Chinese New Year Auspicious Food: Chinese Dumplings

Chinese Dumplings or Jiaozi

Source

The Chinese are known to attach significance to numbers, dates, foods and even the arrangement of furniture in the house, notably the art of fengshui. An auspicious occasion like Chinese New Year, the most important of all Chinese celebrations is not going to get away with its fair share of “attached” significance. Some call them superstitions. Some call them traditions or beliefs. Whatever they are called, there are many traditions that come with celebrating the coming of Spring, or the beginning of a lunar year for the Chinese. Among them, the making of Chinese dumplings.

Chinese dumpling is not to be confused with its western counterpart—dumplings—or pinches of dough dropped into simmering broth. Chinese dumplings, commonly called Jiaozi, are made with meat, seafood or vegetables (or a combination of these), cleverly wrapped in a dough skin, dainty enough to be eaten in one bite. You can get fastidious or ambitious and attempt to make your own dumpling skin or you can simply buy “wanton” or pre-made dumpling skin from the Asian markets. That will save you hours of slavery to the kitchen and plenty of time to savor the dumplings. I always opt for the second option, due to sheer laziness and a need to hurry up and make them dumplings.

But before we hurry up and attempt these sumptuous nuggets, let’s look a little at the belief behind this tradition of dumpling making the night before Chinese New Year. Dumplings are year round foods but the tradition of making them on Chinese New Year holds great significance. If you use a little imagination, jiaozi looks like the Chinese gold and silver ingots—symbolic of wealth and prosperity. So, why not make lots of jiaozis to usher in a prosperous new year?

Come Chinese New Year’s eve and families who observe this tradition will huddle together around the table to make these succulent treats. They may hide coins in one of the dumplings. The lucky person who finds it is deemed to have good fortune in the coming year.

Now, that we’ve attached the significance behind this tradition, let’s go on with it:

Ingredients

  • 1 packet of wanton skins or dumpling skins
  • 1 lb of ground meat (traditionally pork, but I love using ground turkey)
  • 3 stalks of green onion, chopped
  • ½ small onion, chopped
  • 1 cup of finely chopped cabbage (optional)
  • 2 tbsp. of soya sauce
  • 1 tsp of sugar
  • ½ tsp. of sesame oil
  • 1 tsp of corn flour to gel everything together
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Put the wanton skin aside and mix all the remaining ingredients in a large bowl thoroughly.
  • Place a small ball of meat mixture in the middle of the dumpling skin
  • Fold the sides together so they line up
  • Scrunch the edges together, so they fold like an accordion.

Steam them in a bamboo steamer or regular steamer for 10 to 15 minutes until done. I line my bamboo steamer with aluminum foil for easy cleaning. My hub on bamboo steamer will show you how to use it. You can also boil the dumplings in water but from my experience, they tend to get mushy if you don’t watch it like a hawk.

Let's get started.

Place filling in the middle. You can use square dumpling skin or round ones.
Place filling in the middle. You can use square dumpling skin or round ones. | Source

One dumpling

Crimp the edges so the filling is sealed. You can make it fancy or you can just scrunch it up.
Crimp the edges so the filling is sealed. You can make it fancy or you can just scrunch it up.

Three Dumplings

They may look like little feet if you don't have crimping skill. Don't worry, they will still taste the same, despite the looks.
They may look like little feet if you don't have crimping skill. Don't worry, they will still taste the same, despite the looks. | Source

More!

With so many dumplings, you will certainly be assured of a prosperous year. Yay!
With so many dumplings, you will certainly be assured of a prosperous year. Yay! | Source

Dumplings in a Bamboo steamer

Spread them out on a bamboo steamer and you're on your way. Spray the aluminum foil with a little Pam or oil it a little, so you don't end up with broken dumplings.
Spread them out on a bamboo steamer and you're on your way. Spray the aluminum foil with a little Pam or oil it a little, so you don't end up with broken dumplings. | Source

Serving Dumplings

Chinese dumplings can be eaten as they are. But more often than not, they are served with dipping sauce. Favorites include black vinegar, soy sauce, chili sauce, pepper oil and ginger sauce. They help to alleviate the eating experience to a synergistic level.

