Did you know that Chinese people eat dumplings on Chinese New Year because they look like gold ingots and therefore symbolize wealth and good fortune? Traditionally on Chinese New Year’s Eve, everyone makes lots of dumplings—enough for the next several days. The abundance symbolizes that everyone will have more than enough wealth in the coming year.
Here is my recipe for traditional pork and cabbage dumplings. Fun fact: Napa cabbage is rich in vitamins C and K. And according to Chinese medicine, it can cool down and detoxify the body, fight infections, and relieve a dry mouth.
Dumplings With Pork and Chinese Cabbage
For the Cabbage
- 1 tablespoon of neutral oil
- 2 leaves of Chinese cabbage, minced
For the Pork
- 8 ounces minced pork
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1/4 thumb ginger, minced
- 1 stalk scallion, minced
- 1/4 cup small dried shrimp
- 4 tablespoons light soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon shaoxing wine
- Pinch of salt
- Pinch of Chinese pepper powder
- Pinch of sugar
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons neutral oil
- 24 dumpling wrappers
First mix 1 tablespoon of neutral oil with the minced cabbage (the oil will seal the juices of the cabbage, which will make the dumpling wrapping process a lot easier later).
In a big bowl, mix the minced pork and water together (this is my mom’s secret to making the most delicious and juicy dumplings ever), then add the remaining ingredients except for the oils. Mix well. Now add the sesame oil and remaining neutral oil and mix again. Lastly add the minced cabbage mixture.
To form each dumpling, take a wrapper and dampen the edge with water. Scoop 1/2 tablespoon of filling into the middle, then fold wrapper in half encasing the filling. Pinch both sides of wrapper, then pinch and fold to close the top, making 6 pleats. Form all your dumplings before moving on to the next step.
Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil, then add a pinch of salt and a drizzle of oil (the salt is going to make the dumpling broth nice and clear later, and the oil will prevent the dumplings from sticking together). Then gently add the dumplings and stir slowly with the back of a ladle. Cover the pot.
(There’s a saying in Chinese, “蓋蓋子煮皮，開蓋子煮餡.” It means that when you cover the pot, you cook the dumpling wrapper, and later when you take off the lid, you cook the filling inside.)
Once the water returns to a boil, add 1/4 cup of cold water. Repeat this step three more times. Scoop out the dumplings and enjoy!
CiCi Li is the host of “CiCi’s Food Paradise” on NTD Television. Join her and discover quick and healthy recipes at CiCiLi.tv