Last weekend was traditional Chinese Spring Festival, the biggest festival in China to celebrate the lunar New Year. It’s a festival about families getting together to have the annual reunion dinner and usher the coming of new year. But it’s been the first year that I didn’t spend the Spring Festival with my family back in China since I’m studying my master’s degree in the States now.
My roommates and I invited our Chinese friends here in Austin to have a small party for the Spring Festival. It’s our tradition to eat dumplings (also called “Jiaozi” in Chinese) in this festival and we decided to make dumplings on our own although few of us made dumplings back in China.
Now, I’ll share you our story of making Chinese dumplings. We bought powder (all purpose), celery, and ground pork from HEB. The biggest challenge was to knead the dough, which required both strength and technique. Then we added Chinese five spices, minced ginger, salt, and cooking wine into the ground pork and mixed them together by hand. Cut the celery and blend them with pork. Actually, there are many choices about the stuffing in the dumplings according to people’s flavors. If you are a vegetarian, you can just mix cabbage, scrambled egg, and tofu. Also, there are different ways of wrapping the dumplings, especially for southern Chinese people and northern people. It’s kind of tricky to fold the wrappers but after several times, I became more skilled at wrapping dumplings.
After wrapping all the dumplings, you can choose either to steam, pan-fry, or boil the dumplings. Steamed dumplings tasted more al dente but not that moisturized like boiled dumplings; fried dumplings tasted crisper and smell really yummy while boiled dumplings are fantastic with the delicious boiling water. And you can eat dumplings with different dipping sauce.
Making dumplings is definitely more time-consuming than just eating frozen dumplings from the supermarket, but I felt happier and more connected when wrapping dumplings together with my friends.
This year is the Year of Monkey and it’s also my zodiac big year (recurrent in a twelve-year circle). Wish everybody a happy and prosperous new year!