Dumplings. You must have dumplings for the Chinese New Year.
You can skip everything else, but have a huge platter of dumplings, some dipping sauce, and throw out some thick red envelopes and people will go, “Ah! What a great Chinese New Year dinner!”
Just kidding. Sort of.
Everyone coming together and making dumplings together really is one of the best parts of the Chinese New Year. Even better if you make your own dough! The conversation around that table has so much warmth. Don’t put in too much soy sauce. No, more than that. No, you’re putting in too much vinegar! Put in another egg. Keep mixing the filling.
I love that, the chopsticks mixing the filling. What is it that I love so much about that? The sound, the smell, everything about it. And probably the ginger.
This year, when I was planning my Chinese New Year dinner, I went to my favorite Chinese food blog: China Sichuan Food. I’ve been reading them for years now. They really know their stuff. They are also very precise, which was strange to me at first because so much of Chinese cuisine is so imprecise, not measured. It’s all purely based on the experience of cooking a lot on your own and with others, and also very seasonal and based on regional preferences. It’s based on an abundance of doing. You’re just always cooking.
But it’s nice to have a very knowledge- and experience-filled web site like China Sichuan Food that is a solid place to start learning a dish and go from there.
I used their dumplings recipe for the Chinese New Year. I bought two pounds of ground pork and the dumplings turned out a bit dry, so four eggs would have been good, and probably more salt and soy sauce.
Here are the dumplings and wontons I made, thankfully with the help of a friend who had a lot more experience with this than me. I still have leftovers in the freezer. Ahh, love the Chinese New Year.