Friday, January 31, 2014

Chinese New Year : Making Dumplings!

All of the photos were taken by my mom, Echo.

Usually at the end of January or at the beginning of February, there is a holiday called Chinese New Year. Chinese people celebrate it, but anybody else can too. This year, 2014, it was on Friday, January 31. We always have dumplings for dinner. For breakfast and lunch, we eat what we usually eat. People hang up their red lanterns all around their houses.

There is also a Chinese zodiac. I am a rooster born in 2005. Here is the Chinese zodiac in order. It starts from rat:

This year, I helped my mom make dumplings. Here are some steps to make dumplings:

How to Make Dumplings

Tools that you will need:
1. rolling pin
2. mixing bowl (for the inside of the dumplings)
3. knife
4. spoon
5. boiling pot
6. something that you can take dumplings out of the hot pot
7. OPTIONAL: board

  • First, you have to mix up the fillings inside the dumpling. If you eat meat, you can put ground pork and anything else you like. We used ground pork and chopped up chives up into little pieces. If you are vegetarian, you can mix tofu and any kind of vegetable.

Here is the one that we mixed. We eat meat, so there is ground pork in there, and the meat is raw.

  • Second, you need the dough. You have to dump flour and water in the bread machine to make the dough. When the dough is ready, we are ready to make them into the skins of the dumplings. Optional: Take out a board (there is one to the right on the picture above). If you don't have a board, or your counter is really flat, you can use that. 
Now all we have to do is to make the dough into a big ball. Then you have to roll it on one side to make it into a long piece of dough. After you do that, you have to slice them up with a knife. To make the dough even, you have to roll them a little with your hands so they can be rounder. 

  • Next, you have to use the middle of your hand where it is curving in to press the sliced up dough flat. We use the middle of our hands because we like the center to be thicker and the outsides to be thinner. 

  • Third, we have to use a rolling pin to roll the outsides of the dough. Even though the inside has to be thicker, don't make them too thick. Here I am rolling the dough:

  • After the rolling, we are ready to start putting the fillings into the dough. Take a spoon and scoop a little of the fillings out onto the middle of the dough. Fold them together and pinch the sides of the unfinished dumpling to not let the food inside fall out. 

  • Now you are ready to boil the dumpling. Firstly, get the pot filled with water more than the half way. Second, lightly drop the dumplings in one by one. After, you should see a pot full of dumplings.

  • We are ready for the next to last step. When the dumplings are ready, you can turn off the stove and with something that won't burn your hand, take a material that you can use to take the dumplings out of the boiling hot pot. I suggest using chopsticks if you are good at them and you are pretty sure that you won't drop them back into the water. 

  • Finally, we are ready to eat them. They may be hot right after the cooking, but after a while of cooling down, the dumplings taste delicious! 

  • OPTION: My family likes to eat them with some thing called 腊八蒜 in Chinese. There is no translation for it in English, but you basically just take some garlic, peel it, put them in a jar, pour vinegar in the jar, and let the garlic soak in there for two to three weeks. Here is a picture of some that we made:

What traditions do you have?

What do you eat in that tradition?


  1. Dear Heather,

    Gung Hay Fat Choy! I read that that means: Best wishes and Congratulations. Have a prosperous and good year! Is that true?

    What a fantastic post you created about making dumplings! I could almost smell them cooking because of your excellent description! Dumplings are quite tasty. I've had them at restaurants, but I've never made them.

    I noticed that you placed the dumplings in an array for one of the photos. It looks like six rows of five, or 6x5 = 30. Were there more than thirty?

    My family has a lot of traditions, but one of my favorites was baking Spritz cookies at Christmas. Spritz, or Swedish butter cookies, are delicious and can be pressed into fun shapes. We would make the dough and put it in a cookie press. A cookie press is a type of baking tool. The dough is pressed through a dye that makes a shape. My mom would make circular wreaths. Then we would die a small amount of dough red and a small amount green. The red and green would make a little piece of holly at the top of the wreath. Sometimes the wreaths would break when we removed them from the cookie sheet. Unfortunately, they did not look that pretty, so I would have to eat those! ;-)

    Do you make any Chinese New Year treats?

