We're fast approaching Chinese New Year, which may not be a big deal for you, but is a very big deal here in Singapore--the biggest holiday bar none for Chinese families. People are buying new clothes, cleaning like mad, getting hair cuts, maybe buying new furniture, and definitely buying lots of red paper decorations all in preparation for the New Year.

In honor of the festivities, our friends Jiazi and Bingjun invited us and some others over for a dumpling party so we could learn to make Chinese dumplings. We made four flavors: pork with cabbage and radish; beef with sesame and okra; shrimp and fish; and veggie with fried egg. We made (and ate!) a lot, but I think Jiazi and Bingjun still had their own "dumpling party" after we left.

First we thawed, diced, and grated all of the fillings and mixed them together to let the flavors meld. Then it was time for the skin, which is the boys' job.

Bingjun made the dough by feel, which was impressive. Flour, water, a little more water, and that was it. Then the boys each took a ball and kneaded their hearts out for quite a while. The dumpling skin needs to be stretchy and strong (nice, long gluten chains) so it needs lots of loving. They also worked in food coloring. You color your dumpling skin so you know which flavors are which. Though, I have to say I've never seen dumplings quite as brilliantly colored as the ones we made.

Then it was time to make the little dough rounds and shape our dumplings.

Jiazi taught us a few different dumpling shapes... 


 Some were better than others.

We cooked the dumplings in rounds--pink/pork together, green/veggies together, white/seafood together, orange/beef together. Jiazi boiled them until they floated.

After the first batch came out, we ate pretty much constantly until we couldn't hold any more. I don't know if J&B were that impressed with our efforts--some definitely tasted more of skin than filling which means either your skin was too thick, or your dumpling didn't have enough filling in it--but I thought they were great. Jiazi did note that none burst open while cooking, which is good. I think she was a little surprised.

At the end of the day, Jiazi had a fun Chinese New Year quiz for us. Kyle did great and his quiz is up on our refrigerator now.
 I have determined not to let my husband grade my quizzes anymore. I think he was a little over zealous.