Chinese Style New Year’s Eve

For the last three years we’ve just stayed in for New Years and I’ve made dumplings from scratch. Now it’s a tradition! We have our own little party and reminisce about the year and things we want to accomplish in the upcoming year. Last year I made dumplings and they were so awful I ended up throwing them away and luckily I had a bag of frozen dumplings in the freezer I made. This year I wanted to make a comeback so I looked for other recipes and combined a few of them and used them as a base to make my own simplified version. They ended up being great, whew! Also I made some delicious Crispy Tofu Lettuce Wraps. For appetizers I made edamame and vegetable spring rolls, as in I heated frozen ones up from Trader Joe’s. Everything was super tasty and I love having an annual Chinese new year theme! It’s my favorite kind of food, so it only makes sense to celebrate the new year with some of the best!

Simple Vegetable Dumplings

Last year my dumplings were super cabbagey tasting and watery. This year I made sure to 1. not precook the cabbage 2. use salt to get the cabbage to release water 3. squeeze it out so well that it wasn’t watery. I also bought pre-shredded green cabbage in a bag so it was already a little drier. I only used shitakes, green onions, cabbage, ginger, and garlic as the filling and the dough is flour, hot water, and salt. They were simple but really delicious, and the hardest part was sealing them so if you don’t have a dumpling press I would recommend one because it saved me!

Dumpling Dough

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup hot water

dash of salt

Add a stream of hot water to the flour and salt using chopsticks or a spoon until a stringy dough is formed. It will look like it needs more water, but don’t add more. Just use your hands to form a ball and then knead it on a floured surface for 5-7 minutes then put it back in the bowl, cover, and let rest for 1 hr. Then knead another 5 minutes and let it rest another 30 minutes. It should be soft and smooth. Cut into 4 pieces, then roll each piece into a log. Cut each into 6 pieces. Use a rolling pin to roll each piece into a very thin circle, about 3″.

Vegetable Filling

1 package shitake mushrooms, diced small

3 green onions, sliced

1 bag green cabbage, shredded

1/4 tsp minced ginger

1 tsp minced garlic

pepper to taste

In a bowl, add cabbage and 1 tsp salt then massage it and let it sit to release its water.

Saute the shitake, green onions, ginger, garlic, and pepper over medium heat for 3-5 minutes. Let cool.

Use a towel to press all of the water out of the cabbage until dry. Combine with the shitake mixture and let it sit in the fridge until the dough is ready.

I used a dumpling press to seal, so I floured it, added the disc of dough, a tsp of filling, then used my finger dipped in water to seal the edges. Then use the press to seal it shut and use a knife to cut off any excess. Add a spray of oil to a saute pan, add the dumplings and cook over medium heat until they have a crust on the bottom. Add a few tbsps of water to the pan and then cover until steamed. Serve with soy, gyoza sauce, or sweet chili sauce.

Crispy Tofu Lettuce Wraps

These were really similar to the lettuce wraps I used to eat at our favorite sushi restaurant. The tofu has texture, and the hoisin is sweet and saucy! They’re full of flavor and they were definitely the best ones I’ve ever made. Plus they’re simple to make!

1 block of extra firm tofu, cubed small

1 orange pepper, diced

10 oz button mushrooms, diced

1/2 cup shredded carrots

2 green onions, sliced

iceberg lettuce, cut into cups

1/4 cup hoisin sauce

3 tbsp low sodium soy sauce

1/2 tsp garlic

pepper to taste

Toppings– green onion, red pepper flakes, sesame seeds

  1. Preheat oven to 400* and press out tofu, cut it into small cubes and leave it out on paper towels to drain for 10-15 minutes.
  2. Spread tofu on a parchment lined pan and cook for 20-25 minutes.
  3. While it’s cooking, cook mushrooms, peppers, and carrots in a sauté pan and garlic until tender, 5-7 minutes
  4. Add in tofu, hoisin, soy, and pepper and combine, for another 2-3 minutes.
  5. Fill lettuce cups with tofu mixture and top with green onion, red pepper flakes, and sesame seeds.

I almost forgot, I also made these Chocolate Brownie Cookies! They’re cakey, not too sweet, and a great mix between a brownie and cookie. Make sure not to overcook! Here’s the recipe from Chocolate Covered Katie!

https://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/2018/11/29/chocolate-brownie-cookies/

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