d o c t o r a n d m a m a

Linda Shiue

Linda Shiue
San Francisco Bay Area, California, USA
December 31
I am a physician and spend my free time with my husband and kids, reading everything in sight, eating, traveling, and cooking meals inspired by my travels. These days I'm spending more time at my food blog, spiceboxtravels.com. Please visit me there and follow me on Twitter @spiceboxtravels. Disclaimer: Health information presented here is not intended nor recommended as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your own physician or other qualified health care professional regarding any medical questions or conditions. © 2010-12 Linda Shiue. All Rights Reserved.

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FEBRUARY 3, 2011 1:06PM

Good Luck Dumplings for Chinese New Year

Rate: 31 Flag


Today is the first day of the Chinese New Year 4709, or 2011 in the Western calendar.  It's the year of the Rabbit, the fourth sign in the Chinese zodiac. If you were born in 1915, 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, or 2011, this is your year of good luck.  People born under this sign are thought to be quietly charismatic, thoughtful, calm, and tactful.  

Like all New Year days, this is a day of renewal and celebration-- and rest.  Tradition dictates that no cleaning, cutting, or chopping be done on this day, so it's a day off for home cooks.  The days leading up to the New Year are busy with house cleaning (sweeping away the bad luck!) and preparing the foods which are associated with good luck and fortune in Chinese culture.  These include dumplings (jiao zi), whose shapes resemble the gold ingots used as currency during the Ming Dynasty;  sweet sticky rice cakes (nian gao), which symbolize the persistence needed for prosperity;  and long noodles, for longevity.  Whole fish and chicken (beak and feet included!) are served to ensure the completeness of the family's good fortune.   Many other traditional foods are served because their names are homophones for words such as luck and wealth in Cantonese and other Chinese dialects.  Fish (yu), for example, sounds like the phrase meaning "having enough to spare;" garlic chives (jiu cai) sounds like a word meaning "everlasting;" and a word for oysters (hao), recalls the word for "an auspicious event."

Besides eating, the Chinese New Year is a time for family reunions and celebrations.  Hong bao, or red envelopes, filled with money are given to children, firecrackers are set off to chase away bad luck, and new clothes, preferably in lucky red, are bought to start the year off right. 

The Chinese New Year celebrations go on for an entire month, so it's not too late to prepare for a year of good luck, happiness, and prosperity.   

I am proud to showcase the dumplings I made with my daughters last night for our night-before-Chinese New Year's dinner, which we made both boiled (sui jiao) and as potstickers, their favorite.  

Gong xi fa cai! 

*     *     *

 Chinese Dumplings

dumplings symbolize good luck, packaged inside  

Makes 4 dozen.


4 leaves of Chinese (Napa) cabbage, minced

2 scallions, minced

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 lb. lean ground pork

1 egg 

1 tsp ground white pepper 

1 package prepared round dumpling wrappers 

For dipping sauce: soy sauce plus any combination of sesame oil, chili sauce or oil, vinegar, minced scallions, minced cilantro, minced ginger


1. Mix all ingredients except wrappers in a bowl until well combined.

2. To make each dumping, place a wrapper on a clean surface or your palm, and heap about a teaspoon or two of filling into the center.  (Wrappers vary in size and shape; don't overfill or else you won't get a good seal.)

3. Moisten the inside edges of the filled wrappers using your finger or a chopstick dipped into a little water and fold over, forming crescents. Press them together, making pleats to seal. Make sure they are well-sealed, or the filling will fall out when you cook them.

To make potstickers: 

potstickers by Linda Shiue 

1.  Heat a tablespoon of canola oil into the bottom of a frying pan and place dumplings (standing up) into the pan, leaving a little room around each dumpling.

2.  Add 1/4 cup of cold water, then turn heat to low and cover pan.

3.  Cook on low heat for about 3 minutes, until water is almost evaporated, then add another 1/4 cup of cold water and repeat the process.

4.  Dumplings are done when the water has evaporated and the bottoms have a nice golden, sticky crust (potstickers!)

To make boiled dumplings:

chinese dumplings by Linda Shiue 

1.  Bring a large pot of water to boil and carefully drop in dumplings.  There should be a lot of room for them to move around.

2. When water resumes boiling, add 1 cup of water to cool. When the water resumes boiling again, add another cup of cold water to cool. Repeat this process one more time. When the water boils for the third time, the dumplings will be done.  They should be floating. 

