Dumplings for Chinese New Year
February 7, 2016
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 It’s the new year again for me! I love being able to celebrate New Years twice in less than two months. This time, it's Chinese New Year and it begins on Monday, February 8th, the year of the Monkey.

I grew up with a mix of cultures, and as long as I can remember I’ve always celebrated both New Years. 

Like any culture, the Chinese culture has their own traditions but also superstitions. It is from these superstitions that our New Years meals are determined, as well as many other things we do during Chinese New Years. For example, we do a big cleaning before the New Year, but we never clean the house on New Year's day because it means you will sweep away all of your good luck.

I remember as a kid how excited I always was for the Chinese New Year. I would of course look forward to all the red envelopes (hongbao) filled with money that each elder family member and friend gave to the younger children, but I most looked forward to all the delicious food I got to eat.

We always have noodles to symbolize longevity, steamed whole chicken for health, whole fish for abundance, and jiaozi (dumplings) to symbolize luck and fortune because they are shaped like gold ingots.  

Today I will make pork and shrimps jiaozi because they're my favorite, and they're fun to make!

I wish you all a Happy Monkey Year, filled with happiness, health, luck, prosperity and peace.

 

Jiaozi

Ingredients:

  • 50 round dumpling skins (these are easy to find at any asian market)
  • 400g ground pork (preferably fatter pork)
  • 150g peeled, deveined and coarsely chopped shrimp
  • 3 medium scallions, thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp Chinese rice wine
  • 2 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • black pepper
  1. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients (except the dumpling skins) and let it rest in the fridge for 30 minutes. 
  2. Place 1 to 2 teaspoon of the filling onto one dumpling skin. Wet with a bit of water all around the skin and press together to form a half-circle. Fold the edges of the skin together, creating a scallop effect to seal in the filling. Set on a tray and cover with a cloth to keep them from getting dry. 
  3. Repeat with the rest of the skins and filling. 

Jiaozi

To cook: 

You can steam them, as it is the most traditional way, but I also have a few other options below.

  1. To steam, fill the bottom of a steamer with about 2 inches of water and bring it to a boil. Lay some parchment paper or lettuce on the upper levels of the steamer to prevent the dumplings from sticking. Once the water’s boiling, put the dumplings in the steamer with some space between them, cover and let them cook over high heat for about 10 minutes. 
  2. You can also try boiling the dumplings, by bringing a large pot of salted water to boil, adding the dumplings and gently stirring them until they float and cooked through, about 5 minutes. 
  3. Finally, you can fry them and I’m sure a lot of you will like this one. Frying the dumplings will give them that delicious crispy exterior. On medium-high heat, poor some oil in a pan and add 6-8 dumplings at a time. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes until the bottoms are lightly golden. Gently add 1/3 cup water to the pan, then cover with a lid. Let them cook until liquid is evaporated and the bottoms of dumplings are crisp and golden, 8 to 10 minutes. 

Two Dipping sauces:

  1. Mix some Chinese black vinegar with chile sauce and sesame oil.
  2. Mix Soy sauce with sesame oil.

Note: How the dumplings look won't affect the taste, so if you can't get them looking just right, that's ok! You can do whatever works for you, as long as they’re well sealed. 

Jiaozi