Happy Chinese New Year! Also known as the Spring Festival or the Lunar New Year, for me this holiday means that it’s time for the best from-scratch dumplings I’ll be eating all year.

No one can dispute the excitement of the annual Chinese New Year’s parade: firecrackers, lion dances, and marching bands, oh my! However, for many, home is where the real magic happens. As with all holidays, not all traditions are celebrated the same way in each household, but some commonly celebrated rituals include a main intention of spending time together as a family; fireworks; red pocket envelopes with monetary gifts that are given by adults to children; elaborate, often red decorations including lanterns, paper cutting art, and door gods; and of course, a grand New Year’s Eve feast.

Unsurprisingly, traditional Chinese New Year’s Eve meal staples vary across locations, as there are many different locational cuisines celebrating this same holiday. In Northern China, which is where my family immigrated to Canada from, dumplings are the star of the show. Since I was young, I’ve been helping my grandmother mix together the filling, roll out the dough, and stuff little morsels into soft, doughy wrappers, and I still LOVE doing it. If you’ve never tried making them yourself, you’ll soon realize that the care and love that goes into dumpling making with and for your family and friends will elevate your dumpling appreciation.


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Dumplings from scratch can be a laborious process, but it’s seriously easy as long as you follow the instructions. Not only can you taste the difference, but it’s the perfect way to get your family or friends involved in the kitchen. And when you see all of your little dumplings arranged on the plate ready for serving, you won’t be able to help an earnest smile from creeping on; it’s a proud moment. My biggest word of caution is to make sure that you keep your unused dough covered with a wet cloth while you are not using it, because once it dries out, it can be really hard to work with which will be frustrating. Beyond that, have fun making them, and enjoy!


Shrimp and Shiitake Mushroom Dumplings


For the wrappers: Makes about 33 dumplings

  • 2 cups all purpose flour (about 10.5 ounces/300 grams), more for dusting
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup hot water

For the filling:

  • ½ lb. uncooked shrimp, peeled and chopped
  • ¼ cup water chestnuts, finely diced
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 oz. shiitake mushroom, stems removed, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • ½ tsp chili garlic paste
  • Approximately 30 round dumplings wrappers
  • Napa cabbage leaves
  • Cornstarch

For the sauce:

  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • ½ tsp chili garlic paste


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