Serve immediately with your favorite dipping sauce.

© 2011 Linda Shiue 

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Gung Hay Fat Choy, Linda - best to you and your family.

... and this recipe looks wonderful!
Happy 4709, Linda! Great post...I am making those potstickers! xox
Happy New Year Linda! Hope it's a great one for you and your family. Thanks for the virtual celebration!
My friend from China would bring in a small deep pan,oil and her homemade dumplings and fry them up in our little kitchen in the hospital i work in on holidays....mmmmmmm. I might try them myself! Thanks Linda.
happy new year, old friend! I hope your year is rich in love and fun and money and happiness.
Just lovely, Linda! A very Happy New Year to you and your family! ~r
Happy Chinese New Year Linda to you and your family ! Thanks for giving me a reason to procastinate with house work and cooking. I'm declaring myself an honorary rabbit with the rest, and dressing in red for luck.
Happy New Year, Linda and family.
As you say, Beautiful, Memorable Food.

(Best dumpling experience I've ever had: home-made at a lunch in Beijing. Will never forget. Thanks for bringing it back to mind with a recipe I can actually follow. )
I could eat a bushel of dumplings and be very, very happy.
Since you brought up chicken feet, how do you eat them? I tried them once while having dim sum. I kept chewing and nothing was happening.

Just to be clear, for those of us not born in the Year of the Rabbit, are you saying we shouldn't wear those people's feet as good luck charms?
Happy New Year, Linda. I made potstickers last night for the first time and they were great. -R-
Yum. I love this kind of food.
To you, the happiest of New YeARS! Thanks for everything yummy and interesting you cook up for us to read and enjoy here! R
These look really really really good! I notice you left out the chicken beaks, and hope you have plenty of good fortune anyway. Happy New Year!
I'm going to have to give these a try--yummy!
oh that sounds so great. Happy new year!
I have a local place that is economically sensible and delightful in terms of taste, so will continue to let the experts handle the wrappers, but it's interesting to be 'in' on the process.
yum. nothing I love more than good luck and dumplings:)
I could eat nothing but dumplings for the rest of my life and die happy and full. :) You make them look way too easy! I might have to give this a try.

I am a snake, so I guess this isn't my year. :)

Happy New Year to you!
Happy Bunny Year, Linda. Is there anything better than dumplings? Tasty!
Homemade dumplings are some of my favorite things. Xin Nian Kwei le!
happy year of the rabbit, linda. terrific post -- all the details of the language - and a recipe that sounds remarkably easy. wishing you a prosperous and good-food-filled year!
Gong xi fa cai!

Thanks for the recipe. I lived in Shanxi for over a year, and ate jiaozi on a regular basis (which is why I gained 10 pounds.) Nobody had measurements, though, so I never quite got the recipe I wanted. The sauce in Shanxi, is great though, dark vinegar, lots of garlic, a dollop of soy sauce.

I will be making this again and again!
I'm so sad. :( No Chinese foodstores around for at least 500 miles. At least I had long noodles today. Happy Year of the Rabbit!
I'm so sad. :( No Chinese foodstores around for at least 500 miles. At least I had long noodles today. Happy Year of the Rabbit!
Yum, is right! Hope it's a good year (even though it's not officially 'mine')!
Oh, Linda, my mouth is watering at the sight of those dumplings.
The recipe's been copied. Thanks, so much.

The Flylooper
Yum! the dumplings are beautiful and I love that it was a family effort!
Always a treat to read your posts and your recipes. Yesterday, the weather was horrible and businesses closed early, we called our nearest Asian restaurant to see if they were still open. They were, but our waiter didn't even know it was the Chinese New Year. And I thought about my students who would bring me little gifts from their celebrations like a paper lantern or the red envelope with money. Wishing you well in this year of the rabbit.
This I'll try! Xinnian kuaile. Hope I got that right.
Gong xi fa cai!

You increased my knowledge of the Chinese lunar new year by 5000 years. Amazing how many traditions are echoed in Jewish practices.

Happy new year to you, Linda, and your family. Luck, love and achievement!
Potstickers are really popular in our house! The fried crispy ones -- although we'll take boiled in a pinch. If we had those money-filled red envelopes, I'm those would be popular too!
Happy New Year of the Rabbit, for the Spring Festival in 4709!
A belated Happy New Year to you, Linda! :)