Lighting up paper lanterns and creating a taste of China is the perfect way to wish each other Xin Nian Kuai Le (Happy New Year in Mandarin), or San Nin Fai Lok (in Cantonese) on Saturday, January 28.

But before you start thinking about what to put on the plate, it’s worth noting that certain foods are central to any Chinese New Year feast.

“Chinese New Year, known in modern Chinese as the ‘Spring Festival’, is a traditional celebration that is centuries old, and the most important calendar date in China,” says Brian Yip, director of Wing Yip, the UK’s leading Oriental supermarket.

“2017 is the Year of the Rooster – specifically the Fire Rooster – meaning anyone born this year will be observant, hardworking, resourceful, courageous, and talented.

[Read more: Chinese New Year – what’s your animal sign?]

“Traditional foods eaten at Chinese New Year include fish for an increase in prosperity and dumplings shaped like a money-bag for wealth, and noodles to give you a long life – remember not to break your noodles, as unbroken noodles are thought to prolong your life.”

To make the perfect Chinese New Year dinner at home, we’ve picked a our favourite recipe to share with family and friends.

Wing Yip Chicken Chow Mein recipe

(Serves 2)

Ingredients:

3tbsp vegetable oil
1tsp garlic, chopped
1tsp ginger, grated
1 chicken breast, sliced and marinated in 2tsp Wing Yip light soy sauce, 1tsp Wing Yip sesame oil and 1tsp cornflour
1 jar (185ml) Wing Yip chow mein sauce
100g wheat noodles, soaked and drained
1 red pepper, sliced
Bean sprouts, small handful
2 spring onions, cut into 3cm lengths

Method:

Heat the vegetable oil in a wok and fry the garlic and ginger.
Add the chicken and stir-fry until it turns white and is sealed.
Add the chow mein sauce and cook for 3 minutes, stir-frying to ensure chicken is thoroughly coated.
Add the noodles and sliced pepper and cook for a further 2 minutes, stirring constantly to coat the noodles with sauce. If the mixture is too dry add a little water.
Just before serving add the bean sprouts and spring onions and cook for another minute to ensure the bean sprouts soft.
Serve immediately.

What’s your favourite Chinese dish? Tell us in the comments section below