Try cooking Hoppin' John, Kiribath, and Oto to bring joy, comfort, and the promise of a fresh start.

By Antara Sinha
December 29, 2020
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Credit: Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Torie Cox / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen

Whether it's eating 12 grapes at the stroke of midnight in Spain or polishing off a marzipan pig in Germany, people around the globe celebrate New Year’s Day with culinary traditions in hopes of bolstering good fortune in the months to come. Here, we asked a few of our favorite food pros to share what they cook to bring joy, comfort, and the promise of a fresh start.

Atlanta-based chef Todd Richards spices up his family’s recipe for Hoppin’ John with harissa, Sydney-based writer Yasmin Sabir shares her secrets for making diamonds of coconut rice topped with Sri Lankan sambal, and cookbook author Zoe Adjonyoh, of London, fries up crispy Ghanaian yam patties topped with perfectly jammy eggs. Start a new tradition by preparing these dishes on January 1, or enjoy them throughout the year to commemorate new beginnings of any kind.

Hoppin’ John with Turnips and Turnip Greens

Credit: Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Torie Cox / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen

“What I always loved about my great-aunt’s Hoppin’ John was how spicy it was. Her version had a good amount of crushed red pepper flakes and black pepper. My recipe leans on harissa to bring an earthy heat; it’s a perfect match for the meaty black-eyed peas in this dish.” Todd Richards

Get the Recipe: Hoppin’ John with Turnips and Turnip Greens

Kiribath with Lunu Miris (Coconut Rice with Sambal)

Credit: Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Torie Cox / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen

“Kiribath is one of the most auspicious foods in the Sinhalese culture (the culture of the majority of Sri Lankans). It signifies new beginnings and prosperity— it’s often given as a baby’s first solid food, and it’s customary for it to be the first thing cooked when you move into a new house.” —Yasmin Sabir

Get the Recipe: Kiribath with Lunu Miris (Coconut Rice with Sambal)

Oto (Mashed Yam Patties)

Credit: Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Torie Cox / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen

“Hugely symbolic in many cultures around the world, the egg represents life itself. Oto, the vehicle in Ghanaian cuisine for the humble egg, is the dish by which new beginnings are celebrated: births, engagements, and more. It’s a great way to celebrate the new year and new possibilities.” —Zoe Adjonyoh

Get the Recipe: Oto (Mashed Yam Patties)