudding for dessert, but in my travels to local food stores I've yet to find the special rice. As a substitute, my husband requested my regular rice pudding. It's a perfect finish to almost any meal, so I'm including the recipe that an Aunt gave me years ago.
Creamy Rice Pudding

Cook 3/4 cup long grain rice in 1 quart of water. Don't let dry out. When the rice absorbs most of the water and looks creamy, add 1 quart of milk and bring back to a boil.

Thoroughly mix together 2-3 eggs, 1 cup sugar, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. nutmeg, a dash of salt, and 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract. (You can also add a cup of raisins now, if desired.)

Using a whisk, whip the egg mixture into the boiling rice mixture. Stirring constantly bring back to a boil. Pour into a large serving bowl. Chill before serving. (Note: Pudding thickens as it stands.)

This post is being linked to Designs by Gollum, where Foodie Friday is well under way. Please stop by and visit our hostess, Michael Lee, and see what others are cooking up for the dual holiday on February 14th.

Happy New Year and Happy Valentine's Day..........Nancy


  1. Wow... those heart shaped carrots are adorable. You should post a tutorial for them.


  2. Yum, that chicken sounds delicious, and I love ride pudding. Thanks for sharing, Nancy Jane, and YUM!

    Happy Foodie Valentine's!


    Sheila :-)

  3. Those look great..everything so nice and fresh and green!
    Rice pudding is the one and only recipe my mom ever wrote down for me!

  4. What a good idea to combine Valentine's Day with Chinese New Year - sounds delicious!

  5. Your rice pudding sould sooo good and easier than mine; it's a keeper.

  6. Thanks for visiting me! I have never tried to cook authentic Asian food. I've made a few "almost" recipes, but nothing like this. I really want to learn. Maybe I'll start with your recipes...thank you!


  7. Those photos are really great... how brave of you to go for a Chinese New Year Feast!!!

  8. I LOVE!!! rice pudding, my grandmother always made it for the family. I also like the heart shape carrots, GREAT!!! idea.

  9. What a perfect meal to celebrate both holidays. I hope your day was as wonderful as your meal. Blessings...Mary


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