Lucky Shrimp and Lotus Seeds
Chinese New Year falls on the first day of the month of the new lunar calendar and the Lantern Festival falls on the 15th day and brings and end to the New Year season. This Lantern festival falls on February 24th, 2013 so of course we need to celebrate with more delicious Chinese dishes.
I am blessed to have many friends who love teach me about their unique cultures and foods. It is fascinating to learn about this holiday's significance and all of the symbolism behind it. When family and friends gather, it is time to celebrate and look forward to all things good and new and the main way they do this is through food. Yes-food! When it comes down to it. We are all the same in every culture. We gather! We socialize! We eat! From East to West this concept is one that is the same in every region. Well maybe an exception is at a weight watcher's meeting...
One of the aspects of this yearly celebration that is commonly emphasized is the foods that are eaten. My Chinese friends tend to associate certain foods with the things they wish for the New Year, like prosperity, fertility, and good health, based on the symbolism evoked by these foods.
Today I am going to make a quick and easy Chinese stir fry dish using fried lotus seeds and shrimp. Lotus seeds come from the beautiful lotus flower that grows in ponds and rivers. Have you ever been to People's Park in Shanghai, China? The pond in Peoples' Park is filled with gorgeous lotus flowers as far as you can see.
In the Chinese culture, lotus seeds symbolises fertility and good luck. More specifically lotus seeds are exactly what you need for a bountiful year with new bouncing babies in your home. So if you are like me with grown teenagers in the house and wish for no more, go easy on this dish...
I am hosting a Chinese family for a little lunar year celebration. So you may ask, what are you going to cook BAM? Chinese dishes of course and I best brush up on my Putongua.
Today in Bam's Kitchen, I have been experimenting with some fried lotus seeds that Mr. Anonymous purchased in Vietnam. Today was the first time I ever tried dried lotus seeds and they are delicious and crunchy and much lighter than a nut. I bet these would be great on a salad or in a dessert or a million other ways.
However, I think sometimes simple is best, especially when your hosting a meal offering maybe 4-5 Chinese entrée dishes. My goal was to create a light and easy dish that whipped up in less than 15 minutes flat using my lucky lotus seeds.
I started out with usual stir fry with a little oil then added garlic (of course!) a little onion, baby corn and then some fresh shrimp from the wet market, created a cornstarch flavored slurry and then finished off the dish some baby peas and sprinkled crunchy fried lotus seeds on top of the dish.
This Chinese dish is light, flavorful, crispy, crunchy, lucky and I had it on the table in less than 15 minutes flat. Good luck shrimp and lotus seeds is also diabetic friendly, low carb and gluten-free. If you do not have or can't get your hands on lotus seeds, no worries as this dish is flavorful and delicious even without.
1Gather all your supplies and have everything chopped, cleaned and ready to go into the wok.
2Make your Cornstarch slurry mixture:
3In a little cup, place 1/4 cup warm water and mix in your gluten free chicken powder until dissolved. Add 1 tablespoon cornstarch, sesame oil and white pepper to taste and stir. Set aside.
4In a wok or frying pan place olive oil and turn on burner to medium high heat. Add onions and garlic and stirfry until translucent.
5Add the baby corn and add a splash of water (couple of tablespoons and then place a lid on to top to help steam for about 1-2 minutes) Take the lid off of the vegetable-do not over cook, just until firm aldente.
6Add the shrimp and keep stirring until they turn slightly pink, then add your cornstarch slurry mixture.
7Add your peas and keep stirring until the mixture is light and has a silky broth. If broth is too thin add more diluted cornstarch and water. If mixture is too thick, add more water. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
8Set your lucky shrimp stir fry on to a serving platter and spinkle and handful of lotus lucky seeds on top and enjoy.