Welcoming the Year of the Dog, Chinese New Year celebrations begin this weekend (with official London celebrations taking place on Sunday 18th February). Now celebrated by a fifth of the world’s population, Chinese New Year is a significantly important time for Chinese people, with food playing a vital role. Cooking and eating together as a family is a huge part of the celebration for Chinese and East Asian people, enjoying unique celebratory dishes such as whole fish, luxurious lobster, ‘longevity noodles’ and ‘prosperity dumplings’.
To celebrate Chinese New Year, Cheong Wong, head chef at Rasa Sayang in London’s Chinatown, has shared a simple chicken dumplings recipe. These parcels are stuffed with chopped chicken thighs and various other ingredients readily available in the UK, served with a dipping sauce of Chinese black vinegar and ginger. The Chinese also believe that a positive correlation between dumplings eaten during New Year celebrations and money earned in the New Year exists; and who are we to argue? This recipe yields approximately 30 chicken dumplings.
Makes 30 dumplings
For the dumplings
Chicken thighs, 4 (approximately 600g), finely chopped or minced
Water chestnuts, 2-3, finely chopped
Spring onions, 3 stalks, finely chopped
Light soy sauce, 3 Tbsp
Dark soy sauce, 1tsp
Sesame oil, 2tsp
Five spice, ¼ tsp
White pepper, ¼ tsp
Shao xing wine, 1 Tbsp, optional (available from Chinese supermarkets)
Corn starch, 1 Tbsp
Wonton skins, pack of 30 (available from Chinese supermarkets)
Salt, to taste
Spring onion, to serve
For the sauce
Chinese black vinegar, 10 Tbsp
Ginger, a nub, very thinly sliced
Mix the chopped chicken, water chestnuts and spring onions. Add the light and dark soy sauce and 1 tsp salt, as well as the sesame oil, five spice, white pepper, shao xing wine and corn starch.
Put the mixture to one side and leave to marinate for 1-2 hours.
Place a teaspoon of the filling in the middle of each of the wonton skins, then brush warm water around the edge of the skin and fold over the top of the filling. It’s very important there’s no air inside. Press the edges together and crimp, much like a Cornish pasty.
When they are all ready, bring a pan of water to the boil and gently place them in for 7-8 minutes. They’re ready when they float to the surface. Use a strainer to remove.
To make a traditional dipping sauce, mix the Chinese black vinegar with some thinly cut ginger.
Garnish with chopped spring onion.
Further information on Rasa Sayana and Chinese New Year in London can be found at chinatown.co.uk.
Photograph by: Rasa Sayang Chinatown