Joanne Chang, the James Beard Award-winning baker at the helm of Boston's Flour Bakery, is visiting TODAY Food to whip up something other than her incredible confections. Instead, the cookbook author and restaurateur is celebrating her Chinese heritage with two savory, flavor-packed dishes to ring in the Lunar New Year.
As opposed to the solar calendar version of the new year, which is celebrated on Dec. 31 and Jan. 1 each year, the Lunar New Year typically occurs in late January or early February. It is considered one of the more important holidays in East and Southeast Asian culture and is honored with celebratory gatherings and, of course, gorgeous food.
This year, the Lunar New Year will take place on Tuesday, Feb. 1 and is entering the Year of the Tiger. And what celebratory feast would be complete without some steamed dumplings? First, Chang recreates her mother's recipe for pork dumplings, cooked to perfection. Then, as an ode to this year's animal symbol (and the entrée's heat level), the acclaimed chef shares a flavorful flank steak, seared quickly and served chilled.
Happy New Year!
Made with thinly sliced flank steak that gets seared and then slightly chilled, this dish is bright, herbaceous and flavorful. It's also super spicy — so spicy it makes a tiger cry, hence the name! The tart funk of the homemade nuoc cham enhances the flavor of the meat and juicy peppers beautifully as well. While this dish only takes about 40 minutes to prepare and cook, just make sure to allot enough prep time for the overnight marinade.
My mom used to make these dumplings every weekend by the dozen for my brother and me. As soon as I was old enough to learn how to make them with her, I relished the experience. They are full of juicy pork, zingy ginger and garlicky chive, steamed until tender then crisped to perfection on the bottom. We always made so many because we could never stop eating them. This recipe will make about 40 to 50 dumplings total, so you don't have to either!
Love these recipes? Try more dishes to ring in the Lunar New Year: