What is the date all Chinese children look forward to? The one where they get to eat way too much food, get red packets, have all the family around and stay up real late to welcome the next day with fire crackers and even more food? Happy Chinese New Year everybody!
|Ryan with his Hong Bao (red packet)|
As soon as we came home from the seafood festival, Jason and I worked like little elves to make 100 dumplings for "pre-spring festival" dinner (yeah, we like to have many meals to celebrate this event). I wasn't allowed to make any more than that as we already had too much food on the menu.
|Filling for Dumplings|
|Sesame oil, salt, ground black pepper, soy sauce and white pepper (not pictured)|
|Mum taking over the reins and mixing up the filling|
So basically, start off with some mince (beef or pork usually) and add whatever you like. Usual fillings are beef and onion, pork and cabbage or beef and chives. I quite like celery in mine.
And now to construction:
|Step 1: Place a (tea)spoonful of dumpling filling in the centre of the dumpling pastry. Leave about 2cm around the edge|
|Step 2: Bring the opposite sides of the pastry together and squeeze|
|Step 3: On the top side of the wrapper, fold one pleat angling back toward the midpoint and pinch to seal.|
|Step 4: Continue folding pleats until you get to the end.|
|Step 5: Continue on the remaining side. Tada! Pretty Dumplings!|
|Step 6: Repeat steps 1 through 5 until either your filling or pastry runs out|
|Grandma's homemade turnip cakes, sweet dumplings, sweet rice cake and unflavoured rice cakes|
|She brought a lobster!|
|Fuzhou dumpling wrappers and filling|
The ingredients used for the filling are pretty much the same as normal dumplings -pork mince, mushrooms and spring onions. The difference is the wrappers. I'm told that it is pork that has been beaten and then dried so the result is a lovely pork filling wrapped in a thin layer of.. well.. more pork. They are heaven.
|Some of the wrappers are holey|
When dry, the wrappers are very flaky so they have to be moistened before use and, when cooked, the wrapper becomes clear to reveal the delicious filling. It's alright when they're a little damaged though, you can always patch up the holes with another piece of moistened deliciousness!
We had almost finished making all the dumplings when I heard my grandma yell out my name from the kitchen. It was lobster noodle time! This got me excited for several reasons -1: she was frying lobster which meant 2: her famous lobster noodles would soon be ready which meant 3: dinner would be soon and i was so hungry!
|Grandma's famous lobster noodles|
|Grandpa was more excited than I about the lobster noodles|
Together my mother, grandmother, Jason and I had prepared so much food that 10 people couldn't finish it all and we didn't even get to cook grandma's stir fried rice cakes or our dumplings (the normal ones)!
|From left: fried nian gao, marinated pig stomach, rose tofu battered eel, pork and bitter melon stir fry, marinated chicken giblet and LOBSTER NOODLES|
It is tradition to have Nian Gao (sticky rice cake) and fish (or in our case, eel) on CNY to symbolise fortune and abundance for the coming year.There's nothing like spending a night with your family and eating yummy food!
|Kai Yun Nian Fan -New Year Rice|
This dish received so much great feedback that I'm sure it won't be long before my mother makes it for dinner again and I'll make sure I'm right there beside her taking photos and notes so I can share this recipe with you all. But if you understand mandarin, you can watch the show my mother got the recipe from here. I promise that it's super yummy.
I wish firecrackers were allowed in Auckland..