Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas recipes-Easy Dumplings

Do you know what today is? In Chinese calendar, it's called Dong Zhi (冬至 in Chinese, one of the 24 Solar Terms for weather),meaning today is the day that has the longest night and shortest day time in this year! In Northern China, people normally eat dumplings or Wonton!!

Here's the story from Wikipedia: In northern China, people typically eat dumplings on Dongzhi. It is said to have originated from Zhang Zhongjing in the Han Dynasty. On one cold winter day, he saw the poor suffering from chilblains on their ears. Feeling sympathetic, he ordered his apprentices to make dumplings with lamb and other ingredients, and distribute them among the poor to keep them warm, to keep their ears from getting chilblains. Since the dumplings were shaped like ears, Zhang named the dish "qùhán jiāoěr tāng" (祛寒嬌耳湯) or dumpling soup that expels the cold. From that time on, it has been a tradition to eat dumplings on the day of Dongzhi.

There's another version of story actually-In Han Dynasty, minorities in North always invaded the borders of China and they killed many Chinese. The two brutal minority leaders were Won and Ton. Local Chinese hated them so bad that they ate "Won Ton" so that they could live in a peaceful time. It happens that day was Dong Zhi.

I called my parents in China last night. My mom said you should eat dumplings and I just did it! I did not have time to prepare my dinner until mid night last night. Because I was too tired to make it perfect, I call it lazy easy dumplings (big, easy and quick);)). It takes about 30 minutes to get everything done and ready to serve.

Tea Pairing-Pu Erh or Black Tea

Gingerbread Men made with fresh ginger
Whole Wheat Banana Olive Oil Cake
Peanut Butter Rice Crispy Treats
Mango Drumsticks with Red Wine

Ingredients: (makes about 8 dumplings)
3 chicken boneless thighs (roughly 3/4 cup ground chicken)
2 oz red wine
1/2 cup green onion
1 tsp freshly grated ginger
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp sesame oil
1 egg white plus 1 egg white in a separate bowl
1/8 tsp all spices
8 Wonton wrap or Egg roll wrap

1.  Marinate the chicken thighs in red wine for about 10 minutes. Once done, take the chicken thighs out and you can use the rest of red wine to make other dishes.
2. Cut the green onion in very small pieces, like 1/4 x1/4 inches. You can use food processor or like me, just use knife to cut them. I do not normally use food processor unless big volume because I'm too lazy to clean it afterwards;)))
3. Remove the skin of chicken thighs and make ground chicken in a food processor. Or use knife to do it, like I did;))

4. Mix ground chicken, salt, all spices, onion, ginger, sesame oil, egg white all togher until evenly.
5. Place one egg roll wrap on a floured surface. Brush egg white on the four sides of the wrap. Put roughly 3 tbsp of the mixture then roll the wrap in about 1 or 1-1/2 inches wide roll. Seal the edge and lightly press two sides-right & left

4. Spray some olive oil in a fry pan and heat over medium to low. Cook for about 10-12 minutes or fully cooked. All dumplings become golden brown on both sides. 

Dipping sauce ingredients:
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp Red pepper oil (optional, super hot hot hot!!)

Instruction-mix all ingredients together!! It was sooo good that I finished them all!!! This is a great appetizer for Christmas!

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