Oops, I forgot to wish everyone Gung Hai Fat Choi yesterday, which is a close written approximation to the Chinese greeting wishing you Happy New Year, the year of the Rabbit. It started yesterday and goes on for about a week. Dumplings are something of a specialty at this time of the year, so on Tuesday we are going to lunch, with friends, at a local Mandarin where we can enjoy some. One thing it is traditional to do at this time of the year, is to put some money in a red envelope, as shown here, and give it as a gift. In fact my sifu (instructor) at T’ai Chi preferred to be paid in such envelopes as that too is traditional. I once put gold dollar coins (US) in envelopes when we went out for a birthday dinner for Matt in the States. I still have some of those dollars, however, the gold is quite dull these days.
Today is Matt’s birthday by the way, we are not doing anything today, but have friends coming to dinner tomorrow.
Last night I went to see The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (Chronicles of Narnia) with a friend. I am not sure which I enjoyed more, the 3D or the movie itself. I haven’t seen 3D since I was a young woman when you had to wear cardboard glasses with flimsy plastic lenses, one green, one red. It certainly is different now. Makes me wish I had seen Avatar in 3D. Yes, I enjoyed the movie too, as usual very well done. Not sure how much it stuck to the story, will have to have a re-read, couple of things I didn’t remember, but then you have to create visual excitement too. Certainly at the end I was gripping my seat, literally. If you like that type of movie then I can highly recommend it. I have loved all the Narnia movies so far.
When I got home, my friend had lent me What a Girl Wants, it wasn’t very late so we watched it. Colin Firth again. So I think I have it firmly in my mind now as to just who he is. I enjoyed the movie and much to my surprise Matt did too as he watched the whole film with me. It seems to me that several of the parts Colin Firth plays are of endearing, slightly bumbling men. Certainly this one and the father in Nanny McFee. Talking of Colin Firth, I was chatting to some people waiting to get inside the theatre, they had already seen The King’s Speech three times and were going to see it again. I might watch it again one of these days, but four times in a matter of weeks, sorry, no. I never understand these people who rent a movie over the weekend and watch it several times. Once is enough for me although I might watch something again several months/years later.
Of course, I had to give you a recipe for Chinese Dumplings today, this recipe didn’t come with a picture, but there are many pictures of dumplings with all kinds of shapes. This recipe gives you the dough, but you can also use wonton wrappers for convenience. Wan Shi Ru Yi (May all things go your way)
Jiaozi - Chinese Dumplings
Chinese dumplings (Jiaozi) are very popular during the Chinese New Year season
3 cups all-purpose flour
up to 1 1/4 cups cold water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup ground pork or beef
1 TB soy sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1 TB Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper, or to taste
3 TB sesame oil
1/2 green onion, finely minced
1 1/2 cups finely shredded Napa cabbage
4 tablespoons shredded bamboo shoots
2 slices fresh ginger, finely minced
1 clove garlic, peeled and finely minced
Stir the salt into the flour. Slowly stir in the cold water, adding as much as is necessary to form a smooth dough. Don't add more water than is ncessary. Knead the dough into a smooth ball. Cover the dough and let it rest for at least 30 minutes. While the dough is resting, prepare the filling ingredients. Add the soy sauce, salt, rice wine and white pepper to the meat, stirring in only one direction. Add the remaining ingredients, stirring in the same direction, and mix well. To make the dumpling dough: knead the dough until it forms a smooth ball. Divide the dough into 60 pieces. Roll each piece out into a circle about 3-inches in diameter. Place a small portion (about 1 level tablespoon) of the filling into the middle of each wrapper. Wet the edges of the dumpling with water. Fold the dough over the filling into a half moon shape and pinch the edges to seal. Continue with the remainder of the dumplings. To cook, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add half the dumplings, giving them a gentle stir so they don't stick together. Bring the water to a boil, and add 1/2 cup of cold water. Cover and repeat. When the dumplings come to a boil for a third time, they are ready. Drain and remove. If desired, they can be pan-fried at this point.
Have a great day