Mbaaaaaa….. MBAAAAAAAA……The year of the Goat is almost here! As we move away from the year of the Horse, welcoming the year of the Goat, of the Lunar Calendar, here’s wishing all those celebrating a very Happy & Prosperous Lunar New Year! Ohhh I wish I was in Singapore, where the Lunar New Year celebrations are just simply, vibrantly, amazingly aweeeesomeeee…All those decor of lanterns, oranges, red packets, red Chinese Calligraphy writings, red ribbons, red everything!!! Almost the whole town is painted RED! And of course not forgetting all the catchy Chinese New Year songs and tunes! Oh wow, I can just close my eyes and think of the very vibrant festive moon…Haaaaaahhhhhh….
Coming from a multi-cultural background and having spent quite a fair bit of my life in Singapore, regardless of the thousands of miles I may be away from one of the places I call home, I will always miss that festive mood each time the many different festivals are just round the corner. Of course, no festival can be separated from food, just like how Christmas is associated with Candy Canes and Christmas puddings, the Lunar New Year is associated with oranges and heaps of delicious food.
One popular dish which is served widely during the Lunar New year is a dish called ‘Yu Sheng’, a salad-like dish served with fresh fish, sashimi grade salmon or white fish to be exact. Several other dishes that are served would be whole fish, noodles and also dumplings. Did I just say dumplingssss?? Oh D-U-M-P-L-I-N-G-SSSSSS……..Dumplings are one of my favourite dishes from the Chinese Cuisine. In fact, an ideal dish for the Lunar New Year for me would be like what I have prepared above, simple yet classy and complete for that touch of Chinese Cuisine. Yummmmmmmm ♥
There are many ways to prepare and serve dumplings. Also, just like how Oranges are believed to bring good fortune and luck, Dumplings when served with meat filling are believed to offer ‘wealth and treasure’ for the year ahead. The more folds on the dumplings the better too, as it reflects on prosperity as compared to a flat dumpling which may mean otherwise. Oh and just for some additional information, Fish is always served on Chinese New Year as it symbolizes ‘abundance’ in everything one does, be it financially, health and well-being too. Amazing how the Chinese have so much meaning and symbols in the food they eat, isn’t it?
This recipe of Easy Chicken Dumplings is good enough to be eaten on its own or with a simple Chicken Stock Based soup and a side of Chilli sauce for dips. For an even more substantial meal, Noodles can also be included as part of the dish. One tip is to keep the flavours simple, particularly with the additional side dishes as the highlight of the meal has to be the Dumplings after all! Oh and if you are going to try this recipe, do read through the Notes part of the recipe below as I have included some tips, all based on my many ‘personal dumpling encounters’ 🙂
- 1 packet dumpling wraps (suitable for steaming)
- 3 pieces Chicken Breast (minced / finely chopped)
- 10medium prawns (minced / finely chopped
- 2 stalks Scallions (Spring Onions, finely chopped)
- Half Carrot (finely chopped)
- 1 teaspoon Sesame Oil
- 1 tablespoon light Soya Sauce
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon Corn Starch (mix with water, to be used for sealing)
- Prepare steamer.
- Mix all ingredients for filling together in a bowl.
- Mix well.
- Fill up dumpling wrappers as desired.
- Steam for 20minutes, checking to see if dumpling is cooked.
- Serve warm.
- All ingredients can be put through a food processor to save time. Otherwise, chop very finely so as to not tear the Dumpling skin.
- The Dumpling Wrapper comes in 2 shapes (round or square). Shape doesn't matter, depends on personal preference. However, it is important to get one that is suitable for steaming. This is normally indicated on the packaging.
- Bamboo Steamer or a standard steamer can be used. Bamboo steamer will have to be placed on a stand, in a pot with boiling water.
- When wrapping dumpling, place it on palm, place filling and tuck in the sides quickly from several angles to achieve that 'pleat look'. See photo below.
- An alternative way to fold dumplings (for closed dumplings) would be to place filling on a square piece of dumpling wrapper, fold it into a triangle and seal off sides. Bring opposite triangle edges together,sealing off with corn starch.