|my eldest baby, back in 2009|
Special Guest Post from Food For Friday Blogger Rebecca
Happy Lunar New Year everyone! I happen to be married to a fine young gentleman of Chinese heritage and we’re getting ready to celebrate the New Year. Since my husband’s family is mostly far away and he’s not big on big fancy celebrations, we mostly keep it tame. Still, over the years, I have been trying to pick up and adopt a few of the traditions that my in-laws honour so that my kids can understand some of their heritage.
Of course, most of the traditions we’ve adopted are food related. We don’t hang red and gold decorations or “money catchers”, we don’t tend to follow the superstitious habits (though, I try to stock our rice container and pantry), and we don’t give our kids licee (red envelopes with money inside), but we do eat. We usually miss the large feast on New Year’s Eve but we head to our local Chinese restaurant for dinner on New Year’s Day, we give oranges, we make tong yeung (ginger soup with sesame rice balls), and we hand make dumplings.
Ah dumplings. One of the quintessential lunar new year foods. They are so yummy and delicious! I would highly recommend making them with a group as I do. I gather together three other interested parties, we each bring our own filling, and together we wrap and wrap and wrap, and talk and catch-up. Over the course of 4-ish hours we can make enough dumplings that I get to bring home about 40 to 50 after we divide them all up.
The recipe I use for dumplings is this one here, over at Fine Cooking, except that I add quite a lot of coriander to mine. I tried making my own wrappers one time. They were ok, but I prefer to buy the wrappers pre-made. My friend Carvill (who is Chinese) assures me that this isn’t a failing on my part. I’d like to get Carvill’s mom help me refine my recipe and my technique but I haven’t been invited over just yet.I can attest that these recipes are also especially delicious, but somewhat less traditional. If you’re thinking of making your own dumplings this year, here are some tips I’ve picked up:
1. Ask a butcher (with any luck, one at a Chinese grocer) to grind the pork for you fresh and mention that you’ll be making dumplings so that they can get the grind right. It’s not absolutely necessary, but I like the dumplings better when I get really fresh ground pork. If you can’t get the butcher to do it, just buy the pre-ground stuff you can find in containers in the meat section of your store.
2. Despite what some recipes suggest, I don’t like pre-cooking the filling. You’ll get prettier dumplings that hold together better when cooking if you use an uncooked filling. You’ll just have to be sure to cook them thoroughly after they’re wrapped.
3. Find a good Youtube video that demonstrates the filling and pleating technique, like this one (start watching around the 3 minute mark) before you get started. It’ll help a lot!
Now dumplings are not complete without a dipping sauce!
Get your hands on some VH dipping sauces for your very delicious steamed or fried dumplings. The sweet and sour dipping sauce or this Sesame VH sauce recipe would be perfect!
To help you celebrate the Year of the Dragon we will be giving away a VH Sauces Prize Pack (valued at $60)
Enter using the Rafflecopter Form Below
Open to Canadian Residents Only
Disclosure – I am participating in the VH Chinese New Year Celebration program by Mom Central Canada on behalf of VH. I received compensation as a thank you for my participation. The opinions on this blog are my own.