Happy Chinese New Year 2010!

There is not much room for cheese or dairy products in the coming weekend, but no worries for us, as we are not in milk yet! That is a very good excuse for retreating to comfort food of fresh Chinese dumplings in chicken or vegetable broth, yum! On Sunday night, families all over China (and the Chinese-speaking world elsewhere) gather for a “reunion dinner” at heavily-laden tables, to celebrate — this year –the Year of the Tiger. In case you don’t have good recipes for dumplings, here are a couple to work with, and a great link to Lillian Chou’s LA Times article on Beijing-style dumplings! Gong xi fa cai!

Bundles of Joy: Beijing-Style New Year’s Dumplings

Best slurped noisily after dunking in black vinegar

Lao Yi’s boiled beef and leek dumpling filling

Total Time: 15 minutes

Servings: Makes enough filling for 3 dozen dumplings, about 6 servings

Note: Recipe adapted from Wang Ming Jun. Ground pork may be substituted for the beef in this recipe. Fatty ground meat makes for juicier dumplings. Chinese rice wine is available at Chinese and most Asian markets.

6 ounces fatty ground beef (about 20% fat)

2 1/4 teaspoons soy sauce

4 1/2 teaspoons Chinese rice wine or dry sherry

3/8 teaspoon sugar

Small pinch salt

1/4 cup water or cold broth

1 1/2 teaspoons vegetable oil

3/4 cup finely chopped Asian leek (also called Japanese leeks or negi;), or white scallion bottoms

1 1/2 tablespoons minced, peeled fresh ginger

1. In a medium bowl, combine the beef, soy sauce, rice wine, sugar and salt. Use a fork, chopsticks or spatula to stir together the ingredients clockwise (do not stir in the opposite direction) until mixture is smooth like a paste. Add water in 3 stages, stirring clockwise until each addition is well-combined and liquid is emulsified. Stir in the oil in same manner.

2. Stir in leeks and ginger until well combined.

3. Use the filling immediately, or wrap and chill until ready to use, no more than 1 day.

Shrimp dumpling filling

Total Time: 20 minutes

Servings: Makes enough filling for 3 dozen dumplings, about 6 servings

Note: Chinese rice wine and fresh water chestnuts are available at most Chinese and Asian markets. When buying fresh water chestnuts, choose firm, clean ones and buy extra. Peel and wash them well, discarding any yellow or brown bits.

1/2 pound peeled and deveined medium shrimp (from about 10 ounces whole tails)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Chinese rice wine or dry sherry

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon light soy sauce

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

1/2 cup chopped, peeled fresh water chestnuts (from about 5) or jicama

1/4 cup plus 4 teaspoons chopped cilantro leaves and stems

1/4 cup plus 4 teaspoons chopped green onions (white and green parts)

1. Finely chop the shrimp until it is almost reduced to a paste but still has some chunks. Place the chopped shrimp in a medium bowl.

2. Sprinkle over the salt and rice wine and stir well. Add the soy sauce and vigorously stir until mixture is emulsified. Stir in the sesame oil. Stir in the water chestnuts, cilantro and green onion until well combined.

3. Use the filling immediately, or wrap and refrigerate until ready to use, no more than a few hours.

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One thought on “Happy Chinese New Year 2010!

  1. Yum, Yum, Yum! Many an hour spent folding these bad boys with Mom and Dad!
    Feel free to mosey on down to TX and we can whip up some more… 🙂

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