Chinese New Year has always been a relatively significant part of my life – and not just because I’m Chinese. I remember that every year in primary school there would be a Chinese New Year assembly, depicting the same story – an exact replica of the previous year’s play, yet it was done every year and continues to be celebrated in schools (my little sister, who’s seven years younger than me, was totally chuffed to play the leading role of a Chinese grandma in her school’s play last year).
Moreover, growing up in London especially made this festival a bigger part of my life than it would otherwise have been. I remember the numerous family outings to see the show in Trafalgar Square, the parade through Chinatown, convincing my parents to buy me bang snaps and then feeling like the coolest kid in town popping them. Anyway, in anticipation of Chinese New Year, I’ve whipped up a recipe for classic Chinese dumplings this week! For a veggie alternative, fill your dumplings with tofu and finely chopped carrots instead of pork and prawns. I did take a few photos of my finished product but have not included them; dumplings are not exactly the most aesthetically pleasing, but will definitely make your mum proud!
Ingredients: Two cups of flour, 4/5 cup of water, 1 ½ teaspoons of salt, 60g mince pork, 7 prawns, 1 cup of Chinese leaf cabbage, 1 teaspoon ginger, 1 tablespoon of spring onions, 1 ½ tablespoons of soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of olive oil (and a little bit for cooking)
Start by making your dough: pour your flour, water and ½ teaspoon of salt into a large bowl. Mix until your dough is smooth and add more flour if it looks too runny/sticky. Cover the bowl in cling film and leave the dough to rest for ten minutes.
While the dough is resting, start making your dumpling filling. Chop your cabbage finely, and then place it in a new bowl, mixing it with ½ teaspoon of salt to draw excess moisture out of the cabbage. Let it sit for a few minutes. After that, add your pork, shrimp, ginger, onions, remaining ½ teaspoon of salt, olive oil and soy sauce, and mix well by stirring all the ingredients together.
Now that your dough is ready, you can start making your dumpling wrappers. Take your dough out onto a clean flat surface, stretching it out horizontally to make a pin shape. Cut it into equal pieces and sprinkle flour on it to avoid it sticking onto the surface. Use your hand to pound a piece of dough into a small circular disc and then use a rolling pin to roll each piece into a circular wrapper, with a diameter of 7-8cm.
To wrap your dumplings, place a small spoonful of filling in the centre of each wrapper. Dab a bit of water on the edges of the wrapper and fold the wrapper over the filling, pinching the two edges together to make a semicircle shape. To cook your dumplings, sprinkle some olive oil in a non-stick pan. Place your dumplings in the pan and pour some water into the pan until it nearly covers the tops of the dumplings. Cook for around 10-15 minutes, Gas Mark 5.
Tesco Everyday Value Plain Flour 1.5kg – 45p, Lidl Pork Lean Mince – £2.29, Lidl Prawns – £1.49, Tesco Chinese Leaf Cabbage – £1.20, Tesco Ginger – 99p, Tesco Spring Onions – 49p, Lee Kum Kee Premium Light Soy Sauce 500ml – £1.49. Total Cost: £8.40. Cost per serving: £1.40