I often use this sauce to compliment my dumplings.

Ginger-Soy Sauce

  • 1 thumb of ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 stalk of green onion, finely chopped (optional)
  • 2 tbsp of soya sauce
  • 1 tsp of brown sugar
  • 1 tsp of black vinegar
  • 1 tsp of sesame oil
  • 1/8 cup of hot water

Whisk all the above ingredients in a bowl. Good to go.

A dumpling by any other name

Dumplings can morph into other delicacies. The shape may take a slightly slimmer or pudgier form but the filling is quite the same. If you fry them, they are generally known as fried wantons. The Japanese have a fancy name for theirs: Gyoza. A close relative of jiaozi is wanton in the soup, made with a slightly thinner skin and often served in broth with noodles.

Enjoy your dumplings and may the New Year bring you prosperity, health and wealth.

Xin Nian Kuai Le (Happy New Year)

Nian Nian You Yu

Chinese New Year 2012

This year celebrates the year of the Dragon--the fifth sign of the Chinese zodiac and perhaps the most auspicious of all the 12 animals. It begins on the 23rd of January 2012 and will last 15 days. The dragon is traditionally symbolic of success and happiness and therefore high revered.

People born in the year of the dragon are supposed to share certain characteristics: innovative, enterprising, brave, self-assured, conceited, passionate and quick-tempered. Know anyone like that? Perhaps they are born in the year of the dragon.


Copyright 2012. All Rights Reserved.

Ginger-soy sauce

Refreshing, tangy and sweet--quite the sauce to pair with dumplings.
Refreshing, tangy and sweet--quite the sauce to pair with dumplings. | Source

Dunk your dumpling in the sauce and enjoy.

Enjoy!
Enjoy! | Source

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Comments 50 comments

katrinasui profile image

katrinasui 5 years ago

I really like Chinese Dumplings. Hmm Yummy:)


Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 5 years ago from Oklahoma

I love Chinese dumplings. These look delicious, I'll have to try them.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States

Anginwu, I love Chinese dumplings and bookmarked your hub as I've never made them. Thanks for the recipes along with the pictures.


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 5 years ago from malang-indonesia

This is a SUPER FOOD, I liked Chinese food. In Indonesia we called this "siomay or pangsit". My sister often make this to accompany while drinking tea. She filled this dumplings with various vegetables and meat, sometimes she use a chicken too. But I got special recipes from you, that's a ginger-soy sauce. I'll show this to my sister. She maybe want to make this for my family at the evening. I liked your presentation, stunning pictures and step by step instruction. Well done and you make a great job here. Vote up. God bless you.

Prasetio,


WildIris 5 years ago

Your photos really make this a great Hub! I printed your recipe. Thanks. Gung hay fat choy.


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 5 years ago Author

I'm with you,Katrinasui, yum! Thanks for dropping by


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 5 years ago Author

Thanks, Pamela Red. Let me know how yours turn out.


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 5 years ago Author

Thanks, Pamela. Enjoy making them--it can be quite an adventure.


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 5 years ago Author

Prasetio, I love "siewmai and pangsit" too. You're lucky to have a sister make all that. Enjoy the sauce and thanks for dropping by to comment. Always a pleasure to see u.


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 5 years ago Author

Kong Hay Fat choy too, Wildiris. Thanks for dropping by with your comments.


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 5 years ago Author

Cnocera, you make me smile with your comments. Dumpling making can be an adventure, especially if you have small kids who love to potter in the kitchen--good time to have them help you with crimping all the dumplings. Thanks for dropping by.


Carolyn Jung 5 years ago

With the Lunar New Year just around the corner, I'm totally craving dumplings. OK, truth be told, I crave dumplings all the time. But can you blame me? They're just the perfect package to satisfy any time, any day.


Om Paramapoonya profile image

Om Paramapoonya 5 years ago

Oh man I wish I hadn't read this at 9 pm! All the dim sum shops are already closed. And it's kind of too late to make my own now. I don't even have any dumpling skins in the house! Oh, Angeline, you're sending me to bed with a sad stomach tonight.


