Author Debbi Michiko Florence and I are creating a six-part Asian Culture Series with books, activities, and recipes. We are kicking off the series by looking at the Asian New Year.
Did you know that Japanese New Year and Korean New Year are celebrated on January 1st, but Chinese New Year and Tet, Vietnamese New Year, is celebrated based on the lunar calendar? (More Chinese New Year books here.)
Today, we are sharing:
- Making mochi the easy way by way of a microwave!
- A Chinese Red Envelope Craft
- A picture book list for Asian New Year
Thanks for coming on our Asian Culture series journey. Will you celebrate an Asian New Year this upcoming year? We hope this post will make it easier!
Recipe: Microwave Mochi
Debbi Michiko Florence has this recipe on her website: Microwave Mochi Recipe.
I found Mochiko Sweet Rice Flour at my local Korean Supermarket, but you can also buy it online at Amazon. 3 boxes are $10.
You will need:
- Mochiko Japanese Rice Flour (1.5 cups)
- white sugar (1 cup or 3/4 cup if you like it less sweet)
- water (1.5 cups)
- cooking spray or oil
- Mix the ingredients in a bowl until smooth.
- Pour into greased microwavable pan.
- Cook in microwave on high for 7.5 minutes.
- Pour mochi onto cutting board dusted with Mochiko powder.
- Cool and cut into squares.
- Eat by dipping into soy sauce if you like savory or cinnamon sugar if you like sweet.
Activity: Make Chinese Red Envelopes
If you want to make your own Chinese Red Envelopes, I have a printable craft here. I did this craft with my son’s 2nd grade class. If you want to explore China further, you can print out replicas of Chinese money to cut out and put in the envelopes too.
Asian New Year Picture Books
Japanese New Year: Jasmine Toguchi, Mochi Queen by Debbi Michiko Florence, illustrated by Elizabet Vukovic
Eight-year-old Jasmine Toguchi is a younger sister who never gets to do anything first. For this year’s New Year’s celebration, her older sister gets to help the women roll mochi for the first time. Jasmine decides she will have her own first: the first female in her family to pound mochi with the men! [early chapter book, ages 6 and up]
Chinese New Year: The Nian Monster by Andrea Wang, illustrated by Alina Chau
The Nian Monster would be my first choice to replace Tiki Tiki Tembo as it also is an exciting story of overcoming danger but this book also shows why the special foods used to celebrate Chinese New Year also helped in defeating the Nian monster. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
Vietnamese New Year: Ten Mice for Tet by Pegi Deitz Shea and Cynthia Weill, illustrated by To Ngoc Trang
Janet Wong shared a list of Lunar New Year celebrations and picture books on the Multicultural Children’s Book Day blog with web resources for your lunar new year celebration research:
Ten Mice for Tet counts down the preparations and celebration of Tet with end notes that give more background on Tet. [picture book, ages 2 and up]
Korean New Year: New Clothes for New Year’s Day by Hyun-joo Bae
Asian New Year celebrations include getting ready for the New Year by cleaning the house, preparing special food, and getting new clothes. In this Korean celebration, a little girl gets dressed in a special hanbok that her mother made for her. A hanbok is the traditional Korean dress that includes a wrap around skirt, short jacket, vest and bag. It is typically colorful and beautifully embroidered. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
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