Hello, my little dumplings! Happy Lunar New Year and the Year of the Monkey! Take a look at how I celebrated with a dumpling party.
My mom consistently made dumplings in my childhood. They were packed for lunch, eaten as an after-school snack, and even eaten as a meal. Nostalgia aside, dumplings are very versatile and easy to make, and I’ve been craving them for months! Haha. Also, dumplings are eaten during Chinese New Year for good luck because they are shaped like ancient gold, symbolizing wealth. All of these reasons made a dumpling party timely and fun.
Most of my guests hadn’t made dumplings before so it was fun showing them the very easy process. My mom didn’t follow a recipe when making dumplings but the filling usually included pork and garlic chives. I used this Tasting Table recipe as a very loose guideline for our dumplings. I pre-made the filling about 10 minutes before guests arrived and together we stuffed and folded almost 40 dumplings!
All you need is a little dollop of filling in the middle of the dumpling wrapper, and a little water to seal the dumplings. Dumplings can be wrapped in a number of ways. As long as it is sealed so that the stuffing doesn’t spill out, you’re good. They can have a completely smooth edge, a pleated edge or a pleated edge with a re-shaping to make it look more like an ancient gold piece. You can see all three of these ways below.
We also enjoyed store-bought, pre-cooked dumplings, which can be found in the frozen aisle of an Asian supermarket or the international section of HEB. We devoured (and some guests took the rest to-go) about 90 dumplings!
The cooking process is fairly simple. Pan fry the dumplings with oil. When the bottom of the dumplings are browned, pour water in your pan to cover a fourth (height) of the dumplings. Cover and let them steam. They’ll be ready when all of the water is gone, but I always like to tear one open to double-check that the meat is cooked.
If you want, you can also cook them by boiling. Bring a pot of water to a boil and add your dumplings. When the water boils again, add a cup of cold water to the pot and wait for it to come back to a boil. Do this two more times and your dumplings should be ready to eat.
Dipped or topped with a mixture of soy sauce, chili oil and chives; dumplings are an easy, filling and tasty snack or meal.
I always enjoy trying foods from other cultures, so I made sure to gather some Asian snacks I loved as a child. Pocky of three flavors (chocolate, strawberry and matcha), baked shrimp-flavored chips, mandarin oranges, and coconut pastry rolls.
For dessert, we had mochi ice cream, a Japanese dessert. We tried vanilla, strawberry, mango and green tea flavors. If you’ve never had them, the outside is sticky rice dusted with cornstarch and inside is ice cream.
If you’re out and about and would like to try some other Asian dumplings, I recommend my favorites: xiao long bao (steamed soup dumplings), har gow (steamed shrimp dumplings found at dim sum), and wontons (pork and shrimp dumplings that usually come with noodles and soup). At the party we also talked about the dumpling equivalent in other cultures. If you’re curious, check out this Serious Eats article.
I hope you get your fill of dumplings and have a prosperous and lucky New Year! Comment below with your favorite kind of dumpling!
I’m on a mission to throw 12 celebrations in 2016. This is #2 of 12. See all of #Celebrations2016 here!
P.S. I threw a fun Lunar New Year potluck two years ago, and you can see it here.