Chinese New Year seafood dumplings

Kung Hei Fat Choi! It’s Chinese New Year and this year we celebrate the year of the Fire Rooster. “This year is special, full of expectation,” said Zhao Li, director of the China Culture Centre in Sydney. She said the rooster is proud and confident, hardworking and punctual. “Fire by its very nature is the element associated with brilliance, warmth, passion, spark,” she said. “So a brilliant and enthusiastic rooster, combined with the salient characteristics of fire, heralds an enterprising and fruitful year, a year of results, achievements. This year we can fulfil all of our dreams.”

“The stuffed dumpling, humble as it may seem, is a dish with a fascinating history going back many centuries and interwoven into the cuisines of a number of countries.”

The art of stuffed noodles dates back to the days of Marco Polo and his family, who were Venetian travellers that journeyed toward Constantinople. However a war blocked their return, so they travelled eastward and reached the eastern capital Kaifeng, Shangdu in C.1266. This was the summer capital residence of the great emperor of China, Kublai Khan, grandson of Ghengis Khan. The Emperor became interested in stories of the native land of the merchants; thus, he sent the Polos back to the Pope as his ambassadors with messages of peace and interest in converting areas of China to Christianity. Read more history

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Chinese New Year Facts

  • Clean your house from top to bottom and pay off all debts before New Year.
  • To bring good luck, place nine oranges in a bowl in your lounge room as oranges symbolize riches and are said to bring good financial luck for the coming year – and you can eat them afterwards!
  • Decorate your home to welcome in the New Year. Red is a popular colour as it scares away evil spirits and bad fortune.
  • Place mandarins in bowls throughout the house. Mandarins with their leaves still intact are the fruits of happiness for the New Year. Keep their numbers even though, as uneven numbers bring unhappiness.
  • Wear new clothes and ensure you are polite to others on the first day of the New Year – it sets the tone for the year to come.
  • Celebrate New Year with a family dinner. Traditional dishes include uncut noodles – a symbol of longevity – and fish and chicken, symbols of prosperity.
  • The main difference between the Chinese and Vietnamese lunar calendars is that the Vietnamese replace the Ox,
  • Rabbit and Sheep in the Chinese calendar with the Buffalo, Cat and Goat respectively.
  • Refrain from uttering words relating to misfortune, such as ‘death’, ‘broken’, ‘killing’, ‘ghost’ and ‘illness’ during.
  • New Year as this may bring bad luck for the year to come.
  • Make sure the barrel of rice is full at New Year to ensure prosperity in the year to come.
  • Give younger members of the family red lai-see (‘lucky money’) envelopes to pass on prosperity
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Seafood dumplings

100 g flat head, skinned and boned
100 g dice prawn meat
1 tablespoon fine dice spring onion
1 tablespoon fresh chopped coriander
1 tablespoon tamari
2 tablespoons toasted macadamia nuts, chopped
1 teaspoon fine dice ginger
½ teaspoon sesame oil
½ lemon zest fine chopped
1 small pack square Gluten Free wonton skins

Dipping sauce
2 tablespoons Chinese black vinegar
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon julienne ginger
1 teaspoon chilli oil (optional)

  • In food processor blitz the flat head until just blended. (Do not over work).
  • Place fish paste into mixing bowl and add all the ingredients, fold together gently.
  • Take a teaspoon of filling and place in the centre of a wonton skin.
  • To seal the dumpling dip your finger into a cup of cold water and run it around the edge.
  • Fold over filling and seal dumpling by pressing firmly between thumb and fore finger.
  • Take care not to leave any air pockets in the dumplings themselves.
  • At this stage you should have a rectangle.
  • Now fold and press the two distant points together to make what almost looks like tortellini.
  • For the dipping sauce whisk the water, sugar and vinegar together just enough to dissolve sugar. Add ginger.
  • Line a bamboo steamer with baking paper and set into a large wok.
  • Place enough water to come up to the side of the steamer but not enough to wet the dumplings.
  • Lay batches of 12 dumplings at a time into the steamer. Cover with a lid.
  • Steam for 5-7 minutes, check for doneness before serving.
  • Eat with chop sticks after dipping in the vinegar.

Food as Medicine Masterclass – April 30

Before nutrition became trendy, before kale became the superfood superstar, and before the green juice Instagram selfie was ever a ‘thing’, there was Sam Gowing, spreading the word on healthy cuisine and all that it encompasses. Join her on Sunday 30 April from 11am – 3pm for an intimate food as medicine masterclass in her hometown of Melbourne. This intimate food as medicine masterclass focuses on the healing properties of native Australian, Ayurvedic, TCM & Japanese culinary wisdom.

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