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Rooster Years

by Jacqueline M. Newman

Chinese Calendar

Spring Volume: 2017 Issue: 24(1) pages: 33 to 34

This year honors a common household bird, the rooster. It was known and respected by royals from Pre-Qin times to today. In those ancient times, matchmakers studied the first eight characters of a man and of a woman’s birth year, their month, day, and hour if they wanted to marry. These determined if their marriage had potential. If their dates did not align, parents would discourage or not allow the couple to wed.

Such was the role and reason they had consulted a matchmaker before any decisions were made and a wedding date set. The twelve animal signs of the Chinese zodiac have lucky and unlucky matches, lucky and unlucky colors, lucky and unlucky numbers etc. selected from those animals who went the king first. The rat did arrive first, and so it began the circle of the order they got there.

This Year of the Rooster begins January 28, 2017 and ends February 15 in 2018. Because roosters weep at the sign of the dog, matchmakers know these two animals do not pair well and those with their signs should not marry. Most elder Chinese believe this without a doubt, more younger folk are veering away from these beliefs. Other animals making poor pairings include those born in Rooster years mating with those born in rat, rabbit, and mouse years.

The rooster is the only bird in the Chinese zodiac. What is positive about those born in its years is that they are said to be punctual, express fidelity, and able to get rid of the evil spirits of others. Their lucky numbers are five, seven, and eight, their unlucky ones are one, three, and nine. Rooster folk are honest, bright, talkative, capable, ambitious, and independent.

The rooster, known to some as a cock, includes other personality traits such as not needing to fight, are brave, modest, reticent, and that they like wooden statues. Roosters do not crow for lack of reasons in heaven and earth as to why they remain silent. And as do flowers, they do not ever lose their beauty.

It is said that the words of the fortunate are few, the words of the anxious many, so learning from the rooster, they know that too much talk leads to loss, and silence except when absolutely necessary can approach benevolence. Therefore, roosters do not verbally bully for fun; they only do so if needed even though they are dictators of the barnyard. This animal appears after the monkey and before the dog, and it is best for them when they keep away from both of them.

Knowing your animal year and your neighboring animals, the Chinese believe are important. Roosters should not pick fights in rooster years. This year is a fire-rooster year so it is even more important not to do ignite a quarrel If you were born in a rooster year, do consult a Chinese zodiac expert to learn that you and the rooster are steady of purpose, virtuous, true to your principles, and that you should waste no time. The rooster only crows if not confused. Being of clear head is his constant desire, not being confused is his life-long need, so be sure to do both.

Roosters are unyielding to the chaos around them and they are steady-eddies who only proceed with good information; be sure to get that before making any decisions. Roosters make good relationships with those born in dragon, ox, and pig years. Their positive colors are black, yellow and brown, so wear them often. Roosters are high achievers, and they do best when they trust themselves. If you are a rooster, you are a thoughtful partner, a brave one, honest, and with a good business head; use these traits to your advantage.

On your birthday, roast a cock with its head on. They stuff it with citrus, baste it with sugar or maltose, and share it with best friends. There is no better way to spend that day every rooster year.

Ginseng Rooster

1 four-inch piece dried ginseng, soaked overnight or longer in one cup boiling water
5 dried black mushrooms, soaked an hour in tepid water, stems discarded, each cut in half
1 rooster, innards removed, rinsed and dried with paper towels
1 teaspoon coarse salt
3 Tablespoons Chinese rice wine
3 scallions, each tied in a knot
3 slices fresh ginger, smashed
1 inch minced Chinese ham, minced


1. Put ginseng and its water in a pan and steam for half an hour.
2. Put half the mushrooms and their water, and half the salt, wine, one scallion, knot, one slice of the ginger, and half the hm in the rooster, and the rest of the ingredients in a heat-proof bowl and steam for one hour.
3. Remove rooster, cut it into eight to ten pieces, put it in a clean bowl, discard the scallions, and serve.

Poached Rooster

10 rooster thighs, skinned, boned, and diced in one-inch pieces
½ teaspoon toasted Sichuan peppercorns, smashed and knotted in cheese cloth
3 Tablespoons each, Chinese rice wine, thin soy sauce, Chinese black vinegar, and granulated sugar
3 garlic cloves. Peeled and smashed
1 Tablespoon toasted cashew nuts, crushed
1 Tablespoon toasted sesame seeds, crushed


1. Bring ten cups water to the boil, add the chicken thigh meat and simmer for twenty-five minutes.
2. Then add the Sichuan peppercorn packet, rice wine, soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, and the smashed garlic cloves and simmer twenty minutes longer and then remove and discard the peppercorn packet.
3. Next, add nuts and seeds and simmer for five more minutes. Then put this into a pre-heated soup tureen, and serve.

Roast Rooster

1 whole chicken, head left on, wing tips and innards removed, head covered for foil for half of the cooking time, breast bone removed and diacarded, rooster flattened and set in a smoker or on a roasting pan rack.
2 whole oranges, quartered
1 whole tangerine, skin removed, innards separated and pierced
1 Tablespoon toasted ground Sichuan peppercorns
½ teaspoon pink or coarse salt
3 Tablespoons Chinese rice wine
3 scallions, each one knotted
8 slices fresh ginger
½ cup tea leaves
3 Tablespoons brown sugar
½ cup wheat bean paste


1. Stuff chicken with orange and tangerine pieces and with two skewers, use one to close the cavity at the neck, the other between its legs.
2. Mix crushed Sichuan peppercorns and the salt and rub the skin with this mixture, then pour the rice wine over this bird.
3. Prepare a smoker or a deep roasting pan with the scallion knots, ginger, tea leaves, brown sugar, and the bean paste. If using a smoker, put this mixture where it will ignite and burn; if cooking in an over, turn oven to
500 degrees F and put just the pan in the oven for half an hour, then put chicken on a rack above the pan for half an hour, then turn it over breast up for another half hour, then remove from the oven and allow to cool for twenty minutes, then cut the bird into pieces and serve.

Rooster in Soup

1 rooster, cut in ten pieces
3 scallions, minced
3 slices fresh ginger, each one smashed
1 cup Chinese rice wine
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
½ cup thin soy sauce
3 Tablespoons chicken fat


1. Put all ingredients in a four quart stock pot, and bring to the boil, and just before it does boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, cover the pot, and keep simmering for one hour, then cool in the refrigerator overnight.
2. Discard the skin, bones, and solidified fat. The next day, cut the chicken into one-inch pieces.
3. Bring the liquid back to a simmer, add the chicken pieces, and when they are hot, serve the soup and chicken in a pre-heated soup tureen.

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