Joe's Recipes for Chinese New Year


Baked Chinese New Year Cake


  • 2 tablespoons shredded, sweetened coconut
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 pound sweet rice flour (about 3 cups)
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus extra for coating the baking dish
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt

New Year Cake


Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Coat a 13-by-9-inch baking dish with butter; set aside.

Place the coconut in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake until toasted and golden brown in color, about 5 minutes; set aside.

Place the eggs in a large bowl and lightly beat to break up the yolks.

Add the remaining ingredients and whisk until smooth, about 2 minutes.

Pour the mixture into the prepared dish and bake for 25 minutes.

Sprinkle with the toasted coconut, rotate the dish, and bake until the edges are just starting to brown and the top is just set (a bubble may form, but it will flatten as the cake cools), about 20 to 25 minutes more.

Remove from the oven and let cool for 30 minutes before serving.

Wrap leftovers tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

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Chicken and vegetable spring rolls


  • 1 tbsp groundnut oil, plus extra for deep-frying
  • 200g/7oz skinless chicken breast fillets, chopped into small pea-sized pieces
  • 4 dried Chinese mushrooms, soaked in hot water for 20 minutes, drained and finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp five-spice powder
  • 1 tsp grated fresh root ginger
  • 75g/3oz bean sprouts
  • 2 large spring onions, finely sliced lengthways
  • 1 small carrot, julienned
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • ½ tbsp light soy sauce
  • sea salt and ground white pepper
  • 16 ready-made large spring roll wrappers, thawed if frozen (available from Asian supermarkets)
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten

Chicken & Veg spring rolls

Preparation method

  1. Heat a wok until smoking and add the groundnut oil, then add the chicken and mushrooms and stir-fry for 1-2 minutes. Season with soy sauce and five-spice powder, then remove from the wok and set aside to cool for ten minutes. Wipe the wok clean with kitchen paper.

  2. Place the grated ginger, bean sprouts, spring onions and carrot into a bowl, then add the chicken and mushrooms and season with the oyster sauce, soy sauce, sea salt and ground white pepper. Stir well to combine.

  3. Lay two spring roll wrappers one on top of the other (the extra thickness will prevent the skin from breaking) and position so that the corners are pointing upwards, downwards and to the sides.

  4. Spoon two tablespoons of the filling into the centre of the wrapper. Brush each corner of the wrapper with the cornflour paste, then bring the two opposite corners on the sides together and, keeping your finger on those edges, bring the bottom corner towards the middle and then roll the pastry up tightly towards the top corner. Tuck the top edge in and seal it with a little of the beaten egg yolk. Repeat with the remaining spring roll wrappers and filling.

  5. Heat the wok over a high heat and fill the wok to a quarter of its depth with groundnut oil. Heat until a cube of bread dropped in sizzles and turns golden-brown in 15 seconds. (CAUTION: hot oil can be dangerous. Do not leave unattended.) Carefully lower the spring rolls in small batches into the oil and deep-fry for 2-3 minutes, or until golden-brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.

  6. Transfer the spring rolls onto a plate and serve immediately.
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Chow Mein


  • 225g/8oz egg noodles
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 100g/4oz chicken breast, skinned
  • 2½ tbsp finely chopped garlic
  • 50g/2oz mangetout, trimmed
  • 50g/2oz Parma ham or cooked ham, finely shredded
  • 2 tsp light soy sauce
  • 2 tsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground white pepper
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp finely chopped spring onions
  • 2 tsp sesame oil

For the marinade

  • 2 tsp light soy sauce
  • 2 tsp Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground white pepper
Chow Mein

Preparation method

  1. Cook the noodles by boiling them for 3-5 minutes in a pan of boiling water. Drain and plunge into cold water, drain again then toss with a little sesame oil.

  2. Using a cleaver, slice the chicken breasts into fine shreds approximately 5cm (2 in) long.

  3. To marinate the chicken, combine the chicken with the light soy sauce, rice wine, sesame oil, salt and pepper in a small bowl.

  4. Mix well and leave to marinate for 20 minutes.

  5. Heat a wok until it is very hot. Add one tablespoon of oil and, when it is very hot and slightly smoking, add chicken shreds.

  6. Stir-fry the mixture for about two minutes, then transfer to a plate.

  7. Reheat the wok, and add remaining oil. Add the garlic and stir-fry for 10 seconds. Add the mangetout and ham and fry for one minute.

  8. Add noodles, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, rice wine, salt and pepper, the sugar and spring onions and continue to stir-fry for two minutes.

  9. Return chicken to noodle mixture.

  10. Continue to fry for 3-4 minutes, until chicken is cooked.

  11. Stir in sesame oil and give a few final stirs.

  12. Turn onto warm serving platter and serve at once.

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