3 Seafood Ingredients to Buy Online for Chinese New Year 2022
January 27, 2022
What seafood do I need to buy for Chinese New Year?
One of the biggest parts of celebrating the arrival of a new lunar year is the big feast you and your family share on the eve of the holiday. In Chinese culture, the dishes you serve at this time intertwine with traditional superstitions and beliefs — serving certain meals are said to bring in great luck and prosperity!
If you’re planning a sumptuous and auspicious feast for your family this February 1, then here are three kinds of seafood to buy for Chinese New Year. Each option holds a lot of meaning and can ring in good fortune, success, and family togetherness for the coming lunar year.
Why serve seafood for the Chinese New Year?
The Chinese character for “fish,” (鱼 Yú), sounds like sounds phonetically similar to the word for “surplus,” (余, Yú). Chinese superstitions say that having a surplus of wealth at the end of the year is a good thing. This is because if they manage to hold onto something by the end of the lunar year, they can make more the next.
This is where their idiom 年年有余 (nían nían yoǔ yú), which means “to have a surplus every year,” comes from. From there, the homophonic pun, 年年有鱼 “to have fish every year” became popular. Thus, fish and most seafood are staples for a Chinese New Year feast.
Delicious, versatile, and easy for beginner chefs to cook, salmon is one of the best seafood ingredients to pick up for your New Year’s feast.
Adapted from the traditional steamed whole fish recipes that are common during Chinese New Year, the Crispy Scallion Ginger Salmon recipe is a simpler yet equally satisfying and delicious version.
The combination of ginger, scallion, cilantro, and soy sauce gives that flavor we love in steamed Chinese dishes, but a cut of rich salmon fillet takes the flavor to the next level.
- 2 salmon fillets (approximately 450g total) seasoned lightly with salt
- 4 tablespoons regular oil
- ¼ teaspoon sesame oil
- ½ cup water
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons ginger (finely julienned)
- 3 scallions (finely julienned)
- 1/2 cup cilantro (chopped)
- Place a frying pan — we recommend using a cast-iron pan — over medium-high heat.
- Spread two tablespoons of regular oil, and place salmon skin-side down.
- Cook the salmon on each side for about 4 to 7 minutes. Avoid touching the salmon while it cooks.
- While the salmon is cooking, mix the water, soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, and salt in a small bowl.
- Transfer cooked salmon to a plate.
- In the same pan, add two more tablespoons of oil and fry your ginger and scallions. Once cooked, pour in your sauce mixture.
- Bring the sauce to a boil, and turn off the heat.
- Plate your salmon on rice, and pour your scallion, ginger, and sauce mixture evenly over the fillets.
- Sprinkle with the chopped cilantro, and serve.
Scallops are also auspicious for Chinese New Year. Their shells resemble old Chinese money, so they represent good fortune. Scallops are also believed to symbolize new opportunities.
In this recipe of stir-fried broccoli and scallops — 花开富贵 (huā kāi fùguì) — the shape of the vegetables are said to symbolize richness and abundance (花开富贵).
This recipe takes little effort, but it is big on taste and very lucky to serve for your Chinese New Year Feast.
- 200g broccoli, cut into florets
- 200g fresh scallops, around 10 pieces
- 1 medium carrot, peeled and sliced
- 10 pacific clams (optional)
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 3 slices of ginger
- 1 vegetable bouillon cube
- 4 tablespoons water
- ½ tablespoon cornstarch dissolved in 1 tablespoon water (cornstarch solution)
- Boil a large pot of water with your vegetable oil.
- When the water is boiling, add carrots and broccoli and blanch for 3 minutes.
- Remove and put vegetables in an ice water bath.
- Add ginger to the pot and bring to a boil again.
- When the water is boiling, cook clams for about 1 minute and scallops for about 2 minutes.
- Remove and set aside.
- Place the broccoli around your plate with the stems of the florets pointing inwards. Arrange the scallops, clams, and carrots in the center.
- Dissolve the vegetable bouillon cube in hot water.
- Add your stock to a saucepan. When it boils, add your cornstarch solution slowly.
- Mix until the consistency is slightly thick and gooey.
- Pour this sauce over the plate you arranged, and serve.
Abalone, called 鲍鱼 (Bàoyú) in Mandarin, has a lucky meaning. Bào means “guarantee,” while yú means “surplus.” This can be interpreted as having a guaranteed or assured surplus in the year ahead.
As a result, many dishes containing abalone are a popular Chinese New Year item, especially amongst businessmen.
If you want to bring in good fortune and abundance for the new Lunar Year, serve up this recipe of braised abalone and mushroom!
- 1 kg abalone
- 100g shiitake mushrooms
- 4 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
- 10g ginger (finely sliced)
- 7 tablespoon oyster sauce
- 1 tablespoon Shaoxing rice wine (or dry sherry)
- 4 tablespoon cooking oil
- 2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- 1 ½ tablespoon sugar (or to taste)
- 1 tablespoon chicken bouillon powder
- 1 L or 4 ¼ cups water (or to preference)
- Place a wok or saucepan on high heat, and add your cooking oil. When hot, turn down the heat to a medium setting.
- Add your garlic and ginger, cook for about 30 seconds or until fragrant.
- Turn the heat back to high setting and add your mushrooms. Stir fry everything for about 2 minutes.
- Add in abalone, and stir fry for 2 more minutes.
- Add in oyster sauce, chicken bouillon powder, salt, and sugar.
- Mix and stir fry for 2 more minutes, then add in your rice wine or dry sherry.
- Pour water, stir briefly, and let settle till it boils.
- When it reaches boiling, turn your heat down to low-medium. Let simmer for a few hours (you can stop after 1 or 2 hours, but we recommend 5 hours for extra-soft abalone).
- Make sure everything is submerged in the sauce for the entire simmering time. Add more water if needed.
- Remove from your wok or saucepan and serve.
Prepare for the start of a new Lunar Year by knowing what seafood to buy for Chinese New Year, and what dishes you’ll include in your family’s celebrations. If you want to have auspicious meals for good fortune this Lunar New Year, you won’t go wrong with some abalone, salmon, and scallops from JustShop. Check out our frozen seafood selection for more options, and order your ingredients in advance!