Welcome to the Year of the Snake, Gong Xi Fa Ca!

As per my previous blog I wanted to challenge myself and cook some Chinese food, I almost never cook Asian foods and the Chinese New Year seemed like a great time to give it a try! I went to Chinatown between meetings one morning to get some of the ingredients. It was all dressed up and the last of the lanterns were on their way up. I love to browse around the shelves in the Chinese supermarket as I have no idea what most things are, or what to have them with!


I found fresh water chestnuts, I have never seen them except from a can so I bought some.


Gong Xi Fa Ca means wishing you prosperity in Mandarin. Homes are thoroughly cleaned to sweep away any ill fortune and to welcome good luck. The food eaten at lavish banquets symbolise great importance, you can read more here.

I choose to cook a few different dishes, not all strictly Chinese but very inspired. I made dumplings for the fist time, they are still to be cooked but I was quite happy with the result, and I also decided to show more appreciation for the skill next time I am eating them when out.

I was curious how they would turn out! No Chinese New Year is celebrated without seafood so I bought some King Prawns, massive things! I read a recipe for stuffed prawns on this great blog, Kimchi House, I didn’t do them exactly the same way and nor did they look as nice but it was delicious.

King prawns stuffed with mice pork, before they are cooked


It didn’t take as long as I thought to prepare and once that is all done everything cooked pretty much at the same time.

Mince pork, for lion head meatballs and stuffing for the dumplings, spring rolls and king prawns, approx 400 gr

  • 400 gr mince pork of good quality
  • lemon grass, the inner parts, chopped and minced
  • 4 spring onions, minced
  • 1 handful of parsley and coriander leaves, minced
  • ginger, minced
  • 2 water chestnuts, cubed finely
  • carrot, cubed finely
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp shaohsing rice wine
  • 1 dash of fish sauce
  • 1 egg
  • corn starch
  • salt & pepper

Add the egg to the pork and mix, the add the remaining ingredients. When mixed add corn starch, just enough to make sure the mixture is not too wet. Set aside.

Stuffed sea bream 

  • 1 sea bream, gutted and scaled but with head on 
  • 1 blood orange, grated zest and fillets 
  • 1 handful of dill
  • chopped chilli 
  • gingers, cut julienne
  • salt & pepper 
  • melted butter, before cooking 

Make 3 cuts on each side of the sea bream. Stuff the sea bream with the ingredients, don’t use the butter until ready to cook, cover and set aside.


Dumplings and spring rolls

  • wonton skins, I bought ready made ones
  • the mince pork mixture, about 3 tbsp
  • 4 de veined, shelled and raw prawns, chopped

For the spring rolls

  • Spring onion cut lengthways
  • chilli cut lengthways

1 whisked raw egg

I bought square wonton skins so I cut out rounds for the dumplings. I mixed the prawns and the mince meat and placed about 1 tsp on each skin. I sealed the dough with the egg, covered and set aside to be steamed later.


For the spring rolls I added slightly more mince, spring onion sliced lenghtwise and chilli.


Once that was done I boiled some corn on the cob for the rice


I prepared some corn starch with spices for coating a couple of prawns and prepared some of the wonton skins with spices for a crispy bite.

All the foods had quite a short cooking time. I also had some cold rice, I used the egg I used to glue the dumplings for egg fried rice along with the sweet corn.


I pan fried the lion head meatballs and then added some water and soy sauce to steam them ready with bok choy and mushrooms.


I melted butter and brushed the sea bream and then added salt and pepper before placing it under the grill


When it was cooked I added shredded ginger and chilli to the hot pan and covered with tin foil to keep warm.

I prepared some rice noodles.


I steamed the stuffed king prawns, they tasted delicious but perhaps I need to work on the presentation


The steamed dumplings came out really nice and I deep fried the spring rolls.


The prepared wonton skins came out nice and crispy


The dry fried prawns cooked in no time at all


I had bought some nice Chardonnay to go with it and some (I know it is not Chinese!) sparkly sake, it was a tiny bottle and when I saw it in the shop I could only think that I had never tried it before!


I hope I managed to cover most “good luck” intentions with my New years dinner – Gong Xi Fa Ca!

4 Responses to “Welcome to the Year of the Snake, Gong Xi Fa Ca!”
  1. Jacqueline @How to be a Gourmand says:

    Wishing you a prosperous year of the snake Petra. You have done yourself proud – what a banquet. Those prawns look mouthwatering. Did you have any leftovers?

  2. Amazing dinner, wish I was invited! I’ve never seen a fresh water chesnut before either!

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