Today is the first day of the Chinese New Year, and this year happens to be the year of the dragon. So, of course, we had to have a meal to celebrate this august occasion.
In honor of this event, I fixed my version of a traditional Chinese dish called Phoenix and Dragon. One thing to know about this dish is while it might be called Phoenix around here, it is very different from the phoenix that most American's think of. In Chinese, it is called Fenghuang, and it is a mixture of different birds--roosters, sparrow, peacocks, etc.--none of whom necessarily re-generate after a fire.
However, the dish itself is a lovely stir fry of several ingredients, including chicken (to represent phoenix), shrimp (to represent dragon), vegetables (to represent health), and spices (to represent taste and sensation).
The meal refers to ancient Chinese beliefs, in which the dragon and phoenix or fenghuang are two of the four most revered animals. While both animals are supposed to have male and female aspects, the dragon came to represent the male leader, or emperor of China, and the phoenix the female, or emperor's wive or emperoress.
The year of the dragon is supposed to be an especially auspicious period, so let's hope that is true for us all!