The Chinese new year, celebrating the year of the ox in 2021, began on the lunar new year, February 12 and will continue for 15 days. Dumplings are a classic lucky food that are traditionally eaten during the Chinese New Year. These pork and shrimp steamed dumplings symbolize great wealth for the lunar new year much like eating cabbage and black eyed peas on new years day represents wealth and prosperity in the western world.
You may be familiar with my recipe for Chinese new year potstickers which was featured on the Sur le Plat blog a couple of years ago. Those dumplings are filled with pork, and they are cooked by frying until the bottoms are crisp and then steaming. These pork and shrimp dumplings combine ground pork and chopped shrimp and seasonings with ginger, green onions and cabbage. They are light yet bursting with flavor. The dumplings are steamed in a bamboo steamer on the stove top.
Dumplings are typically made with minced or ground meat, such as pork or chicken or a seafood such as fish or shrimp. Finely-chopped vegetables are added and the mixture is wrapped in a thin and elastic dough skin. They can be cooked by boiling, steaming, frying or baking.
Almost all Chinese people can make dumplings. First they mix the dough, then they make the dough into round “wrappers” with a rolling pin. We buy pre-made wrappers, round or square, rather than making our own. It is easy to fill the wrapper with the meat and vegetable mixture. The most important step is to make sure that the edges are sealed and crimped.
Finally, the dumplings can be cooked immediately or frozen and reserved for cooking at a later date. If you steam them, serve with a soy sauce and vinegar dipping sauce and a hot Chinese mustard. You can eat them in one bite with your fingers or use chopsticks. There is no limit to how many dumplings one can eat in a sitting. Get lucky and celebrate the Chinese new year and the year of the ox by making steamed dumplings this week.