Chinese New Year: Happy Year Of The Horse!

Happy Chinese New Year! 🙂  This year we’re into the year of the horse. Now myself being a brony since I was in single digits (we won’t go into how many years ago that was), I had to add to this year’s celebration with this awesome purchase: Chinese New Year Pinkie Pie! (best pony)

This year my husband and I are going out for a meal tonight to celebrate. So I thought it would be fun to share the recipes I’ve made in the past for Chinese New Year celebrations.  I’m making myself hungry just looking at them!  I hope you try some, they’re all delicious 🙂


Happy New Year to everyone 🙂 No matter if you celebrate or not, have a great Friday and these recipes are good all year round!



Chinese New Year: Pea Shoot And Prawn Dumplings

This is another great dim sum recipe in the lead up to Chinese New Year, which is on February 3rd this year 🙂

One of my favouite dim sum is ha gow, which are prawn dumplings with a slightly sticky texture to the dough. I didn’t have a recipe for ha gow, but this seemed similar enough to make me want to try it! The recipe is from Dim Sum by Fiona Smith, which is packed with lots of great recipes.

Pea shoots are leaf shoots of the mangetout, snowpea or garden pea. They are sold in Chinese supermarkets and some grocers, and taste like the essence of peas! If you can’t find any though, don’t worry! Just use mangetout 🙂

The recipe says to serve these dumplings without any dip, so that the subtle flavours aren’t overpowered. But a simple dip of soy sauce, or even sweet chilli, would work to complement the flavours in my opinion.

Makes: 32
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 7 minutes

250 g fresh pea shoots or mangetout (snowpeas), chopped
500 g uncooked prawns (shrimp), shelled, deveined and coarsely chopped (about 250 g prepared)
4 cm fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 tablespoon Shaohsing (Chinese rice wine) or dry sherry (this is optional)
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 egg white, beaten
extra pea shoots or Chinese chives, to serve

Rice Flour Dough
175 g plain flour
125 g rice flour
2 tablespoons oil
250 ml boiling water

1. To make the dough, mix the two flours in a bowl, then stir in 250 ml boiling water and the oil. Stir until cool enough to handle, then knead to form a smooth mass. Put in a plastic bag ans chill for 30 minutes.

2. Put the pea shoots or mangetout in a colander and pour over boiling water, then quickly refresh under cold running water and set aside.

3. Put the prawns in a bowl and mix in the ginger, soy sauce, Shaohsing or sherry (if you’re using any), sesame oil and egg white. Set aside for 15 minutes to develop the flavours. Add the chopped pea shoots or mangetout.

4. Divide the dough into 32 pieces, roll into balls and cover with a damp cloth. Dust a dry surface with flour and, using a rolling pin, roll out a ball of dough to a circle, 8 cm in diameter. Put one heaped teaspoon of filling in the center, brush the edges with water, then bring them together to enclose the filling. Twist to seal and break off any excess dough. Repeat until all are made, keeping the dumplings covered as you make them.

5. Put the dumplings, sealed edge down, in a steamer and steam over boiling water for 7 minutes. Serve with extra pea shoots or chives.

They sound absolutely delicious! No picture yet because we aren’t making them until New Year (tomorrow), so I’ll update the post with pictures then 🙂


Chinese New Year: Siu Mai (pork and prawn dumplings)

Even though I’m not Chinese, and don’t have any Chinese heritage as far as I’m aware, we’ve celebrated Chinese New Year for as far back as I can remember 🙂 I pretty much grew up on dim sum – every week when families would go out for a traditional English Sunday roast lunch, mine would go out for traditional Cantonese cooking. I adore dim sum.

In a way, it kind of gave my family more of a sense of community. The restaurant we went to, Chung Ying Garden, always had such a welcoming and inviting atmosphere. Everyone was enjoying themselves with good food and good company. Today I think that a lot of families don’t spend that kind of quality time together; they don’t all come together over enjoyable and healthy food, which is quite sad.

I still go to the Chung Ying Garden, with family but also with friends 🙂 I’ve had the majority of celebrations in my life taking place at that restaurant!

