Celebrate the Chinese New Year with some stir-fry using chicken, pork or shrimp. (Contributed)

“The Old has gone, the New is here.” —2 Corinthians

I have just wished you, dear readers, “prosperity” in the Chinese language—Fú—a greeting that we need now, more than ever, with the rising prices today.

On Feb. 10, Asian peoples will be celebrating their most important holiday of the year, New Year’s Day. Chinese, Koreans, Vietnamese, Tibetans and Mongolians will “not” be taking out trash or cleaning their homes or businesses, as they do not want to washaway good luck.

And on the second day of their new year, families and friends will come together and celebrate with good food and sweets, the latter of which will bring prosperity into their lives. Fireworks will be set off, warding away the evil Nian, which is a half dragon and half lion monster, who scares little children.

On the third day of this new year, celebrants stay at home as this day is prone to having arguments with family and/or friends.

I, on the other hand, will not be traveling to San Francisco on Feb. 24 to join in on their gigantic Chinese New Year’s parade as my Hubby and I have in the past, where over 500,000 people crowd into Chinatown to watch the 2-1/2 hour-long parade, which travels over 1-1/3 miles, winding through the streets of their businesses.

I will, however, miss the fun of the 100-foot smoke-belching roaring dragon with 100 men under it, as it weaves from one side of the street to the other, frightening kids and adults alike.

My Chinese New Year’s resolution is to add more Asian recipes to my very short list, beginning with a Bok Choy and Chicken Stir-fry. While reading through this recipe I suddenly discovered that the recipe can be made three ways and can be eaten either for lunches or dinners. Adding an egg to the Stir fry recipe below would make for great breakfast fare as well.

When I first noticed Bok choy in markets, I was not into buying any cabbage other than the usual heads of cabbage that I grew up eating. I shied away from red and Napa cabbages as well. But then as my children left home and I had more time, my interest in Asian recipes piqued, and I frequented Chinese restaurants more.

As the server would set an unfamiliar dish on the table, I would immediately deconstruct those stir-frys and soups, marveling in the new-to-me vegetables that had been incorporated. Often, I would wish that more of a certain vegetable had been added, so much so that I decided it was time for me to “cook my own” chow mein or stir-frys. And that’s when Bok Choy and I married.

If you are in an Asian market, you will probably find Yu Choy, another member of this family, which has a hint of pepper and a mild earthy taste. The stalks of Yu Choy are slender and long. Yu Choy is not often seen in our Asian restaurants here in Santa Cruz.

Heads of white cabbage are a little cheaper and more available than the others listed here. It’s safe to say that our markets never run out of white cabbage.

We usually look to spinach as our greatest source of Vitamins A and C, as well as B6 and B12. However, the above cabbages are just as high in those vitamins and include an excellent source of iron, magnesium, fiber and calcium.  

Adding Asian chicken and pork stir-frys and soups will enable you to incorporate those vitamins above into your kid’s daily diet.  

Any fresh vegetable can be added to the recipe below without compromising the original taste of the dish. Plus, you can make this soup or stir-fry your own, by adding rice or noodles. My suggestion is to start with the basic recipe, and then play with it; you won’t go wrong.

Celebrate through the Chinese New Year along with our Asian friends, you won’t be sorry you did.

Gung hei faat coi!

Chicken Stir-Fry

(Serves 4) 

1 pound of skinless chicken sliced into one-inch strips.

1 Tbsp. sesame seed oil

1 garlic clove minced.

Sauté chicken strips and garlic about 4 minutes or until they reach 160 deg. Remove from pan and keep covered. Keep pan juices.

Make a slurry of:

1 cup water

2 Tbsp. Soy sauce

1 Tbsp. Corn starch

2 Tbsp. Better than Bullion Chicken flavor

Stir well. Set aside.

In a hot Wok or 12in. frying pan add juices from above and 2 Tbsp, sesame seed oil.


1 cup onions, cut into 1-inch cubes.

1/2 cup sliced celery

1 cup asparagus cut into 2 in. lengths.

1/4 cup sliced water chestnuts

2 cups bamboo sprouts 

1 tsp. grated ginger, or dry.

1 small head of Bok choy or 2 cups sliced.

Fry quickly, stirring often, about 3 minutes.

Add slurry and stir 1-2 min until slightly thickened.

Add chicken to vegetables. Cook 1 minute more.

Vegetables should be crisp.

Serve over steamed rice.

For Soup:

Add all chicken and vegetable ingredients above into 2 quarts of Chicken broth and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes.  

Add Chinese noodles and cook according to directions on label.


Chicken, pork or shrimp is wonderful in this recipe. Jump in and use your imagination.

Colly Gruczelak, a Ben Lomond resident, loves people and loves to cook. Contact her at [email protected].

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Colly Gruczelak, a Ben Lomond resident, loves people and loves to cook. Contact her at [email protected].


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