Xia Liu and her daughter Isabelle made two kinds of dumplings for the Chinese New Year. Photo: RCI/Marie-Claude Simard.

Celebrating the Chinese New Year with delicious dumplings

Share

Xia Liu, who just became a pemanent resident in Canada, remembers fondly the New Year’s  Eves of her childhood, in Tianjin, in northern China, when all the relatives were gathered to make and eat dumplings together.

Now, Xia Liu lives with her daughter in La Prairie, just south of Montreal, and together they make the traditional dumplings for the Chinese New Year which fell on February 5th this year.

A few days before, they welcomed Radio Canada International into their home and we made delicious dumplings together. A few friends joined us. We laughed and ate a lot. It was like an early celebration of the the New Year. What a feast!

Xia Liu showed us how to make dumplings of different colors and shapes. Photo: RCI/Marie-Claude Simard

Getting together

“In her days New Year’s celebrations were much simpler than now. People didn’t ask for much, it was all about the family being together and eating dumplings,” explains Isabella, translating her mother’s words in Mandarin into English.

“Even in less well-off families, everybody wears new clothes on New Year’s Eve”, she says.

“Kids are so happy! Everything is new and they can have good food as well.” – Isabelle Cai

Listen to Xia Liu and Isabelle telling us about the Chinese New Year’s festivities and dumplings

Colorful “shui jiao”

Dumplings, or “shui jiao” in Mandarin, are little half-moon shaped raviolis that can be filled with a wide variety of stuffings, either made with meat or vegetables, or both. They’re usually boiled.

The boiled dumplings are usually served with black rice vinegar in northern China. Photo; RCI/Marie-Claude Simard
Photo: Marie-Claude Simard

Liu – who likes to be called Louisa in English – learned how to make them from her parents when he was a child. Over the years, she developed her own variations of the traditional recipe. This week, for celebration the Year of the Pig, she made dumplings that were bright green, and others that were yellow, instead of the traditional white ones.

“She adds 100 % natural vegetable juices to the traditional dough to make them colourful, explains Isabelle. The green ones are made with spinach juice and the yellow ones are made with pumpkin juice.”

TWO DELICIOUS STUFFINGS
The green dumplings were stuffed with a mixture of ground beef and vegetables. The yellow ones with shrimps and pumpkin. Here are the recipes. Quantities are approximations, you’ll have to experiment!

 Photo: RCI/Marie-Claude Simard

Beef and carrots stuffing
Ingredients:
11/2 pound lean ground beef
1 big carrot
2 onions
2 tbsp chopped fresh ginger

Shrimps and pumpkin stuffing
Ingredients:
11/2 pound of small raw shrimps shelled
2 cups shredded fresh pumpkin flesh

PREPARATION:
In the preparation of either stuffing, you’ll need:
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tbsp sesame oil
Salt
1 tsp of 13-spices
Mix all the ingredients together. Since the meat or shrimps aren’t cook, you can’t use your sense of taste to adjust de quantities. Use your instinct and sense of smell!

A package of 13-spices.

How about the dough?

To save time, Louisa made the dough ahead of time, before we arrived. She says the basic recipe is simply a mixture of flour and water. In her recipe, she replaced the water with spinach juice, for the green dumplings, and pumpkin juice, for the yellow ones.

It is also possible to buy dumpling dough in most Chinese groceries. That would be a good option for beginners!

Photo: RCI/Marie-Claude Simard

How to shape the dumplings?

To shape the dumplings you’ll need a small rolling pin… and a lot of patience!

The most common shape is the half-moon shape. “It symbolizes an ancient piece of money. It will bring you wealth to eat those dumplings. You’re going to be rich.”

Liu also made round dumplings.

“The round shape in China is very good. It means the whole family is getting together,” says isabelle.

You want to learn how to shape the dumplings? Watch our video!

Boiling the dumplings

Finally, once the dumplings are shaped, gently drop them into a big pot of boiling water. Not more than twenty at a time, so they don’t stick together. Once they float on the surface of the water, they’re ready to eat. They are very good with black rice vinegar. Bon Appetit!

Mother and daughter reunited for New Year’s

Isabelle has been in Canada for 15 years. Her mom arrived in Canada in the middle of January and is going to live with her from now on. Mother and daughter celebrated the New Year together at a friend’s house this year. Photo: RCI/Marie-Claude Simard

More stories about people and food (in French)

Share
Categories: Society
Tags: ,

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

@*@ Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet netiquette guidelines.

Netiquette »

When you express your personal opinion in an online forum, you must be as courteous as if you were speaking with someone face-to-face. Insults and personal attacks will not be tolerated. To disagree with an opinion, an idea or an event is one thing, but to show disrespect for other people is quite another. Great minds don’t always think alike—and that’s precisely what makes online dialogue so interesting and valuable.

Netiquette is the set of rules of conduct governing how you should behave when communicating via the Internet. Before you post a message to a blog or forum, it’s important to read and understand these rules. Otherwise, you may be banned from posting.

  1. RCInet.ca’s online forums are not anonymous. Users must register, and give their full name and place of residence, which are displayed alongside each of their comments. RCInet.ca reserves the right not to publish comments if there is any doubt as to the identity of their author.
  2. Assuming the identity of another person with intent to mislead or cause harm is a serious infraction that may result in the offender being banned.
  3. RCInet.ca’s online forums are open to everyone, without regard to age, ethnic origin, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
  4. Comments that are defamatory, hateful, racist, xenophobic, sexist, or that disparage an ethnic origin, religious affiliation or age group will not be published.
  5. In online speak, writing in ALL CAPS is considered yelling, and may be interpreted as aggressive behaviour, which is unpleasant for the people reading. Any message containing one or more words in all caps (except for initialisms and acronyms) will be rejected, as will any message containing one or more words in bold, italic or underlined characters.
  6. Use of vulgar, obscene or objectionable language is prohibited. Forums are public places and your comments could offend some users. People who use inappropriate language will be banned.
  7. Mutual respect is essential among users. Insulting, threatening or harassing another user is prohibited. You can express your disagreement with an idea without attacking anyone.
  8. Exchanging arguments and opposing views is a key component of healthy debate, but it should not turn into a dialogue or private discussion between two users who address each other without regard for the other participants. Messages of this type will not be posted.
  9. Radio Canada International publishes contents in five languages. The language used in the forums has to be the same as the contents we publish. The usage of other languages, with the exception of some words, is forbidden. Messages that are off-topic will not be published.
  10. Making repetitive posts disrupts the flow of discussions and will not be tolerated.
  11. Adding images or any other type of file to comments is forbidden. Including hyperlinks to other websites is allowed, as long as they comply with netiquette. Radio Canada International  is in no way responsible for the content of such sites, however.
  12. Copying and pasting text written by someone else, even if you credit the author, is unacceptable if that text makes up the majority of your comment.
  13. Posting any type of advertising or call to action, in any form, to Radio Canada International  forums is prohibited.
  14. All comments and other types of content are moderated before publication. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to refuse any comment for publication.
  15. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to close a forum at any time, without notice.
  16. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to amend this code of conduct (netiquette) at any time, without notice.
  17. By participating in its online forums, you allow Radio Canada International to publish your comments on the web for an indefinite time. This also implies that these messages will be indexed by Internet search engines.
  18. Radio Canada International has no obligation to remove your messages from the web if one day you request it. We invite you to carefully consider your comments and the consequences of their posting.

*

One comment on “Celebrating the Chinese New Year with delicious dumplings
  1. Avatar Francis Blackburn says:

    Wow, very nice interview

    Francis A 😉