How is everybody this new year?
It’s the weekend again. La Di Da … and welcoming February with open arms. How time flies 😃. That also means, we are only a week away from Chinese New Year (CNY) where firecrackers and dragons come alive tung tung tung chiang 💥💥
“Gong Xi Fa Cai 🏮 and let’s welcome good luck and prosperity in the year of the Monkey”
If you are in Asia at this time, be sure to visit the regional towns to see and feel all the CNY rah rah festivities. Inner cities will generally be quiet as Chinese families from around the globe return home for days and weeks of feasting and the much-needed bonding with families.
I miss celebrating CNY with my family very very much. Since moving to Melbourne, I haven’t been back to Malaysia to celebrate CNY. I remembered that there were so much happiness, love and joy shared with my family and extended families in historic Malacca in Malaysia. We played cards, mahjong, drink, talk and feast, feast, feast … through day and night. While the men were comfortably seated in the living room, engulfed in serious talks about politics, stock market and property investments, the women will be crammed into a small steamy kitchen, concentrating on cooking while catching up with the latest gossips on who’s who and what’s what. This pattern continues for the next few days … loud and glorious!
Food brings people together and is the cornerstone of this celebration. Part of the fun also is deciphering the meaning of dishes served around the table. Each dishes that is put on the table during CNY is steeped in Chinese tradition and contains deep meaning that brings hope, luck, prosperity and long live in the coming years.
One of the CNY celebratory dishes are dumplings (jiao zhi 餃子), due to their shape, which resembles a Chinese Kingdom ingot, said to bring prosperity. The saying that goes with jiao zhi is “gen shui jiao zhi” 更歲交子, or “ring out the old year and ring in the new.” Chinese believe that the more jiao zhi you eat, the more you’ll prosper. For this Chinese New Year, I wish for world peace, good health and prosperity to all deserving mankind.
Prosperity Seafood Dumplings (adapted from Lee Anne Wong’s Dumplings All Day Wong)
Makes 40 dumplings
250 g fresh scallops, chopped into 1/4 inch
250 g fresh prawns, deveined and peeled, chopped into 1/4 inch
1/2 cup cabbage, washed with 1 tsp salt and then drained and finely chopped
6 dried shiitake mushrooms, rehydrated and finely chopped
1 stalk spring onion, chopped, to garnish
1 tbsp Shoaxing rice wine
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp corn flour
1/4 tsp ground white pepper
1/2 tsp sugar
40 round dumpling wrappers
(Soy Ginger Dipping Sauce)
equal portion of rice vinegar, soy sauce, water
sugar, to taste
lots of ginger, finely julienned
1. Mix chopped scallops, prawns, cabbage and mushrooms in a bowl. Separately, whisk together the rice wine, oyster sauce, soy sauce, corn flour, pepper and sugar together. Then mix the two together. To do a taste test, you can take a teaspoon of the mixture and place in boiling water to cook. Then taste and adjust seasoning as you desire. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
2. Prepare the dipping sauce at least 30 minutes earlier before serving, to infuse the subtle taste of ginger into the sauce.
3. Fill each wrapper with 2 teaspoons of filling. Then follow this tutorial video to wrap this classic dumpling pleat. Sprinkle some flour lightly on a clean flat plate and place the dumplings on the plate. Keep the plate covered with clean kitchen towel so the beautiful dumplings do not dry out.
4. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Gently, place dumplings into the boiling water. Wait and let the water come to boil again. Add 1/2 cup of cold water. When the water come to boil again, add another 1/2 cup of cold water. This time around, slowly you still start to see dumplings floating to the surface. Drain.
5. Place the dumplings on a large plate. Garnish with chopped spring onions and a few spoonfuls of dipping sauce. Serve hot with more dipping sauce on the side.