Happy Chinese New Year, y’all! In keeping with the lunar calendar, today is the first day of 2013. If I were in China right now, my relatives would be giving me mad money in red envelopes called hongbao, hounding me about why I haven’t married my boyfriend yet, and finally retreating to the dinner table, where we all would spend the rest of the night feasting until we passed out.
My grandparents have been known to cook upwards of 30 different dishes for a gathering of 12 people; one thing that’s always on the menu for the Chinese New Year is dumplings. Chinese dumplings, or jiaozi, in case you haven’t had the fortune of consuming any, are basically footballs of dough wrapped around delicious fillings—traditionally pork and veggies—and then boiled or fried. I tried my hand at making some, and guess what? There are a million steps, but none of them are hard. Year of the Snake, come at me.
What you’ll need:
• A cutting board
• A kitchen knife that’s sharp enough for veggie chopping
• A small mixing bowl
• A large mixing bowl
• Chopsticks or a wooden spoon
• A small bowl filled with water
• A large aluminum pan or a casserole dish
• A stock pot (i.e., a really big pot) filled with water
• Chinese dumpling wrappers (look for a pack of 45 to 50 in “Happy New Year” or “Shanghai” style—or just double-check that they’re made for dumplings and not wontons).
• 1 pound of ground pork (or any other type of ground meat OR a veg protein like tofu or seitan chopped up into bits)
• 1 head of napa cabbage
• 1½ cups of chopped veggies. Choose your own adventure: I used mushroom stems, bamboo shoots, and dou miao, which is a leafy green Chinese vegetable that you can usually find in any Asian supermarket. In English, it’s usually translated as “pea shoots,” “pea tips,” or sometimes “pea vines.”
• 1 egg
• Soy sauce
• Optional: fresh garlic and fresh ginger
• Rice vinegar
• Sesame oil
• Sriracha sauce (also sometimes known as rooster sauce)
How to make them:
Part One: Setting Up
* Chinese dumplings actually were first made some time between 206 BC and 220 AD. The point is that IT WAS A REALLY LONG TIME AGO.
** OK, so I know I said in this video to get two heads of napa cabbage, but for this recipe you only really need one. And in addition to your veggies and pork/protein, you can add like five cloves of minced garlic and/or a thumb of ginger (also minced) to the filling, too, if those are flavors you’re into.
Part Two: Making the Filling
* There’s nothing inherently vom-inducing about raw pork or raw eggs—as long as you take the totally easy yet necessary precautions detailed in those links when you’re with cooking with them. Food safety, you guys. It’s for real.
Part Three: Assembling the Dumplings
Part Four: Cooking and Eating Them!