Everyone who has ever eaten Chinese dumplings knows they’re delicious. But did you also know that jiaozi also bring you prosperity and luck when you make and eat them during the Chinese New Year? The holiday is right around the corner (it falls on Tuesday, February 19th)—so there’s no time like the present to get your Chinese dumpling game tight.

The Foodie Channel on YouTube spent time with dumpling master Chef Chen Zhineng of Hakkasan New York to learn more about the elegant simplicity of dumpling-making, as well as why it’s so important this time of year.

The first rule of dumplings is, it’s easier to make them when the filling is cold.
chinese dumplings 1
The second rule of dumplings is, northern Chinese tradition says the more dumplings your family makes together, the more luck and prosperity will greet you in the new year.
chinese dumplings 2
Finally, dumplings can be boiled, steamed, or fried, and you can basically fill them with whatever you want.
chinese dumplings 3

Chef Zhineng makes it look easy because he’s been doing this a long time. As anyone who has ever made dumplings can tell you, you might take a few tries to get the folds right and make the dumplings look good. If you try it yourself, don’t get discouraged with your first few attempts. While your dumplings may not be as pretty as these, remember that they’ll still taste good once they’re cooked.

Here’s a handy dumpling primer with plenty of photos if you want to try this at home.

No matter what, keep in mind that the three most important things about these dumplings are:

  • making them together as a family
  • making a lot of them
  • eating a lot of them

We’re sure that the most difficult part of all of this is restraining yourself from popping them in your mouth as soon as they’re fully cooked.

[via The Foodie Channel, Eater]

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