I’ve posted three recipes in honor of Chinese New Year: Braised Black Bean Pork, Almond Gel and Sweet Sesame Balls. As the 15-day celebration comes to a close, consider creating a Tray of Togetherness for your family.

Eight is considered the luckiest number in Chinese culture, bringing good fortune and happiness. A traditional Tray of Togetherness features eight special treats, including dried fruit, seeds and nuts. You can find the ingredients at your local natural and organic food store or at a nearby Asian market.

In the example shown here, you’ll see (clockwise from top center):

  1. Sesame sticks, said to bring many children
  2. Red melon seeds, because the color symbolizes happiness and joy
  3. Candied winter melon, representing growth and good health
  4. Kumquats, because the gold represents prosperity
  5. Peanuts, signifying longevity
  6. Lucky money candy, leading to a sweet and prosperous year
  7. Lotus seeds, attributed to fertility
  8. Longans (an Asian fruit), said to bring many good sons

And if you want to wish someone good fortune in Cantonese, just say: “Kung Hay Fat Choy.”

Book Pick of the Day: Chinese Healing Foods: Keep Your Body and Soul in Balance with Powerful Natural Foods and Seasonings

Photo courtesy of Panda Express