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Chinese Winter Solstice, or Dongzhi Festival, is an age-old tradition that is celebrated to mark the end of the short days and long nights of the season. It falls during the 11th month according to the lunar calendar, between 21st – 23rd December. This year, Dongzhi will be celebrated on Sunday December 22nd , and after this day, the daylight hours will lengthen to bring hope and happiness. As part of the celebrations, Chinese families gather together to eat traditional winter foods, such as wontons and glutinous rice balls. Here are 6 vegan recipes of the most nourishing, heartwarming dishes that are commonly enjoyed during the Chinese Winter Solstice Festival.
1. Vegan Savoury Glutinous Rice Dumplings (Tang Yuan)
Glutinous rice dumplings is a classic Chinese dish prepared for winter solstice, and can be turned totally vegan with a plant-based broth with shiitake mushrooms, kombu, shallots, garlic and all the veggies you want! Super healthy and warming.
Recipe: Healthy Nibbles & Bits
2. Sweet Tang Yuan With Peanut Filling
Of course, the sweet, dessert version of tang yuan are also commonly enjoyed during Dongzhi, and many recipes are not only gluten-free but vegan-friendly too. These soft and chewy sticky rice balls are filled with a peanut filling and served in a warm ginger soup.
Recipe: What To Cook Today
3. Vegan Wonton Soup
The perfect way to warm up on a cold night is to dig into a bowl of wonton soup. Filled with shiitake mushrooms, extra-firm pressed tofu chunks and loads of veggies, this veganised version will definitely do the trick to comfort anyone on a chilly day.
Recipe: Cilantro & Citronella
4. Eight Treasure Congee
As the name suggests eight treasure congee, or rice porridge, is made with 8 ingredients, namely whole grains, nuts and dried fruits, but the specific mix depends on each family’s own traditional recipe. It will usually contain glutinous rice, forbidden rice and beans as the key ingredients, alongside some cashews, Chinese almonds and red jujube. This congee can be served with preserved mushrooms or cabbage as a savoury dinner dish, or can be sweetened with cane sugar to make it a dessert – so nutritious and delicious.
Recipe: Omnivores Cookbook
5. Boiled Daikon
Daikon, aka winter radish, is usually served as a veggie side dish, and is packed with health benefits according to traditional Chinese medicine, such as boosting the immune system, reducing inflammation and flushing out toxins from our bodies. Here’s a vegan take on the daikon classic – just make sure to use a plant-based oyster sauce.
Recipe: Woks Of Life
6. Braised Chinese Mushrooms With Pak Choi
Another winter favourite amongst Chinese families is braised Chinese shiitake mushrooms served with sweet pak choi. This one is super easy, and is packed full of vitamin D, a nutrient we usually lack during the rare sunshine we get in the winter months.
Recipe: NYT Cooking
Lead image courtesy of Souper Diaries.