Year of the Pig and Dumpling Recipe

Year of the Pig and Dumpling Recipe

Happy Chinese New Year!

My family doesn't celebrate the new year too crazily, but there's always specific rules and things that happen. Funny enough, on February 5th (considered on the Chinese Lunar calendar as Chinese New Year), I'm not suppose to do any vacuuming or sweeping or wash my hair as that will bring back luck to me as I'm washing away all my good fortune. There's always lucky red envelopes and of course some yummy good food.

Don't forget that I will be giving away FREE lucky cat (maneki neko) enamel pins for orders $20 or over, but only for orders made on February 5th! So don't miss out!

I think the best part of the yearly celebrations is the food and I want to share my family's dumpling recipe.

Pork Dumplings

1 lb ground pork
3 dried shittake mushrooms, re-hydrated and chopped
6 pieces of pickled turnip chopped (find this at your local asian grocery store)
1 small knob of fresh ginger, chopped
1 cup cabbage or siew choy (Taiwanese cabbage) shredded

Filling Marinade:
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp ginger, ground
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp cooking wine
2 tsp light soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil

1 to 2 packages of circle wonton wrappers, defrosted and at room temperature (found in the frozen section of an asian grocery store)
small bowl with 1 tsp corn starch and some water (for binding)

1. Put all the filling ingredients in a medium bowl. 
*To get dried mushroom re-hydrated, it's best to soak them in room temperature water overnight before you can chop it up.
2. Add the marinade ingredients to the bowl and mix. Heat up a small pot of water and put in a small knob of the meat filling into the boiling water. It should only take a few minutes to cook through. Once done, take it out and eat it to make sure you're happy with the flavours. If it needs more, feel free to adjust. Normally my family eyeballs everything, so it was interesting to try to get exact measurements from them. 
3. Get one to two large baking sheets ready with saran wrap placed on them to ensure the dumplings won't stick to your pans.
4. Get ready to assemble! Add about 1 tbsp of the filling into the center of one wonton wrapper leaving the edges empty. Using a butter knife, mix the cornstarch and water mixture in the small bowl and use the knife to spread some of that mixture on the wrapper edge. It should be just enough to wet the edge. 
5. Time to fold. I'm still learning, so there is no real easy way to do it then, fold over the wrapper, so you are going to get a half circle, but start from one side and press the edge together. Fold over the front side wrapper to the left and press. Do this until you have reached the other side of the dumpling. I normally can only get 6 folds in, but if you're able to get 8, that's amazing!
6. Curl the ends in a bit so the dumpling shape is somewhat a crescent and place on the baking sheet. 
7. Once done, cover the baking sheet with more Saran Wrap and place in the freezer to set. I would say about a couple hours is enough. Once they're frozen you can portion them out in ziplock bags for whenever you want to cook them.

- Make sure to have your wonton wrappers covered as much as possible as they dry out quickly while you're making dumplings.
- Cooking them doesn't take long.
a. In a noodle soup, I would boil the dumplings separately from the soup stock for about 5 minutes. They are ready when they float to the top. Then, add them to your soup mixture.
b. Pan fried dumplings are also yummy! I would add a tablespoon of oil to a pan and once the pan is warm enough, add your frozen dumplings to it. Be careful as there will be some oil splattering! Brown the dumplings then, add about 1 to 2 tablespoons of water and cover the pan with a lid. Cook until the water is almost evaporated and lift the lid off. At this point you can turn over the dumplings if you want to get more browning/crispiness to them and then they're ready to eat. My family loves to eat pan fried dumplings with Worcestershire sauce.