The Chinese New Year begins at the second new moon after the winter solstice, on February 9th, and is celebrated until the full moon on the 24th. This is the Year of the Rooster.

Each year in the 12-year cycle of Chinese astrology is represented by an animal. People born during the year, it is believed, show traits of that animal in their personality. Everyone born in this year of the Rooster, as well as in previous ones � including 1933, 1945, 1957, etc. � are quick-thinking and practical. You may also be vain and a perfectionist. If, however, you keep an open mind, you should have a rewarding year at work and in relationships.

In celebrating the Chinese New Year, symbols are also important in meals that mark the occasion. Oranges and tangerines represent happy abundance. Fish is served whole to ensure that your prosperity remains intact, and eating long noodles supposedly brings a long life.

For good health and longevity as well as a good life, serve bright green broccoli stir-fried with ginger for Chinese New Year � and throughout the rest of the year, too. Both broccoli and ginger are packed with powerful substances that help protect your health from a range of chronic diseases. The recipe below does not call for soy sauce or other high-sodium ingredients, making this a perfect dish for Chinese-food lovers with restricted sodium intake. It contains only a small amount of oil, and the ginger, plus a touch of sugar, balances broccoli�s assertive taste.

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What makes the dish special is the wonderful intensity of the ginger flavor. To produce it, Asians shred ginger using a special, inexpensive grater you can find at many Asian markets. After the ginger is grated, the wet pulp is squeezed and the resulting juice is used in the cooking, not the pulp. The microplane graters sold at cookware stores produce an equally fine pulp. You can also get ginger juice using a regular grater if you lay plastic wrap over the finest side, then rub the fresh root over it. When you lift away the plastic, the wet paste produced will come with it. Gather this up with your fingers, squeeze it and you have ginger juice.

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Ginger Broccoli

Makes 4 servings.


  • 3- to 4-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled
  • 1 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. Chinese (light) rice wine
  • 2/3 cup fat-free reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 1 bunch broccoli florets cut in 1 1/4-inch, stems cut diagonally into 1/2-inch slices (about 5 cups)
  • Canola oil spray
  • 2 tsp. canola or peanut oil
  • 1 large peeled garlic clove, cut into 3 slices(optional)


  1. Cut 3 quarter-inch slices from the ginger. Grate the remaining ginger very finely, preferably with an Asian grater or microplane, to produce a wet paste. Squeeze grated ginger to produce juice.
  2. Place the ginger juice in a small bowl. Add the cornstarch, sugar, salt, rice wine, and broth. Set aside. Liberally coat the broccoli with cooking spray.
  3. Heat the oil in a large skillet or wok over the highest possible heat until hot. Add the ginger and garlic (if using) and stir-fry until the garlic starts to color, about 30 seconds. Remove the garlic with a slotted spoon and discard. Transfer the ginger to a small dish or cup.
  4. Add the broccoli to the pan and stir-fry, stirring frequently, until almost tender. Stir the broth mixture and pour into the skillet. Add the ginger. Stir-fry until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 1 minute. Turn the broccoli into a serving bowl. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Nutritional Information Per Serving:
58 calories,
3 g. total fat,
0 g. saturated fat,
6 g. carbohydrate,
3 g. protein,
3 g. dietary fiber,
262 mg. sodium
Diabetic Exchanges: 1 Vegetable, 1/2 Fat