Chinese New Year -February 16 – The Year of the Dog
Recipe provided by Szechuan 132 -419 South College Rd, Wilmington NC
In our Chinese culture, during the Chinese Spring Festival and on Chinese New Year, certain dishes are eaten for their symbolic meaning. The food served during the fifteen day festival season is believed to bring good luck for the upcoming year. The symbolism of the food comes from their name and/or appearance. Not only do the dishes themselves matter, but also the way in which it is prepared, served, and eaten. The most common Chinese New Year food include dumplings, fish, spring rolls, roasted duck, pork belly, oranges, lotus seeds, and rice cakes (“Niangao”).
For my family on Chinese New Year, dumplings are a must. These generally consist of minced meat and finely-chopped vegetables wrapped in a thin, elastic dough. Popular meat fillings include chicken, pork, shrimp, fish, or beef. The dumplings can be boiled, steamed, or pan seared.
My fondest childhood memories include making dumplings. Our whole family would gather around the dinner table and knead the dumpling dough. We would then fill our dumplings with our favorite stuffing and shape them into gold nuggets. As we did this, we would all share fun stories and memories made during the past year. Today, I am sharing our million dollar family recipe of, fun with you all. As you try this recipe, I hope you create your own unforgettable memories with your family.
For the Dough:
4 cups all-purpose flour and 11⁄2 cup warm water
¼ teaspoon salt
For the Filling:
1lb. ground chicken
4 chopped green onions
11⁄2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 teaspoons Shaoxing rice wine
1/2 pound napa cabbage, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon soybean oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
1⁄4 teaspoon pepper
½ cup chicken broth
20 – 30 wonton skins, depending on the size of the dumpling you want to make
For the Dipping Sauce:
4 tablespoons soy sauce
6 tablespoons Chinese or Japanese rice vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
1 teaspoon grated ginger
½ cup chicken broth
¼ tablespoon black pepper
¼ tablespoon chili paste
Vegetable or soybean oil
For the Dough:
Place flour in a food processor. With the machine running, slowly drizzle in water until a cohesive dough is formed (you probably won’t need all the water). Allow dough to ride around the processor for 30 seconds. Covering your hands with flour, form the dough into a ball and transfer to a bowl. Cover with a damp towel and let it rest for at least 30 minutes.
For the filling:
Place cabbage and salt in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped, about 8 one-second pulses. Place a fine-meshed strainer over a bowl and transfer the filling over the strainer. Allow this to rest for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, place scallions, chicken, soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, and sugar in the food processor. Pulse until homogeneous and pasty, about 10 one-second pulses. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside.
After cabbage has sat for about 30 minutes, squeeze any remaining moisture out with your fingers, then transfer to the bowl with the chicken. Fold together with a spatula until homogeneous. Microwave a small ball of the filling in a bowl for 10 seconds and eat it to taste for seasoning. Add more salt, soy sauce, or sugar as necessary and repeat tasting/seasoning step until the filling tastes like you want it to. Refrigerate until ready to use.
To Make the Dumplings:
Divide dough into 4 sections, then each of the 4 sections into 10 small tablespoon-sized balls, making 20 – 40 balls total. On a well-floured work surface, roll each ball into a round 3 1/2 to 4-inch diameter ball. Stack wrappers and keep under plastic until all of them are rolled out.
To form dumplings, place 1 tablespoon of filling in the center of a wrapper. Moisten the edges of the wrapper with a wet fingertip or a pastry brush. Fold in half and pinch the bottom-right corner closed. Pleat the front edge of the wrapper repeatedly, pinching the edge closed after each pleat until the entire dumpling is sealed. Transfer sealed dumplings to a lightly floured wooden or parchment-lined board. When making dumplings there should be a good number of pleats.
To Make the Sauce:
Combine all sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside at room temperature.
To Cook the Dumplings:
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 6 to 12 dumplings and boil until they float (about 1 minute). Continue boiling for 2 minutes longer, then transfer to a plate with a wire-mesh spider or slotted spoon.
For Fried Dumpling:
Heat 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a 10-inch nonstick skillet or the bottom of a well-seasoned cast iron wok over medium heat until shimmering. Add dumplings flat-side down and cook, swirling occasionally, until bottom of dumplings are golden brown and crisp. Serve immediately with dipping sauce.