Chinese New Year or the Lunar New Year usually happens in January or February. For at least the past 10 years, my friends and I have been celebrating with a lunch party. Luckily, our friend Janet helps bring along some authentic traditions. These include fortune telling and passing around the fertility pomelo. Additionally, we have a funny tradition of finding a hat to represent the particular sign of the Chinese zodiac. However, the central part of the celebration for us is the food! This recipe for dumplings is our own creation based on ingredients that we like. In addition, we have lots of fun making the dumplings together. Everyone has their own method for folding, so we get a variety of dumpling styles. In the end, everything tastes delicious so the looks don’t matter!
A funny side story is that on the 2nd February 2020 at our lunch party, Janet read the fortune of our friend Dan. In fact, there was something about being immune to pandemics. We all thought that was very random at the time, as most of the other fortunes were about love and money. However, by March 2020 we were all of course remembering the fortune and envying Dan for his predicted immunity to pandemics!
Now, I hope you enjoy this simple recipe for dumplings. We sometimes add some extra ingredients or leave some out, so feel free to experiment. Finally, the most important part is to have fun during the process then most certainly you will enjoy the end result!
2 packages of dumpling wrappers (about 200g and often frozen)
250 g minced pork
1/4 white cabbage shredded
3 bunches of spring onion, thinly sliced
2 dried wood ear mushrooms, rehydrated and thinly sliced
1 carrot, grated
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp oyster sauce
2 cloves garlic
2 Tbsp Chinese rice wine
1 Tbsp sesame oil
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp sugar
1 Tbsp hot water
1 tsp rice vinegar
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp chili oil or 1/2 tsp dried chili flakes
1 tsp sesame oil
1 garlic clove, minced
First, in a large bowl, mix all ingredients except for the dumpling wrappers and vegetable oil. Then use a small spoon to put some meat filling on each wrapper. Wet fingers with water and fold dumpling edges in an accordion style to form a half moon with crimped edges. You could also use the plastic dumpling press kitchen tools but it doesn’t look as homemade!
In a large frying pan, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Then carefully place the dumplings into the pan with the flattest side at the bottom. They can be touching and I tend to stack them into a couple of columns like in the photo. Cook for a few minutes until they are getting brown on the bottom. Then add about 150 ml of water and cover the pan. Let the dumplings steam for about 5 minutes then remove them from the heat. Serve with a dipping sauce.
To prepare the sauce, first combine the hot water and the sugar. Then mix in the remaining ingredients.
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