    Your proud teacher,
    Mrs. Y♥llis

  2. Dear Heather,

    These look very good! My daughter is in high school and these dumplings are one of her favorite things to eat. She often orders extra in a Chinese restaurant so she can take them to school the next day. I'm sure she wishes I made them at home.

    My family has the very same spritz cookie tradition that your teacher has! I make mine look like Christmas trees and they are mint-flavored. My kids say it isn't Christmas until I have made the green cookies!

    We also eat Christmas pudding which is a food from England (my husband is English and we used to live there). Christmas pudding is not a pudding at all but a heavy, sticky-ish cake that has a lot of fruit and spices. You make it way ahead of Christmas and then it steams over hot water for several hours on Christmas day. The smell of Christmas pudding says it's the holidays for me.

    Thank you for sharing this - I loved the pictures.

    School board member,
    Angela C.

    1. Dear Angela,

      I also know that you like to cook Indian foods from the post Indian Spices! Do you like to cook?

      I think that your tradition is very entertaining. I love baking cookies with my mom because spreading the sweet frosting is really fun. Sometimes, I like to just take a bunch of frosting, and splat it on one cookie. :-) Is the mint flavor frosting, or does it come with the batter?


  3. Dayna Room1 Auroa school Taranaki New Zealand
    mmm... yum well done they look good. I have a question for you what transport do you use to go to school in?

    1. Dear Dayna,

      Thank you for leaving a comment!

      You asked what type of transportation I go to school in. Believe it or not, I WALK! That is because it only takes a few minutes to get there, and I can also see my school from my backyard. What transportation do you go in?


  4. Those dumplings look delicious! I love to eat dumplings and and I think it is great that you are making food from places all around the world!

    Isabella O.
    Singapore American School

    1. Dear Isabella,

      I have never been to Singapore. I have seen pictures of part of Singapore, but I would really love to visit it in person one day.

      Since I don't know anything about Singapore, what foods do they eat there? What is your favorite food?


  5. Heather and Keira

    Thank you both for your comment. We only started blogging as a class this year, although our teacher has had a class page since 2008. He was lucky enough to meet Mrs Yollis online and see her class page in 2009 and he always loves to visit her page and see the work of her students. Thank you for the wonderful work Heather that allows us to use it as an example from the other side of the world.

    I have visited your page already and look forward to seeing your posts. I do have some suggestions for your blog. Your class has some wonderful bloggers already and I would look at their work and learn from them. Our students are using Heathers page as an example and using the way its set out to inspire them as well as blogs from other students. Have a look at what others are doing and use them as inspiration. Secondly you are so lucky to have Mrs Yollis who is probably one of the best teachers in the whole world! Talk to her and ask her advice. You have such wonderful comments that will allow you to have great feedback. Please leave us a comment when you start posting and I will come back with our classroom.

    Mr Webb and Room One, Auroa Primary School, Taranaki, New Zealand

  6. Dear Heather,

    Happy belated New Year! The dumplings look delicious and brought back great memories of my childhood. I am from a Russian culture, and we have something very similiar called Varenyky. I remember helping my mom make them for special occasions. She would fill them up with meat, potatoes, cheese or cooked cherries. I used to try really hard to pinch them tight enough so the filling didn't come out when it was boiled.

    Did you have a big celebration on New Year?

    I look forward to reading your next post,

  7. Hi Heather,
    My name is Rajesh and I am from a Indian culture. In my culture, we celebrate a thing called Diwali. During this celebration we eat many foods such as Somosas, which is a snack in the shape of a triangle and is filled with potatoes and peas.
    All Things Quebec