Perfect Chinese Dumplings – For The New Year & Beyond (Updated)

Happy Lunar New Year of the Sheep! Chinese New Year is one of my favorite holidays growing up in Hong Kong. A celebration of Spring’s impending arrival, we would fill our homes with fresh flowers (boy, do I miss the sweet scent of the Narcissus bulb!), see friends and family, and eat a lot of food that typically only gets served during this festive time of year.

While these precious gatherings are harder to come by these days, I hope to carry on this great tradition by making the foods that remind me most of home. Turnip cake is a solid staple, while it does take a bit of work, it’s so worth it to make your own – check out my recipe (and menu) here. This year, I’m going to dive into another gold star staple, the Chinese dumpling!

Ready to wrap and roll!

Ready to wrap and roll! 

Our household favorite savory dumpling recipe features some unusual ingredients like bamboo shoots, wood ear mushrooms (for crunch), and Chinese chives (more garlicky than regular chives). You can omit or substitute those ingredients and the dumpling would still be delish – this recipe is pretty forgiving. To learn more about wrapping, serving, and storing your dumplings, check out this great noshon.it post:

Ingredients (makes 50 dumplings):

– 7 – 10 Shitake Mushrooms chopped

– 10 – 15 pieces Wood Ear Mushrooms chopped (optional)

– 1 small can Bamboo Shoots chopped

– 2 small Carrots chopped

– 5 – 6 Napa Cabbage (or green cabbage) leaves, blanched, cold bath, chopped

– 8-12 stalks of Chinese chives (or 2-3 stalks of spring onions if unavailable) chopped

– 1/4 cup Cilantro

– 1 tablespoon Grated Ginger

– 1 egg, whisked

– 1 pound Raw shrimp (as binding agent for the vegetable mix) grounded into a paste using a food processor (or you can use 1/2 lbs Ground chicken and 1/2 lbs Ground shrimp)

– Soy sauce and sesame oil to season dumpling mix

– 50 Dumpling Skins (should be able to find Nasoya brand at Wholefoods or local grocery store)

– Soy sauce or Citrus dumpling sauce with a drop of seasame oil for dipping

Instructions:

1. Chop all listed vegetable ingredients

2. Mix all vegetables, whisked egg, and shrimp (or chicken) well with soy sauce and sesame oil 

3. Wrap a small spoonful of mix in a dumpling skin

4, Steam, Pan fry, or Boil your dumplings and serve hot with dipping sauce on the side

5. Have a dumpling party!

Chinese Dumplings

Wrapped up and ready to go!


DSC_0758

Boiled dumplings

Spring has (almost) Sprung – Tahini Noodles with Chicken & Cucumber

Mother nature finally blessed us with a warm day in NYC – yippee! While I am not going to fall into another “sunny day trap” (and dry clean my coats for the season), I will however, cook to celebrate this ephemeral yet exciting occasion because I miss the summer oh so much.

Tahini Noodles with Chicken and Cucumber

Tahini Noodles with Chicken and Cucumber

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Tahini, it’s really just a fancy name for grounded sesame paste. This fragrant condiment is common in Middle Eastern dishes (like hummus), but I’ve added a little soy sauce twist to this and created a nice Asian noodle meal.  Served at room temperature, this extremely versatile dish is perfect for cooling down in warm weather.  You can find tahini at your local ethnic food store, Whole Foods, or Amazon!

Recipe (4 Servings)

– 1 lbs Skinless, Boneless Chicken Breast

– 4 Bunches of Dry Round Udon Noodles (or Spaghetti)

– 2 Cucumbers cut into 2 inch strips

– 8 Tbsp Tahini

– 3 Tbsp Soy Sauce (adjust according to your taste)

– 4 Tbsp Water

Sesame with Sea Salt as desired

Directions

– Fill medium sauce pan with enough room temperature water to cover the chicken breast, you may salt the water if you’d like.  Place chicken breast in sauce pan with room temperature water on low-medium heat for 15-20 minutes, allowing the water to come to a nice simmer (but not boiling).

– While the chicken is cooking, mix tahini, soy sauce, and water together in a large mixing bowl (enough to contain your noodles and ingredients for tossing later on), to create a nice and creamy sauce. Chop up the cucumbers if you haven’t done so already.

– Check the chicken and make sure it’s cooked through in the center, remove from sauce pan, and rinse under cold water.  ‘Tear’ the warm chicken breast into strips.

– In a small sauce pan, place water on boil and cook the noodles according to manufacturer’s instructions.  Rinse noodles under cold water once it’s cooked through and strain.

– Place chicken & cucumber strips and noodles into the large mixing bowl with sauce and toss well. Serve immediately and sprinkle your noodles with some sesame with sea salt for garnish!

Variations and Storage

– For a vegetarian version of this, you can substitute the chicken with strips of extra firm tofu. I would mix in just a dash of soy sauce and sesame oil to give it extra flava!

– If you made too much chicken and cut up extra cucumber, I would recommend storing them in separate containers. Otherwise, your cucumbers will get soggy! And don’t mix in the noodles with sauce either, I would cook up the noodles when you’re ready to serve the leftovers.