The tradition of Chinese Dumpling Making at New Year including recipe and method.

Traditional Chinese boiled dumplings (shui jiao, 水饺) are very significant in Chinese culture. They are often eaten over the Chinese (Lunar) New Year, when the whole family is together to celebrate Spring Festival. Dumplings are shaped like ancient Chinese gold or silver ingots, which symbolises wealth. Eating dumplings at this time is therefore seen as lucky and a way of symbolising a prosperous new year lies ahead.

Although there is a basic recipe, each family has their own favourite variation and their own way of making dumplings.  Each family’s preferred method is passed down from generation to generation, so the smell of dumplings can evoke the sense of home and family connection.  The task of cooking dumplings is often shared with family, including children.

How to make Chinese dumplings 

In Chinese cooking the exact amount of ingredients does not need to be measured precisely. With experience, people instinctively know the proper quantities and can judge the taste of filling just by smelling it. 

For new dumpling makers you can try making these at home.

Chinese Dumplings with Beef and Celery

Ingredients for the filling

  • 1 lb. ground beef (or ground vegetable of your choice)  
  • 1 + 1/2 lb. Chinese celery, finely chopped 
  • 1 cup corn kernels (fresh or frozen) 
  • 1 egg 
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce 
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese cooking wine 
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil (optional) 
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt 
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar 
  • 100 round dumpling wrappers (buy in your local Chinese supermarket or make your own like this)

Method for the filling  

  1. Add filling ingredients (not the dumpling wrappers) into a large bowl and mix until fully combined.
  2. Scoop a spoonful of the mixture into the centre of a dumpling wrapper. Dip your finger in water and smear along the edges of the wrapper. Fold the wrapper over to create a half-moon shape enclosing the filling inside. Seal the filling inside by pleating edges together with your finger or with a fork. 
  3. Bring a 2/3 full large pot of water to the boil. Add the dumplings which will then float. Continue to cook for 2-3 minutes. 

We hope you enjoy making Chinese Dumplings. 

Recipes from:

A Head of Thyme 

Healthy Nibbles and Bits

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