When I was younger, we used to go there every year for Chinese New Year. We’d have great food and then venture out to where the Chinese dragons and lions dance. I find that the December 31st/January 1st New Year seems less about celebration of the year ahead, less about community and joy between friends and family, so I’ve always enjoyed the colours and energy at Chinese New Year 🙂 There is a serious element too, because the dragon has a challenge of knocking down a cabbage that is strung up high. If he misses or doesn’t knock it down then that means bad luck for the coming year.

So, with thought of family in mind my Mom and I are doing things a bit different this year due to me moving country soon. We decided to get out all of our recipe books and make the Cantonese food we love 🙂 I’ll be putting several recipes up so be sure to check back for more great (and easy!) New Year recipes!

This recipe is for one of my all time favourite dim sum, siu mai (pork and prawn dumplings). I’m getting hungry just thinking about them! Oh, for all you American’s out there, prawns = shrimp 🙂

Siu Mai (pork and prawn dumplings)

Makes: 24
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes

300 g (10 1/2 oz) minced (ground) pork
300 g (10 1/2 oz) minced (ground) prawns (shrimp)
3 spring onions (scallions), finely sliced
60 g (2 1/4 oz / 1/3 cup) chopped water chestnuts
1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh ginger
1 tablespoon light soy sauce, plus extra to serve
1 teaspoon caster (superfine) sugar
24 won ton wrappers

You can make these without the prawns, just double the amount of pork! Or, vice versa 🙂

1. To make the filling, put the pork and prawn meat, spring onion, water chestnuts, ginger, soy sauce and sugar in a large non-metallic bowl and combine well.

2. Working with one wrapper at a time, place a heaped tablespoon of filling in the centre of the wrapper. Bring the sides up around the outside, forming pleats to firmly encase the filling – the top of the dumpling should be exposed. Pinch together to enclose the bottom of the filling, then cover with a damp cloth. Repeat with the remaining wrappers and filling to make 24 in total.

3. Line a large steamer with baking paper and punch with holes. Place the dumplings on top in a single layer, making sure they don’t tough each other. Cover with a lid. Sit the steamer over a wok or saucepan of boiling water and steam for 8-10 minutes, or until cooked through. The water should not touch the steamer.

4. Serve the dumplings, while still hot, with whatever sauce you prefer! Soy sauce, chilli sauce, or sweet chilli all work very well.

Enjoy with friends and family 🙂

This will be my post for this week’s Hearth and Soul Blog Hop 🙂 Be sure to check out the other recipes on there and to follow my blog for more tasty treats! More Chinese New Year recipes to come tomorrow 🙂


Chinese Inspired Chicken

I love Chinese food. Growing up we used to go to Chinese restaurants almost every week, sometimes more than once a week! ..the authentic ones, not the fast-food take-out places.

So I’ve grown up with dim sum being a huge part of my diet and even now get cravings and have to run into town to satisfy them lol! One of my favourites is ha gow (prawn dumplings) and 2 days ago when shopping I found some pre-packed in a local supermarket! Now they may not be as good as the freshly made ones in the restaurant I grew up visiting (and still go to now) but they looked tasty so I bought 2 packets and some vegetable dumplings too.

With them in mind I decided to cook a Chinese inspired meal last night, from the top of my head, and dust off my wok that I don’t use nearly as much as I should. Here’s the recipe, there’s a couple of alterations I’ll make next time (a bit more honey and soy sauce) but overall it was really delicious 🙂

Serves 2.

2 carrots, chopped into strips
2 leeks, chopped into strips
1 onion, sliced and separated into pieces
2 chicken breasts, sliced into strips
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tbsp honey
soy sauce

I started by chopping all of the vegetables while the wok heated up with a little bit of oil in.

I cooked the garlic in the oil for a little while, to flavour it, then added the onions and cooked until they started to soften.

Next I added the carrots and cooked for a few minutes before adding the chicken. When the chicken was cooked (after a few minutes) I added the leeks along with the honey and several generous dashes of soy sauce, stirring to coat everything.

I cooked it like this for a few minutes, stirring to mix everything well, then served in a dish with the dumplings (which I steamed) on the side 🙂

It was so simple to do and tasted great – when I do it again I’ll add a little more garlic I think and play around with the quantity of soy sauce and honey, because it could have taken more of each of those quite easily.

This will be my post for this week’s Hearth And Soul Blog Hop 🙂 I had so much fun last week I just had to take part again!