TheListLady profile image

TheListLady 5 years ago from New York City

Oh love Chinese dumplings and I can pick up excellent ones at my local Chinese restaurants - they are soooo good. It's been awhile.

A dear friend and I are so ready for the Chinese New Year - I am an ox and she is a boar - I will p/u some so we can celebrate. Yay! Our signs expect a prosperous year of the Golden Rabbit - but we must do all that is necessary - including eating dumplings. We are both followers of the science of feng-shui.

I'll save your recipe because I will do them myself one fine day.

Thanks a million and rated up!


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 5 years ago Author

Carolyn, thanks for commenting. I agree dumplings can be enjoyed anytime. Checked out your blog--it's very cool.


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 5 years ago Author

LOL, Om. I see u survive your dumpling craving. Did u get some today? Thanks for commenting and have a wonderful Chinese New Year.


Ingenira profile image

Ingenira 5 years ago

Oh, those dumplings look so yummy !! I have never tested one with turkey meat, how's the texture different from pork ?


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 5 years ago Author

Listlady, lol, a boar and an ox, both predicted to do well this year. Good for you...and your friend. Glad you can get good dumplings. I've a dim sum place nearby and can also get pretty tasty ones here. Thanks again for commenting.


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 5 years ago Author

Ingenira, they taste pretty much the same. Friends (lovers of pork) can't even tell whenever they eat mine. Turkey is healthier and also, my Jewish husband refuses to eat pork, hence turkey. Thanks for dropping by to comment.


sheila b. profile image

sheila b. 5 years ago

This sounds like a wonderful recipe and your directions are great - I'll be making these!


ReuVera profile image

ReuVera 5 years ago from USA

I love dumplings in all their variations- Chinese dumplings (authentic!), Russian pelmeni, Kazakh manty. Thank you for directions and I finally ordered from you my bamboo steamer (Happy Chinese New Year to you, Vera :-) ), so I am on my way to make dumplings!

Happy Chinese New Year, Angeline!


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 5 years ago Author

Thanks, Sheilab. Appreciate your comments.


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 5 years ago Author

Vera, so sweet of you to support me (thanks for buying the bamboo steamer). I remember your hub on Russian pelmeni--they are rather similar. Wonder who stole the recipe? Anyway, enjoy your dumplings and Happy Chinese New Year to you too.


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 5 years ago from Philippines

Our family loves dumplings! Yummy!

When I'm in the mood, I sometimes make some. However, most of the time, I'm not in the mood (I'd rather take photos than cook, hahaha!), so we just go over to a Chinese restaurant which is just 5 minutes away from our place. Sometimes we even just call and have something delivered home. I love having a Chinese restaurant nearby!

I will show your recipe to my daughter though. She is now enjoying cooking and trying new recipes.

For sure we will also have "tikoy" during Chinese New Year.

Kung Hei Fatt Choy my friend!


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 5 years ago Author

Gong Xi Fa Chai, Jill! Thanks for dropping by with your wonderful comments. Haha--just focus on taking pictures 'cos you take really lovely ones. Leave the dumpling making to the restaurant. I don't make them often too, just when I feel like it.

What is "tikoy"? Reminds me of a type of fish we must eat during Chinese New Year for good luck. Is that it? Or is it the sweet sticky cake. We call it "tikuey"? Haha, the fun we'll have 'cos there are so many different Chinese dialects.

Good to see you again and have a wonderful Chinese New Year!


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 5 years ago from Philippines

"Tikoy" is your "tikuey" - the sweet sticky cake.

You are right, there are just so many Chinese dialects. That's why I am finding it hard to learn the language. I can only manage a few greeting words and counting 1 to 10. Of course there are still so many variations of those.

Hahaha!

