If you find pork dumplings from your favorite take-out spot irresistible, just wait until you taste this homemade version! Pork dumplings, or jiaozi, are the quintessential dish of Lunar New Year celebrations and these have everything you want in a dumpling: plump and nicely chewy, filled with tender pork, flavored with fresh ginger, green onion, and sesame oil. Lunar New Year, Chinese Chunjie, Korean Seollal, Tibetan Losar, and Spring Festival all describe the celebration that begins with the first new moon of the lunar calendar and ends on the first full moon, 15 days later. This year, many will hold celebrations on Feb 1. The Lunar New Year festival is thousands of years old, and today nearly 25% of the world’s population participate in this celebration. Because of their resemblance to gold ingots, making and eating dumplings during Lunar New Year celebrations is a way to express wishes of prosperity and fortune in the coming year. Making dumplings is also a group effort, so Lunar New Year celebrations are good times to get the whole family involved in making — and eating! — several batches. Whether you’re celebrating the Lunar New Year or stocking your freezer for a busy month ahead, these dumplings should definitely be on your list. You’ll find many of the ingredients in our Lunar New Year-themed weekly sale from January 27th – February 2nd, so it’s a perfect time to give them a try!
Begin by heating the sesame oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground pork and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned. Add the bok choy, scallions, and ginger and cook until fragrant, an additional minute or two.
To assemble the dumplings: In a medium bowl, combine the pork, bok choy, ginger, and scallion mixture with the cilantro, soy sauce, and eggs. Work the mixture with your hands until fully combined. Set a small bowl of water, the bowl of filling, dumpling wrappers, and a parchment-lined baking sheet on your work surface. Place 1 scant tablespoon of filling on each dumpling wrapper. Dampen the edge of the wrapper with water by dipping your finger in the bowl of water and running it around the edge of the dumpling. Fold the dumpling in half and press it closed, then place it on the parchment. Repeat with all the wrappers and remaining filling. Note: If you’re feeling ambitious, you can also play around with other pleats or shapes for the dumplings.
To cook the dumplings: These dumplings may be steamed, boiled, pan-seared in sesame oil in a hot skillet, or frozen for later use. Cook for 3 to 6 minutes if fresh, or 6 to 8 minutes if frozen. Steamed or pan-seared dumplings may be served with a simple dipping sauce made by combining 1 tsp of sesame oil with 1/2 C soy sauce, 1/2 C rice vinegar and a dash of hot chili oil. Boiled dumplings are delicious in a broth of your choice with stir-fried bok choy and/or mushrooms and garnished with fresh scallions.