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Year of the Snake: GTA Parent Celebrates Chinese New Year

The Chinese Lunar New Year (Sunday, February 10 & 11th, 2013) is looming upon us and neighborhoods across the GTA are preparing to ring in the Year of the Snake. Awareness outside of the Chinese community of this much anticipated annual cultural event has grown in recent years and people from all walks of life are encouraged to get into the spirit and embrace the opportunities that a brand new year promises.

Year of the Snake

This year celebrates the snake,  a symbol of steady progress and attention to detail. Focus and discipline are keys to success this year. The Snake is the sixth sign of the Chinese Zodiac, which consists of 12 Animal Signs. It is the enigmatic, intuitive, introspective, refined and collected of the Animals Signs. Ancient Chinese wisdom says a Snake in the house is a good omen because it means that your family will not starve.
Perhaps our most favourite of Lunar New Year traditions is Jiao Zi- Dumplings!  These little packets of goodness are tops with all members of the family and really kick off the year in  fresh, yet comforting manner.  Check out my best recipe for dumplings, these can be served with a soy / vinegar sauce and should be poached, steamed or fried as 'pot-stickers'.

Gōng Xi Fā Cái!

PORK DUMPLINGS

Ingredients

Wraps
450g/1lb/4 cups plain (all purpose) flour
about 450ml/ 2 cups water
or use ready made dumpling skins

Filling
450g / 1lb Chinese leaves or white cabbage
450g / 1lb minced ground pork
1 tbsp finely-chopped spring spring onions (scallions)
1 tsp finely-chopped fresh ginger
2 tsp salt
1 tsp light brown sugar
2 tbsp your favourite soy sauce
1 tbsp Chinese ice wine or dry sherry
2 tsp sesame oil

Dipping Sauce
2 tbsp red chilli oil
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tsp finely-chopped garlic
1 tbsp finely-chopped spring onions (scallions)
- combine all ingredients into a small bowl, serve with finished dumplings

Steps
  1. Sift flour into a bowl, mix with water, mix into firm dough. Knead until smooth and soft, cover with a damp cloth and set aside for 25-30 mins.
  2. For the filling, blanch the cabbage leaves until soft. Drain and finely chop. mix the cabbage with remaining ingredients.
  3. Lightly dust a work surface with the flour knead and roll the dough into a long 'sausage' about 2.5 cm / 1inch in diameter.  cut the sausage into about 80-90 small pieces and flatten each one with the palm of your hand.
  4. Using the rolling pin, roll out each piece into a thin pancake about 6cm/2.5 inch in diameter.
  5. Place about 1.5 tbsp of the filling in the centre of each pancake and fold into a half moon shaped pouch.
  6. Pinch the edges firmly so that the dumpling is tightly sealed.

Cooking

Shallow Frying: heat 3 tbsp of oil in a work or fry pan, place the dumplings in rows in the oil and fry over medium heat for several minutes.
Steaming: place dumplings on a bed of lettuce leaves on the rack of a steamer and steam for 10-2 minutes on high heat.
Poaching: Cook the dumplings in salted boiling water for 2 minutes , remove from heat and leave the dumplings in the water for about 15 mins.

Enjoy.

Looking for some fun activities to celebrate the Chinese New Year? Check out The Legend of China: Chinese New Year Carnival playing at the Toronto Centre for Performing Arts.


About Bob:
Bob Eats is a father of two and well rounded food enthusiast who is progressing through culinary training and pursuing his love of all things food. Bob has traveled near and far around our planet to discover tastes and techniques that enhance the overall food experience. Favourites from the Far East, Pacific Rim, Indian sub-continent, Classical European and The Americas all come alive in and around Bob's hometown of Toronto.

Bob likes to share the results of the cultural cuisine collisions that occur in restaurants, homes, shops and cantinas of our communities.

Connect with Bob at @bobeeats on Twitter.

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