Fold, Eat, and Repeat: Three Lunar New Year Dumpling Recipes from Rochen Kaul | Australian food and drink

MThe y family celebrates the Lunar New Year according to the Chinese-Singapore tradition. And like many cultures that celebrate, the focus is on the dining table. On the menu: steamed whole fish, sang 魚生 (boom-toss salad), long-lived noodles, braised pork belly, abalone and fried New Year’s cake, along with more regional dishes. Each plate symbolizes health, prosperity or good luck.

In Chinese ceremonies, dumplings feature prominently, as they look like money bags, and eating them is said to bring wealth. Making dumplings is a great way to get the family together, and rolling, filling, wrapping—and eating—is a delicious way to welcome in the New Year.

Of course, any time of the year is a good time to eat dumplings. Gong xi fa cai!

They are widely eaten during Lunar New Year celebrations according to Chinese tradition, but any time of the year is a good time to eat dumplings. Photo: Dave Tacon/The Guardian

蛋饺 dan jiao (Lunar New Year egg dumpling in broth)

Egg-rolled omelette scooped into a bowl.
One dan jiao is made with a juicy pork and chive filling, encased in a mini omelette wrapper. Photo: Dave Tacon/The Guardian

Dan Jiao It is commonly found on Lunar New Year banquet tables in the regions of southern China. Golden hemispheres are considered lucky due to their resemblance to gold bars. Instead of wheat-flour wrappers, a mini omelet wraps a juicy ham and chive filling.

Making these dumplings is a delicate process but it deserves every savory and delicious taste. The egg shell absorbs the juices from the meat filling as it cooks, and the dumplings swell with flavor, enriching the broth in which they are served.

The technique for making the wrappers is varied, from stuffing the egg mixture into a hot ginger-rubbed ladle, to cooking it in the center of a skillet over low heat. I have had success using a small nonstick skillet and a thin rubber spatula to lift the edges of the egg wrap over itself. Once you get the hang of it, they come together quickly and easily.

Hand pouring egg-rolled dumplings into a bowl.
Dan Jiao made a delicate process, but it was worth every bite. Photo: Dave Tacon/The Guardian

to equip 15 minutes
cook 25 minutes
serves 2-4

to fill
250 grams of minced pork
100 grams of chives
finely chopped and covered with 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
20 grams of gingergrated
1 egg
Half a teaspoon of ground white pepper
3 teaspoons of soy sauce
2 tablespoons of oyster sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil

for egg casings
6 eggs
1 tablespoon of cornstarch
2 teaspoons of water
Neutral flavored oil
for frying

for broth
1 liter of seasoned chicken stock
2 small bunches of green leafy vegetables
such as wombok, bok choy, gai lan
Soy sauce, sliced ​​green onions and sesame oilto serve

To prepare the filling, mix all ingredients in a bowl and stir vigorously. Keep stirring and working the mixture until it is well blended and resembles a smooth paste. Leave to soak for 30 minutes.

To make the egg wrappers, whisk together the eggs, cornstarch, and water, and set aside. In a non-stick frying pan, heat a small amount of oil over medium heat. Gently fold 2 tablespoons of the egg mixture into the pan, forming a circle the size of a pikelet. When the base is done but the top is still set, spoon a small spoonful of the filling into the center of the circle, then use the spoon to fold in the egg. Gently press edges to seal. Place on a plate and repeat with the rest of the egg mixture and filling. Note: the dumpling filling is still raw at this point.

In a large saucepan, bring the broth to a boil and pour it into the dumplings. On low heat, add green leafy vegetables. Dumplings are ready when they float to the surface.

Divide the dumplings and vegetables into serving bowls, place them on top of the broth, and garnish with soy sauce, green onions, and a drizzle of sesame oil.

Green pepper and pork guō tiē 鍋貼 (pot stickers) with crispy skirt

Close-up of fried pork dumplings with crisp lace on a plate of flowers.
Appreciate Rosheen Kaul’s green pepper noodles and pork guō tiē with a crispy skirt. Photo: Dave Tacon/The Guardian

These pot stickers were a recent find from my sister’s fridge, and have quickly become one of my favorite dumpling fillings. Green peppers add a little spice or heat and a more vegetable flavour. Paired with Sichuan peppercorns and a sprinkling of coriander, they are simply delicious. The dumplings are steamed in a slurry of cornstarch and vinegar, and the result is silky, bouncy dumplings with a golden, mottled crust. The non-stick pan is absolutely essential here.

