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How We Celebrate: Chinese New Year

We've asked three foodies how they celebrate Chinese New Year. How will you be celebrating? Try your hand at crispy dumplings with a sweet and salty dipping sauce, or battered aubergine and pork laced with spring onion and ginger.

Try your hand at these traditional Chinese dishes from three foodies to celebrate Chinese New Year with something a little bit special.

Try Kwan Ying's king prawns with ginger and garlic - find the recipe here.

Jiaozi dumplings recipe from Sam Sin at Koi Kitchen

Makes 30-35 dumplings
Takes 1hr 10 mins

Ingredients:
250g plain flour, plus extra for dusting 
10 whole water chestnuts, finely diced 
2 spring onions, finely chopped 
500g pork mince 
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil (optional)
½ tsp white pepper 
15g fresh coriander, finely chopped 
1 tbsp oil, for frying 
For the dipping sauce: 
2 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp Lee Kum Kee seasoned rice vinegar (Chinkiag black rice vinegar), or Worcester sauce or balsamic vinegar
1 tsp sesame oil
1 chilli, finely chopped
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp grated ginger

Method:

  1. To make the dough, sift the flour into a large mixing bowl. Slowly stir in 130-150ml water, a little at a time, until you have a firm dough. Tip the dough onto a work surface and knead for 5 mins until smooth. Cover with a damp cloth or wrap in lightly oiled clingfilm and leave to rest for at least 15 mins.
  2. For the filling, mix the water chestnuts, spring onions and mince in a bowl. Stir in 1 tbsp soy sauce, sesame oil (if using), white pepper, and coriander until well combined.
  3. Divide the dough into 3 equal pieces and put 2 back under the cloth or clingfilm. Place the remaining piece on a lightly floured surface. Roll it into a 2.5cm-thick sausage, then cut this into pieces about 2cm long. Dust the pieces with flour, then squash each flat with the palm of your hand. Roll out to 10cm-wide circles and leave on a floured work surface. Stack the discs on top of each other while you continue to roll the rest of the mixture, keeping them very well-floured to prevent sticking.
  4. To shape the dumplings, hold one circle of dough in a lightly floured hand and put a heaped tsp of filling in the middle. Keeping one side flat, bring the other side of the dough to meet so you have a semi-circle shape. Make a pleated edge along the curved side by gently folding the 2 edges together, sealing well as you go. Place the finished dumpling on a floured tray and repeat with the other dumplings
  5. To cook the dumplings, follow the ‘fry-steam-fry’ method: coat a frying pan (with a tightly fitting lid) with oil. Place the dumplings in the pan and fry for 2-3 mins over a medium heat until the base is golden brown. Add about 5mm of boiling water to the pan, cover with the lid and steam the dumplings for 5 mins on a medium heat. Then uncover the pan to let the water cook off and crisp up the bottom of the dumplings.
  6. For the dumpling dipping sauce, whisk together all the ingredients in a jug or bowl. Serve in small bowls or ramekins with the dumplings. The dipping sauce will keep for 2-3 days in the fridge.

Tip: To make vegetarian dumplings, use firm tofu instead of the pork mince. 

If you cannot find water chestnuts, use ¼ head of white cabbage, finely chopped, instead.

Aubergine box (茄盒qie he) recipe from Charlene at Liu Xiaomian

Serves 6
Prep time: 25 mins
Cooking time: 30 mins

Ingredients:
140g plain flour 
1 large egg, separated 
500g pork mince 
2.5cm fresh root ginger, peeled and finely grated 
1 thick or 2 thin spring onions, finely chopped
2 aubergines
2 ltrs vegetable or sunflower oil  
For the dipping sauce: 
soy sauce
chilli oil

Method:

  1. To make the batter, sieve the flour into a large bowl with a generous pinch of salt and make a well in the middle. Whisk the egg white and 180ml water into the flour until smooth, then leave to one side for 20 mins to rest.
  2. In another bowl, mix together the pork mince, ginger, spring onion, egg yolk and a pinch of salt and pepper.
  3. Slice the aubergine into 5mm thick discs.
  4. Spoon 1-2 tbsp of the pork mince mixture on to one slice of aubergine and sandwich another slice on top. The pork layer should be roughly 1-2cm thick. Repeat until you’ve used up all the pork and aubergine, making roughly 18-20 filled sandwiches.
  5. Half fill a deep saucepan with the oil and heat it to 180°C. Dip each aubergine pork sandwich or “box” into the batter, making sure they’re completely coated, then carefully lower into the hot oil. You can fry 3-4 boxes at one time depending on the size of your pan.
  6. Fry for 2-3 mins on each side until golden brown. Make sure your oil stays around 180°C, if the heat does drop then you’ll need to cook your boxes for a minute or two more.
  7. Remove your boxes from the oil and keep warm on a plate lined with a couple of pieces of kitchen paper to soak up excess oil while you cook the rest.
  8. Serve with a dipping sauce of soy sauce or chilli oil.
This video was shot in January 2021 following COVID-19-compliant guidelines.

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