February 20, 2015, by International students

You can’t celebrate Chinese New Year without good food!

Today’s blog post is by Paula from Hong Kong, who is studying BA International Media and Communications Studies.

Chinese New Year (CNY), also known as Spring Festival, is among all other festivals, the most important and the most widely celebrated one for Chinese people. No matter whether you are in China or abroad, doing something to celebrate this very time of a year is just spontaneous, blissful and traditional. Being a Chinese student in a western country, you might not have families here around to spend time with, no red pocket money, no holidays, but feeling homesick, nostalgic and lonely. Don’t worry, you can treat yourselves to the most authentic festive CNY food, hang out with friends and check out what Nottingham offers for Chinese New Year!

You might already be very familiar with the bunch of Chinese restaurants in Nottingham. Dining out with friends in any of those restaurants during this spring time is nothing ordinary, but something meaningful. Dim Sum, roasted pork, Poon Choi (big bowl feast) are all very festive. Even if you aren’t Chinese, you should definitely go and try some of this food!


However, another way of celebrating, perhaps, is to make some food by yourselves.

Spending time together with friends making food to share is part of the CNY spirit. Here are a few recipes for CNY food. Let’s have a go!

1. Chinese New Year’s Cake (NianGao)


  • 500g glutinuous rice flour
  • 100g Corn Flour
  • 400g Cane sugar
  • 400ml water
  • 200ml coconut milk
  • 50ml vegetable oil (or other flavourless oil)
  • 1 chinese dried red date for decoration, (optional)
  • a handful of seasame seeds (optional)


1. Bring cane sugar into a pot of boiling water and leave it to melt, stirring occasionally until the sugar has completely dissolved.
2. Sieve the melted cane sugar water, stir  it with coconut milk.
3. In another bowl, sieve the flour, then stir with cane sugar mixture. Slowly stir in oil.
4. Pour the mixture into a prepared tin, cover the mixture with some parchment paper (to stop the condensation dripping on the cake while steaming).
Steam for 20 mins on high heat, then 2 hours more (medium heat). Don’t let the water dry out, refill water when needed and keep checking.
5. Take the cake out, stick a toothpick into it, it’s done when it comes out clean.
6. Use your finger, first moisten with a bit of oil, press into a dish of sesame seeds when the cake is still hot and soft, then gently press the seeds onto the cake. Don’t try to sprinkle the seeds on because you will get a better and more even coverage this way.

2. Chinese New Year dumplings



  • Plain flour and warm water for the dough
  • 225g Chinese cabbage (or savoy, if unavailable)
  • 200g minced pork (not too lean)
  • 1tbsp grated ginger
  • 1tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1tbsp shaoxing wine or dry sherry
  • 1tbsp sesame oil
  • ½ egg, beaten
  • 55g finely chopped Chinese chives – or spring onions, if unavailable (or wild garlic when in season)


1. Put the cabbage in a food processor or mince it manually. Place the cabbage to a large bowl and sprinkle with the salt. Leave it for 10 minutes.
Add ginger, chives, pork, pepper, soy sauce, rice wine and sesame oil to the food processor or mix them all in a large bowl. Set aside.

2. Put the mixture into the dumplings wrappers. If you have never done it before, it might be a bit tricky. Check out this dumpling recipe with photos for illustration.

3.  Place the dumplings in boiling water for 5 minutes or fry them on a shallow frying pan for about 7-8 minutes. Serve with dipping sauce.

Happy Chinese New Year!!!!!!!

CNY macro

Posted in CelebrationsFoodNottingham city