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Ching’s Chinese New Year MASTERCLASS

Chinese New Year is a celebration full of symbolism, says food writer and TV chef Ching-He Huang. We asked her to give deputy food editor Sophie Austen-Smith a training session in how to cook a traditional feast to welcome in the Year of the Pig – and to give an insight into why the ingredients are chosen with such care

THE IMPORTANCE OF SYMBOLIC DISHES AND INGREDIENTS

Food is central to Chinese New Year, and festive dishes are chosen for their symbolism in bringing good health, long life, luck and prosperity into the coming year. The major recipe components have a role and meaning beyond their wonderful taste.

At the beginning of each of these recipes, Ching explains what the ingredients mean and why they’re important, but here’s her overview of Chinese New Year symbolism: „If particular ingredients sound like the words for ‘prosperity’, ‘luck’, ‘wealth’ or ‘success’, then those dishes become symbolic. Red is a symbol of luck and is considered auspicious, so red foods are emblematic of New Year feasting, too – as is the yellow of pineapple, which is a symbol of gold or wealth.”

STARTER Wok-fried fragrant scallops

SERVES 4. HANDS-ON TIME 15 MIN

Scallops are a prized ingredient and their shape resembles a coin, symbolising prosperity. You could serve the scallops in their shells (if you have them). I’ve dressed them with watercress leaves for an added touch of prosperity (the word for vegetables sounds like the word for wealth).

MAKE AHEAD

Make the dressing a few hours ahead, stirring in the coriander just before serving.

FOOD TEAM’S TIP

Cayenne chillies are long, shiny and moderately hot.

If you can’t find them in your supermarket, use a large pinch of cayenne chilli powder instead.

• 1 tbsp rapeseed oil, plus extra for frying

• A few sichuan peppercorns, toasted in a dry pan and ground in a pestle and mortar, to taste

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About delicious. Magazine

Happiness is… the keep-you-warm February issue of delicious. magazine: try Dan Doherty’s home cooking (spicy beef stew with cheddar scone topping, mmm), childhood favourites reinvented by Georgina Hayden and a Chinese New Year feast from Ching-He Huang. Share the love with our Valentine’s Day ideas and spice up your life with Judy Joo’s KFC (Korean Fried Chicken, that is) and Chetna Makan’s healthy Indian suppers. Our expert cooks’ tips will have you cooking like a pro, ready to tackle an Italian-style pork roast, foolproof cheese soufflé or Richard Bertinet’s flaky kouign amann. It’s easy when we show you how.