Kung Hei Fat Choi!


prettydarkhorse profile image

prettydarkhorse 5 years ago from US

I will make one using your recipe, after the storm here. Thanks Angel, ur d best! Gong Xi Fa Chai!


sdy53 profile image

sdy53 5 years ago

My wife really liked this one! She is Filipina/Chinese. We are going to observe Chinese New Year tonight. Thanks :)

Gong Xi Fa Chai! She knows fooh kien.


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 5 years ago Author

Jill, Kong Xi Fai Chai--it's today! I know there are so many Chinese dialects and they all sound slightly different. I'm a Teochew and so "tikoy" is said a little differently. Go figure. Thanks for checking back and have a great day.


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 5 years ago Author

Maita, heard about the storm--is it over yet? Enjoy making dumplings.

Sdy53, enjoy your reunion dinner tonight. I'm celebrating tomorrow night. I'm Teochew and I believe Fooh Kien is the same as Hokkien. I know it gets confusing with so many different dialects. Gong Xi Fa Chai to you and your wife.


febriedethan profile image

febriedethan 5 years ago from Indonesia

Xin Nien Kuai Le, Anginwu. I love dumplings. Prasetio was right, in Indonesia we call it Pangsit or siomay, and many Indonesian love to consume it, only we used peanut sauce or tomato-ketchup instead of ginger soy sauce. Thank you for your wonderful recipe.


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 5 years ago Author

Febriedethan, Xin Nian Kuai Le, too. Wow, can't imagine dumpling with peanut sauce or ketchup but each country gives its own spin. Thanks for dropping by with your comments.


Lady_E profile image

Lady_E 5 years ago from London, UK

I absolutely love Chinese Dumplings with the sauce. I have it with friends when I go to "China Town", Soho in London or in a Chinese Buffet restaurant near my house.

They won't see me for a while, as I can now make my own. :) Thanks for the Recipe.


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 5 years ago Author

Lady E, enjoy your very own home-made dumplings. One good thing about making your own--you know what exactly goes into it. Thanks for commenting.


jojokaya profile image

jojokaya 5 years ago from USA

I love jiozi, one of my favorite foods... We use to name it as guo tie /kuo tie


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 5 years ago Author

Thanks, jojokaya--(now, your name kaya--sounds like my favorite egg jam)for commenting. Glad you love jiaozi.


katiem2 profile image

katiem2 5 years ago from I'm outta here

Oh how wonderful, my daughters love to cook and have been asking for a bamboo steamer now we can do both get a great steamer, know what to do with and it and enjoy the added bonus of making dumplings, what a joy, thanks for sharing. :) Katie


Wendy Krick profile image

Wendy Krick 5 years ago from Maryland

I love steamed dumplings.


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 5 years ago Author

katie, your daughters would enjoy making dumplings. My daughter helps out whenever I make them. It's so much fun. Enjoy your dumplings!


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 5 years ago Author

Thanks, Wendy Krick. Me too.


happypuppy profile image

happypuppy 5 years ago

I love dumplings. It's funny how I can live without rice but not dumplings :)


Ali-Mostofizadeh 5 years ago

Thanks for this informative article! It's completed and good organized.

voting up and interesting!


Ali-Mostofizadeh 5 years ago

Pls read my hub about Chinese dumpling: http://ali-mostofizadeh.hubpages.com/hub/Chinese-D...


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 5 years ago Author

happypuppy, you must like dumplings a lot. I cannot live without rice, that's for sure. Thanks for dropping by.

Ali, thanks for voting up. I've read your hub and I'm glad to learn another perspective about dumplings.


Ali-Mostofizadeh 5 years ago

Thank you; I learned from your hub too. And I like your nice photos because I think the photos were taken with your own camera. Am I right?


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 5 years ago Author

Ali, thanks for checking back. Yes, these are my pictures. Sometimes, I have a craving for dumplings and would make a batch.


vespawoolf profile image

vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

These look delicious and fun to make, too. Thank you for sharing!


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 4 years ago Author

Thanks, vespawoolf, they're very delcious.


Vacation Trip profile image

Vacation Trip 3 years ago from India

This looks very yummy. Simply mouth watering. Thanks for sharing.


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 3 years ago Author

Thanks, Vacation Trip.

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