We did Mulan for the Lunar New Year. My husband is Korean so we did a sort of Asian inspired night. We all dressed up in our traditional Hanbooks. For dinner we had green tea (like Mulan serves to her dad before she leaves for the matchmaker), soup with dumplings (the ones that put out the fire when they have been cast off from the army) and and rice and eggs (like the dish Mushu serves Mulan for breakfast “It’s porridge! And it’s happy to see you!”). In Korea, there is a dish like that called bibumpap (hot pot rice) and for dessert we had date buns. I went to our local H-Mart and bought most of the ingredients (leek dumplings, date buns, bibumpap seasoned veggies: bean sprouts, carrots, spinach, shiitake mushrooms, and zucchini) but there is a great site that tells you how to make the bibumpap all from scratch. I just added the store bought veggies, steak, and fried egg to rice. For the dumpling soup, I added store bought dumplings to a recipe I found here but I’ve included the recipe below long with the changes we make so it will be soy-free. It’s a traditional Korean soup called Duk Gook traditionally served at New Year. (I’m sorry, my photo looks a little different because I did a vegetarian version for myself. The kids and my husband had the regular version.)
125 mL thin sliced Korean rice cake (duk gook)
15 mL Dashi (beef soup base)
1.5 L water
2 green onions, chopped
113 g beef, cut into thin strips
1 egg, beaten
2 sheets seaweed
5 mL salt
1.25 mL sesame oil
1.25 mL sugar
1.25 mL pepper
1.25 mL minced garlic
1. Soak the rice cake in cold water for 30 minutes.
2. Marinate the beef in the salt, sesame oil, pepper, sugar, and minced garlic for an hour or more.
3. Saute the beef in a skillet, then set aside.
4. Put the water and dashi in a pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes.
5. Add the rice cakes and the dumplings to the broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium. Cook for 10-15 minutes, until tender.
6. Add the green onions. Pour the egg in a little at a time. Let it set a bit, then stir- if you stir right after adding the egg, the broth gets milky.
7. Put into bowls and garnish each bowl with some beef and some crumbled seaweed.
For the craft we made a dragon in honour of Mushu (one of my favourite characters). You can find the instructions here but I’ve outlined it below as well. You need coloured paper cups and crepe paper from the dollar store, an old cardboard tube, string, glue, stick, pencil crayons or markers, and a dragon head. You can print one or design your own. You can get everything you need at the dollar store for a few bucks.
Punch a hole into the base of each cup with a pencil. Cut the tube into pieces about 5cm long. Tie a large knot into the string and thread it into the cup and out the bottom. Next, thread on a piece of tube and alternate with cups and tubes until it reaches the desired length. Tie a large knot in the end of the string to secure the cups. Draw and colour two dragon heads and stick them to either side of the first cup. Cut the crepe paper into lengths of approximately 30cm. Glue along the length of the dragon’s body. Punch a hole into the top of the head cup and another into a cup toward the end of the dragon’s body. Attach string from the holes to either end of the stick. Use the stick to manoeuvre the dragon puppet.