Chinese Dumplings on Chinese New Year

One of my fondest childhood memories is the celebrations around Chinese New Year. This was a time of great excitement and joy, families came together, children were given gifts, and everyone enjoyed traditional New Year's foods. Perhaps my favorite New Year food was Chinese dumplings.

Each New Year's Eve my entire family came together to make dumplings for the celebration. Over time this evolved into a time honored and cherished family tradition. Making dumplings in those days was complicated work. The process required making dough, preparing fillings, rolling out wraps, and assembling the finished dumplings. All preparation was done by hand. We did not have food processors, dough machines, or other modern conveniences. You may think this is a lot of work but I have only fond memories of the time.

My brothers and sisters, aunts, uncles, and cousins all participated in our New Year's Eve dumpling making tradition. My mom always served as the leader and organizer. She would prepare the dough, wash the vegetables, and carefully check all the other ingredients and spices. My aunts and uncles would chop vegetables, prepare meats and carefully hand roll each dumpling wrap. During this preparation time all the family talked together, laughed and joked, and generally had a grand time. Sometimes the children were a little mischievous. When the adults were not watching we would take a few wraps and fill them with candies, salt, or hot peppers. We called these "good luck dumplings" and tried hard to make them look exactly like those made by the adults. In the evening we would all sit down to a big meal which included my favorite, Chinese Dumplings.

When I was old enough my mother passed down to me her recipe and techniques for making tasty traditional Chinese dumplings. Today I would like to share that with you. I hope you enjoy these healthy, tasty treats. Perhaps they can become part of your own family's tradition on Chinese New Year.

Traditional Chinese Dumplings

Serves 6 people:

? ½ pound ground pork or ground lamb
? 2 ½ pounds Chinese Napa Cabbage or ½ pound of garlic chives
? 1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger
? 1 bundle green onions
? 2 tablespoons soy sauce
? 2 teaspoons sesame oil
? 1 teaspoon cooking wine
? 1 pack of dumpling wraps
? Black pepper to taste

Chopping:

Wash the vegetables (green onion and Napa or chives) and allow them to air dry. After drying, chop the vegetables to small pieces approximately ¼ inch in diameter. Finely chop the ginger.

Mixing:

Place the meat in a bowl. Add the ginger, green onion, soy sauce, cooking wine, sesame oil, ¼ teaspoon of salt, and black pepper. Mix well. Add the Napa or chives and mix again.

Note: If you use Chinese Napa as the vegetable, after chopping but before mixing with the meat, season with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and let rest at room temperature about 20-30 minutes. Drain the Napa before adding to the meat.

Assembly:

Moisten the edges of the wrap with water. Spoon about 1 teaspoon of the mixture into the middle of the wrap. Fold the wrap in half and pinch the edges together to form a sealed pocket. Repeat until all of the ingredients have been used.

Cooking:

Drop into a pot of boiling water and cook for about 15 minutes until they float to the surface. Be sure meat is sufficient heated to kill any bacteria.

Serving:

Serve with soy sauce or dip of your choice

Enjoy the dumplings!!

Staff Writer - egourmetstore.com

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