by Lorin Gaudin
THIS YEAR, Asian New Year falls on February 12 and is the year of the Ox, which means a focus on hard work and honesty. Technically, it is customary to eat dumplings for every meal, every day of the 16-day New Year celebration, but since that’s not realistic (maybe), and no one wants to have too much of a good thing, it is more contemporary to have dumplings on the first day of the New Year. With the recipe below, you can make dumplings any time, New Year and beyond. For those who’d rather not make their own, there are fantastic restaurants for dumplings (China Rose, Wishing Town Bakery, Royal China and Panda King Fine Dining, to name some) or frozen pre-made dumplings to quickly steam, pan-fry or zap in the microwave. “Gong Hei Fat Choy”… Happy New Year!!
MY FAVORITE DUMPLING FILLING
Recipe makes about 7-8 dozen
- 1.5 lbs green leafy vegetable like baby bok choy or a mix of napa cabbage and Chinese green onions
- 3/4 pound ground pork (sub ground chicken, beef or finely chopped raw shrimp)
- 1/3 cup Shaoxing wine 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 Tbsp sesame oil 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1/8 tsp white pepper
- 1/3 cup water (plus more for assembly)
- 1-2 packages prepared dumpling wrappers*
Wash your greens well and blanch them in a pot of boiling water. Transfer them to an ice bath to cool. Drain well, and place drained greens on a kitchen towel. Ring out all the water from the greens and chop very finely.
In a large bowl, stir together the greens, pork (or substitute), wine, oil, sesame oil, salt, soy sauce, white pepper, and 2/3 cup water. Mix, until very well-combined.
To wrap the dumplings, dampen the edges of each circle with some water. Put a little less than a tablespoon of filling in the middle. Fold the circle in half and pinch the wrapper together at the top, making sure it’s completely sealed. Repeat until all the filling is gone, placing the dumplings on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Make sure the dumplings aren’t sticking together.
To cook the dumplings, boil or pan-fry them.
To boil: Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil, drop the dumplings in, and cook until they float to the top and the skins are cooked through, but still slightly al dente.
To pan-fry: Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a non- stick pan over medium high heat. Place the dumplings in the pan and allow to fry for two minutes. Pour a small amount of water into the pan, cover, and reduce heat to medium-low. Allow dumplings to steam until the water has evaporated. Remove the cover, increase heat to medium- high and allow to fry for a few more minutes, until the bottoms of the dumplings are golden brown and crispy.
Tips and notes: Serve with soy sauce, Chinese black vinegar, chili sauce, or other dipping sauce of your choice. Chili crisp is not only delicious, it adds a bit of heat and crunch. There are a lot of different brands to try.
*Find dumpling skins fresh at Asian grocery stores. Look for the white, round ones. If they start to dry out, wrap them in a damp paper towel and put them in a sealed plastic bag for a couple hours to soften back up. Or, you can make your own – email me (email@example.com) for a great recipe, including a gluten free version!
Freeze any unused dumpling wrappers in an airtight sealed plastic bag for later use.