I provided a recipe for making your own dumpling wrappers, but feel free to use store-bought white gyoza wrappers instead. Wonton wrappers won’t work – they’re too thin for utensils and won’t hold up to this type of cooking.

to equip 30 minutes
cook 15 minutes
Make 50-60 dumplings

for dumpling wrappers
(This recipe was originally published in Chinese, the book I co-authored with Joanna Ho)
400 grams of plain flour
240 grams of water
4 grams of salt

to fill
20g whole Sichuan pepper
120 ml hot water
1 tablespoon of neutral-flavored oil
Like vegetable oil
20 grams of gingergrated
100 grams of long green pepperpeeled and finely chopped
500 grams of minced pork
50 grams of coriander
finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 tablespoon of soy sauce
3 teaspoons of oyster sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 egg

for the crispy skirt
1 teaspoon cornstarch
½ teaspoon plain flour
Half a teaspoon of white vinegar
(Can be substituted with rice vinegar or white wine vinegar)
100 ml of water

to serve
I am willow
Xinqiang black vinegar
Chili oil

To make the dumpling wrappers: Combine all ingredients and mix by hand, or with a mixer, until a smooth paste is formed. Allow the dough to rest for 15-20 minutes before rolling it into a long tube, about 3-4 cm in diameter. To make one wrapper, cut out a piece of dough 1-2 cm wide. The technique here is to rotate the dough with one hand while operating the rolling pin with the other, rolling it outward to flatten the dough on a floured countertop. You’re aiming for a round shape a few millimeters thick, however, anything more elongated or oblong is workable. Cover the dumpling wrappers with a damp tea towel to prevent them from drying out. Repeat with remaining dough to make 50-60 wrappers.

To make the filling: Soak the peppers in 120ml of hot water to infuse the flavour. Leave to cool and then strain. Save the water and discard the peppercorns.

In a medium skillet, heat the oil until smoking. Sauté the ginger and green chilli for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Remove from the pan and set aside to cool.

In a mixing bowl, combine ground beef, ginger and chili mixture. Gradually add the pepper-infused water and continue mixing until the mixture becomes a smooth paste. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir until combined. Check the seasoning by frying or microwaving a small amount of the mixture, and adjust to your taste if necessary.

For folding dumplings: If you are using store-bought casings, you will need a bowl of water on the side. Wet your index finger to seal the edges of the wrappers. If you’re using your own wrappers, this won’t be necessary—the dough will still be pliable and seal on its own by pinching.

Place the wrapper on a floured surface. Place 1 tablespoon of the filling in the center, then lift the sides of the wrapper and pinch to seal. You can get fancy with the pleats, if you’d like. Repeat with remaining wrappers and stuffing.

To cook dumplings: In a large nonstick skillet, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat. Put 8-10 dumplings in the pan, and fry until the bottom turns light brown.

For the crispy skirt: Whisk the cornstarch, plain flour, vinegar and water well, then pour a thin layer into the pan and cover tightly with a lid. Steam for about 5-6 minutes, then remove the lid and continue cooking until all the liquid has evaporated and a crispy, golden brown rim has formed. Flip the plate over onto the skillet and, in one swift motion, flip the dumplings onto the plate (be careful—the skillet will be hot!). Repeat cooking process with remaining dumplings, re-whisking slurry mixture between batches. Served with a dipping sauce of soy sauce, black vinegar, and chili oil.

Spicy Mackerel, Lemon And Dill Shui Jiao

Boiled fish dumplings with spicy sauce on a plate of flowers, spicy mackerel, lemon and shui jiao dill.
Spicy Mackerel, Lemon and Dill Shui Jiao produced by Ruchen Kaul. Photo: Dave Tacon/The Guardian

to equip 30 minutes
cook 15 minutes
Make 50-60 dumplings

500g of Spanish mackerelAnd bones and skin
100 grams of shrimp meatcoarsely chopped
50 grams of chivesfinely chopped and mixed with 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil
50 grams of dillfinely chopped
100ml of Shaoxing wine
4 tablespoons of soy sauce
1 tablespoon of fish sauce

1 lemon, grated
20 grams of ginger finely chopped
Half a teaspoon of white pepper powder
White dumpling wrappers (such as gyoza wrappers)

for hot seasoning
2 bird’s eye peppers
thin slices
1 stalk green onionthin slices
2 tablespoons Chinkiang black vinegar
1 tablespoon of soy sauce
1 tablespoon of hot pepper oil
Half a teaspoon of sugar

In the bowl of a food processor, blend the fish until it becomes a smooth paste and transfer to a larger mixing bowl. Combine with the rest of the ingredients and stir vigorously until combined. Leave to soak for 20-30 minutes. Fill in dumplings (see above recipe for green pepper and pork guō tiē) and set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add dumplings, being careful not to crowd the pot (choosing a large pot will help). Stir with chopsticks or a sieve so that they do not stick together. Bring the water back to a boil. Add 1 cup of cold water, bring back to a boil again, and simmer until the dumplings float to the surface. Repeat with any remaining pies.

Meanwhile, while the dumplings are cooking, make the hot sauce. Collect all ingredients.

Arrange dumplings in a shallow serving bowl and spoon over. Serve immediately.

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