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Easy recipe for Chinese New Year: Dumplings

Dish for year of the ox symbolizes wealth, prosperity

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Goodbye, rat, hello, ox.

Chinese New Year begins Feb. 12 and it’s the year of the ox.

Despite celebrations being canceled, the 15-day celebration lasts until Feb. 26.

Chinese New Year is also known as the spring festival and the Lunar New Year.

The Chinese zodiac is designated by animals.

Are you an ox? You are if you were born in these previous ox years: 1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997 and 2009.

Ox in Chinese culture, according to chinesenewyear.net, were seen as hardworking and honest.

Lucky foods are associated with Chinese New Year including dumplings, fish, spring rolls and longevity noodles.

Dumplings are called “jiaozi,” a term associated with prosperity, money or wealth. It’s believed that the more dumplings you eat during new year celebrations, the more money you can make in the new year.

Making dumplings are easier than you think. You make a simple filling and wrap it in a thin round of dough and seal the edges. If you don’t fear dough and are a make-it-from-scratch kind of person you can make your own dumpling dough and roll out your own wrappers.

But for ease, you can take a short cut and use round won ton wrappers. Look for them at Asian specialty markets or in the produce section of some major grocery stores.

Try this easy recipe from our archives to celebrate good fortune in the new year.

Pork and Shrimp Dumplings

Makes: 36. Preparation time: 40 minutes. Total time: 1 hour, 40 minutes. Adapted from Fine Cooking magazine, February/March 2010 issue.

Small, round won ton wrappers such as Nasoya brand (or make your own dumpling dough)

FILLING:

2 cups finely chopped Napa cabbage

Kosher salt

12 ounces ground pork

1/2 pound peeled, deveined shrimp, coarsely chopped (optional)

3 medium green onions, thinly sliced

3 large cloves garlic, peeled, minced

2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine or dry sherry

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

1 to 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce

2 teaspoons toasted Asian sesame oil

1/2 teaspoon sugar

Freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more as needed

Soy sauce for dipping

In a medium bowl, toss the cabbage with 2 teaspoons salt and set aside for 30 minutes to shed moisture. Wring out in a clean kitchen towel to extract as much liquid as possible.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the pork, shrimp, green onions, garlic, rice wine, ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add the cabbage and stir until well mixed. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.

Spoon a heaping teaspoon or so of the filling onto a dough circle, fold it in half and pleat or seal edges.

Make your first pinch at the center of the curved edge and then pleat toward the center on both sides to create a rounded belly. This wider shape allows the dumplings to sit upright in the pan and form a flat surface for browning. Repeat with the remaining wrappers and filling. As you work, arrange the filled dumplings in a single layer without touching (so they don’t stick together) on large plates.

In a large skillet, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Working quickly and in batches if necessary (adding more oil for the second batch if needed), arrange the dumplings belly side down in concentric circles starting from the outer edge. Cook until golden brown on the bottom, 1 to 2 minutes. Pour in about 1/2 cup water or enough to come about a third of the way up the sides of the dumplings. Bring to a boil, cover and cook until all of the water has been absorbed, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the lid, reduce the heat to medium, and continue cooking just until the dumplings are dry and crisp on the bottom, 1 to 2 minutes.

Loosen the dumplings from the pan with a spatula. Invert the pan over a plate to flip the dumplings, browned side up, onto the plate (or transfer with a spatula). Serve immediately with your choice of dipping sauce.

60 calories (45% from fat), 3 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 5 g carbohydrates, 3 g protein, 85 mg sodium, 15 mg cholesterol, 0 g fiber.

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