The Year of the Rabbit

By / Food / February 8th, 2011 / 2

Chinese New Year may have kicked off on February 3rd, but celebrations will continue for a total of 15 days total. For those of Chinese heritage, the New Year is about more than dragon dances, paper lanterns and fireworks.  It’s the longest and most important festivity in the Chinese Lunar Calendar. The good news is you don’t have to be Chinese to celebrate. In Canada, we celebrate with parades, performances and food. Lots of food. Tidings has you covered there. Along with the scrumptious dish below, you can find recipes for all of your favourites right here.

It’s traditional for Chinese families to clean their houses before New Year celebrations to sweep away any bad luck and make way for good luck in the coming year. Windows and doors are decorated with colourful items that inspire happiness, wealth and longevity. On the Eve of the Chinese New Year, dinner is a feast shared with family. It will typically include pig, duck, chicken and sweet delicacies.

According to Chinese astrology, the year of the rabbit is a good one for everyone. Peaceful, quiet and self-indulgent, the rabbit brings with it exceptional good luck. After last year’s struggles, we can look forward to feeling much more relaxed, carefree and wealthy in spirit and material objects. That’s not so bad, is it? Well, before you get too comfortable and kick back with a nice glass of wine, give the recipe below a try!

Gina Steer has written a book called, The Fondue Cookbook (Whitecap Press), with 127 pages loaded with fondue recipes, starters, sides and desserts. I adapted this recipe to suit the ingredients I happen to have had on hand when I made it.

Sweet & Sour Beef Fondue

Serves 4

1-1/2 lbs eye of round steak, cut into strips
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp brown rice syrup (or brown sugar)
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 cup red wine

For the batter
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup cold carbonated water (like Perrier)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
2 cups oil, for frying

Sweet and Sour Sauce
Makes 2 cups

1 Tbsp oil
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
6 green onions, sliced
2/3 cup chicken broth
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp fresh ginger, chopped
1 tsp honey
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/3 cup pineapple juice

Prepare the meat

Combine garlic, brown rice syrup, soy sauce, vinegar and wine; stir well. Pour over meat; cover and set aside in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.


Combine eggs and carbonated water; stir until frothy. Sift in flour and cornstarch. Place batter equally into small bowls.

Sweet and Sour Sauce

Heat oil in a frying pan and sauté the pepper and green onions for about 3 minutes. Add the chicken broth, soy sauce, vinegar, ginger and honey; simmer for 3 minutes. Bring to a boil. Blend the cornstarch with the pineapple juice, stir into the sauce, and cook, stirring until the sauce thickens.


1. Drain the meat and place equal amounts in small bowls. Arrange the bowls with meat beside the bowls containing batter.

2. Heat the oil to 375°F in the fondue pot, then carefully place on the lit burner. Spear a piece of meat onto a fondue fork, dip in the batter, then fry in the oil until crisp and golden. Serve with the Sweet and Sour Sauce and cooked white rice.

Pour a glass of chilled Gewürztraminer.


Rosemary Mantini has always loved words. When she isn't working as the Associate Editor at Tidings Magazine, she's helping others achieve their writing dreams, and sometimes she even relaxes with a good book and a glass of wine.

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