Chinese New Year is just around the corner (Jan 23). In my house this is also known as an excuse for Mom to teach the kids about different cultures. Also known as an excuse for Mom to bust out some fun foods in the kitchen. One of the things I like about the Chinese New Year feast is that the foods carry meanings. Their colors, shapes or textures are supposed to bring certain wishes for the new year. With that in mind, I’ve got a recipe that features cabbage (bok choy) for prosperity and long noodles for a long life. Prosperity, long life and a yummy dinner – it’s a winning combination.
You can make this meal spicy or tame. My husband & I like it on the spicy side but I’ll give you instructions at the end if you want to tone it down. But come on… who doesn’t want a little spice in their life this year?? 🙂
Shrimp & Bok Choy Noodle Bowl
Courtesy of Rachael Ray’s 365 No Repeats Cookbook with minor modifications by yours truly
2 TB cooking oil
2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (or less to taste)
4 tsp minced garlic
1 small piece of ginger (approx 2 inches long) peeled and cut into very thin matchsticks
1 package (8 oz) of shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1 medium bok choy, trimmed and cut into 3 inch matchsticks
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup clam juice (in the soup aisle)*
1 lb peeled shrimp
1 box thin spaghetti
4 green onions, cut into 3 inch matchsticks
1. In a soup pot, heat oil over medium high heat. Add crushed red pepper, garlic, ginger, mushrooms and bok choy. Season with a bit of salt & pepper and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add chicken stock and clam juice. Cover and bring to a boil.
2. Add shrimp and noodles and cook at a rolling boil for 5 minutes. Add green onions and turn off the heat. Let sit for another five minutes so all the flavors come together.
Serve it in big bowls. My kids love to use chop sticks to eat this dinner – another fun way to work in the Chinese New Year theme. I alternate between using a fork and a spoon (I’m terrible with chop sticks) and I’ve been known to slurp up the broth at the bottom of the bowl.
Don’t want it spicy? Omit the crushed red pepper. Some of you want it spicy? Divide and conquer – get two pots and make half with the spice and half without.
Oh and that * by the clam juice… in a pinch I’ve used a can of vegetable stock with a splash of Thai fish sauce. Seafood stock would be great if you can find it instead. The added seafood taste adds a very nice layer to this dish. You could just add another cup of chicken stock if you can’t find any fish-related substitution.
Happy Chinese New Year!