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Happy Chinese New Year!

In honor of the holiday, I decided to make pork and cabbage dumplings… from scratch.

Yep, I was most likely possessed when I decided to do this dish, because making dumplings from scratch means hand rolling every individual dumpling wrapper. And it wasn’t easy.wrapper

But wow, it’s so worth it.IMG_9208

To give you a little backstory, pork and cabbage dumplings (known as 餃子 jiaozi when boiled or 鍋貼 guotie when pan fried) represent wealth because they are shaped like an ingot—an antiquated form of Chinese currency. It is believed that the more dumplings you eat, the wealthier you’ll be.

I’ll be honest. I stuffed my face with these dumplings, which were absolutely fresh and MSG free.

The first bite is a surprise—an explosion of flavor: juicy minced pork, a hint of garlic flavor from the Chinese chives, the light crunch from the slightly neutral tones of the Napa cabbage, and contrasted by the intense but complementary flavors from the shiaoxing wine, sesame oil and soy sauce.

The first rule of dumplings is, it’s easier to make them when the filling is cold. It’s just easier to pleat the dumplings when the filling isn’t very watery. When it’s cold, the fat from the ground pork is hardened a bit so you can easily fold the dumpling wrapper.

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Here is a video that shows you how to wrap a dumpling.

The second rule of dumplings is, northern Chinese tradition says the more dumplings your family makes together, the more luck and prosperity will greet you in the new year. In my case, I made them alone, but a lot more hands really gets the job done faster. A rolling pin was definitely key.

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Want to try this at home? Here’s the recipe I used! I served these dumplings with Chinese chili oil and black vinegar. SO GOOD!

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