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Round the Moon on Homemade Dumplings

Round the Moon on
Homemade Dumplings

Date: September 2023
Author: Laura Dodwell-Groves

Even if you haven’t heard of it, you know what it is and the yumminess it creates.

Moon or lantern festival celebrates what the ancients considered the most important full moon of the year and the abundant harvest that hopefully came with it. And like harvest celebrations in the west (e.g. thanksgiving) food is the obvious choice to celebrate with.

The moon is round so eating foods that resemble it seem a natural progression. Round things also symbolise prosperity and harmony so it is doubly auspicious.

Glutinous rice balls called tangyuan are one of the most popular sweet foods, filled with red bean paste, sesame paste, fruit or even peanut butter. For a more savoury mouthful its dumpling time!

Dumplings are found in so many cultures and making them at home together as a family is as much a part of them as the consumption at the end. Well-seasoned pork mince and cabbage wrapped neatly in thin dough by your grandmother, no less perfect even though the arthritis in her fingers is more troublesome these days. Or wrapped less neatly by the eager but unpractised hands of your four-year-old, but with no less love or care.

If you are rushed you can buy ready-made dough, but is messy fun for the kids to make at home even if the end result is similar or less perfect.

Recipe for Homemade Dumplings

  1. For the dough – 3 cups all-purpose flour, pinch of salt, 1.25 cups of cold water. Put the flour in a bowl and slowly stir I the salt and the cold water, only adding what you need to make a smooth dough. Place on a flat surface and knead into a ball, then cover and rest for 30 mins.
  2. For the filling (make while the dough is resting) – mix together, stirring in one direction - 450g ground pork, 1 tablespoon soy, 1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine, 1 teaspoon salt, pinch of pepper.
  3. Then add, still stirring one way - 3 tablespoons sesame oil, half a spring onion (scallion), 1.5 cups of cabbage (pick your favouite one), 0.25 cup shredded bamboo shoots, 1 tablespoon of ginger, 1 clove minced garlic.
  4. Make the dumpling - divide the rested dough into about 60 pieces, roll into a circle about 10cm in diameter (flour to keep from sticking on the surface), put about a tablespoon of the filling in the centre of the wrapper. Wet the wrapper edges with water (use the end of your finger works well). Bring the edges of the wrapper together and seal (crimp if feeling fancy).

Boil or panfry as your preference. Or can keep in the fridge for a day if want to do in stages. They freeze well too.

So after you have been out with your lanterns, come home to a homemade dumpling feast with your loved ones.

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