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A Lunar New Year Make-Your-Own-Dumplings Party

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Enlist your guests to help assemble fat, juicy dumplings that they can take home.

This menu serves six with plenty of dumplings to take home, though you'll need to double the steamed rice recipe.

It’s a Chinese Lunar New Year tradition for families to gather around flour-dusted tables to roll, fill and fold as many jiao zi dumplings as possible. Jiao zi means “money” in Mandarin. Serving heaps of jiao zi is a way of sharing wishes for prosperity and success in the year to come. Even if you’re not celebrating the Lunar New Year, these dumplings make for a fun, all-hands-on-deck cooking party. Just make a double batch of dough, choose a few fillings, and round out the meal with some simple Chinese foods. You’ll have enough dumplings for everyone to eat their fill and take home a bag to freeze.

Menu Timeline

One day ahead:

  • Cook the pineapple for the parfaits. Cover and refrigerate.
  • Make the dipping sauces for the dumplings.

In the morning:

  • Marinate the shrimp for the long bean stir-fry.
  • Make the dough for both batches of dumplings.
  • Peel, seed, and dice the kabocha squash.

90 minutes ahead:

  • Mix the strawberries with sugar for the parfaits.
  • Make the fillings for both dumpling recipes.

30 minutes ahead:

  • Cut the long beans and mince the ginger and garlic for the stir-fry.
  • Cook the rice.
  • Braise the kabocha squash and keep warm over low heat.

As guests arrive:

  • Serve drinks.
  • Begin shaping and filling the dumplings.

Just before dinner:

  • Boil or pan-fry some of the dumplings (pack up the rest to send home with guests).
  • Stir-fry the shrimp and long beans.

Just before dessert:

  • Assemble the parfaits.

Shopping List

All of the Chinese ingredients, including long beans, rice wine, sesame oil, Beijing-style roast duck, lychees, and dried shiitakes, can be found at a well-stocked Asian grocery store.

Fresh Produce

  • 2 medium ripe pineapples (about 3 lb. each)
  • One-half medium kabocha squash (or 1 large butternut squash)
  • 4 cups ripe strawberries
  • 1 small head Napa cabbage
  • 1/2 lb. Chinese long beans
  • 6 oz. spinach
  • 1 bunch fresh mint
  • 2 bunches scallions
  • 1 large piece fresh ginger
  • 1 head garlic

Meat, Eggs & Dairy

  • 1-1/2 lb. extra-large (16 to 20 per lb.) shrimp
  • 12 oz. ground pork
  • Half a roast duck, preferably Beijing-style

Other Groceries

  • 1 20-oz. can lychees (or 16 fresh lychees)
  • 2/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped water chestnuts
  • 1/4 cup lower-salt chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup mirin (sweetened rice wine)
  • 8 dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 3 Tbs. Chinese black or red vinegar
  • 3 Tbs. Shaoxing (Chinese rice wine) or dry sherry
  • 2 Tbs. untoasted Asian sesame oil
  • 1 Tbs. rice vinegar
  • 2-1/2 tsp. toasted Asian sesame oil

Pantry Staples:

  • 13-1/2 oz. (3 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour; more for kneading
  • 2 cups long-grain white rice
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbs. vegetable oil (plus more for pan-fried dumplings)
  • 1 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt
  • Black peppercorns

The Menu

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