Chinese New Year Dumplings. I love being able to celebrate New Year’s twice in less than two months. Last month, it was Chinese New Year, and it began on Sunday, January 22nd, the year of the Rabbit.
I grew up with a mix of cultures, and as long as I can remember, I’ve always celebrated both New Year’s because some of our family friends are Chinese.
Like any culture, Chinese culture has its own traditions but also superstitions. It is from these superstitions that New Year’s meals are determined, as well as many other things we do during the Chinese New Year. For example, They do a big cleaning before the New Year but 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 elderly family member and a friend gave to the younger children, but I most looked forward to all the delicious Chinese food I got to eat. Like these Chinese New Year Dumplings.
Noodles symbolize longevity, steamed whole chicken for health, whole fish for abundance, and jiaozi (dumplings) symbolize luck and fortune because they are shaped like gold ingots.
Today I will make Chinese New Year Dumplings made from pork and shrimp jiaozi because they’re my favorite, and they’re fun to make!
Lucky Chinese New Year Dumplings
- 1 pound ground pork (minced pork) - preferably fatter pork
- ⅜ pound shrimp (prawn) - peeled, deveined, and coarsely chopped
- 3 medium green onions (scallions or green shallots) - thinly sliced
- 3 cloves garlic - minced
- 2 teaspoons ginger - grated, fresh
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients (except the dumpling skins) and let it rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Place 1 to 2 teaspoons 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 them on a tray and cover them with a cloth to keep them from getting dry.
- Repeat with the rest of the skins and filling.
- You can steam them, as it is the most traditional way, but I also have a few other options below.
- 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.
- 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 cook for about 5 minutes.
- 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, pour some oil into 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 it with a lid. Let them cook until the liquid is evaporated and the bottoms of the dumplings are crisp and golden, 8 to 10 minutes.
Two Dipping Sauces:
- Mix some Chinese black vinegar with chile sauce and sesame oil.
- Mix Soy sauce with sesame oil.