Because the Chinese New Year also falls on Feb. 14 this year, you can celebrate the Year of the Tiger if not the arrows of Cupid.
Plenty of party ideas flow from Martin Yan, the Chinese chef and cookbook author whose pioneering TV cooking program Yan Can Cook launched him into the Julia Child realm of food celebrities years ago. In the companion cookbook ($24.95, Chronicle Books) to his current PBS show, Martin Yan's China, Yan offers goodies your guests will enjoy.
On his most recent Fort Worth stop to teach a Central Market cooking class, we chatted about Chinese New Year entertaining. He recommended offering small plates. Things to serve would include:
Dumplings, spring rolls and wontons with dipping sauces that offer sweet, tangy, spicy and tart flavors
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Grilled marinated beef, lamb and chicken on skewers
Stir-fried chicken or duck breast with finely chopped vegetables, served in endive leaves
Easy stir-fry mixtures served atop wedges of pan-fried noodle cake (see below)
A choice of beverages such as iced lemon or passion fruit green tea and a fizzy combination of pomegranate juice, Thai lime juice, green tea and sparkling water
Yan's pan-fried noodle cake recipe: Boil water in a large pot. Add 8 ounces fresh Chinese egg noodles and cook according to package directions. Turn off heat. Drain, rinse with cold water and drain again. Return noodles to the pot and toss with 1 tablespoon vegetable oil. Place a wide, nonstick pan over medium heat until hot. Add 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, coating the pan; spread noodles evenly in the pan. Add broth and cook until liquid is evaporated and noodles are golden brown, about 5 minutes. Flip pancake and cook 5 minutes more, until golden brown. Cut into wedges.