Visually appetizing and pleasant on the palate, these colourful dumplings with pork and prawn filling make a perfect festive dish for family and friends.
I hope the previous five parts of my Ultimate Dumpling Guide have given you some valuable information and inspiration. To draw my special dumpling journey to an end, I’m sharing my recipe of colourful dumplings with tasty pork & prawn fillings, a festive dish to share with your loved ones on Chinese New Year (Spring Festival / 春节) or other special occasions.
A special family time around dumplings
There is no doubt that this is my favourite time of the year. To many Chinese natives like me, Spring Festival means happy family reunion and great food. Growing up in Northern China, dumplings have always been the most special food for this festival. Apart from being tasty, what really makes them special is that their preparation involves all the family and this creates an important bond among the family members.
I have never learnt to make dumplings. I was just naturally welcomed by my family at a very young age to be part of the dumpling making experience. I played with the dough and messed up both the filling and the folding of the dumplings. But it was always an enjoyable time. While making the dumplings, we would chat, laugh and occasionally peek at the Spring Festival Gala on TV. We followed the tradition, making and eating dumplings on Xiao Nian (小年, aka small Spring festival, seven days prior to the New Year), on New Year’s Eve, on New Year’s Day and on the fifth day of the New Year.
This is one of the reasons why I’m enjoying writing this series of dumpling posts. I treasure my cultural background and it’s a pleasure to help people to keep this tradition going, as I myself try to teach my own children, who grow up in the West, to appreciate special family moments through preparing food together.
So when you are making dumplings, get your family / friends involved. Plan a work flow and give everyone a specific task, especially when making these colourful dumplings which require a bit of extra effort and time.
How to make naturally coloured dough
This recipe calls for 4 pieces of dough in different colours. As always, I don’t use artificial food colouring. All you need is some colourful fresh vegetables:
- White dough, the regular dough made of flour and water.
- Green dough. The colour comes from spinach. Briefly blanch spinach in boiling water, then blend in a food processor. Use the green juice extracted through a sieve to mix with the flour.
- Orange dough. Apply similar method to carrots. But you would need to use semi-liquid carrot puree to mix with the flour to get a stronger orange colour.
- Purple dough. It’s very easy to make this one. Just simmer chopped cabbage in water for 5 minutes. The water will gain a very intense purple colour and you are ready to mix it with the flour. No need to blend the cabbage.
Make a colourful filling and hide a lucky nut
After making the green and orange dye for the dough, you will have some leftover spinach puree and carrot puree. Don’t waste them! Add them to the filling. Along with pink minced pork, white-grey prawns and brown shiitake mushroom, the filling is colourful too.
For special occasions like Chinese New Year, many Chinese families would hide something in one of the dumplings. The person who eats this special dumpling is considered to be the luckiest one in the new year. Traditionally, a piece of coin is put inside. But I would recommend a nut instead. After all we wouldn’t want to rush to the ER on this special day.
Now you’ve learnt how to make these colourful dumplings for Chinese New Year. Need inspirations on other dishes to serve for the big feast? Here are some of my recommendations:
Appetizer & Snacks
- Sichuan shredded pork with garlic sauce (鱼香肉丝)
- Dry fried green beans (干煸四季豆)
- Black pepper beef stir-fry (黑椒牛柳)
- Pan fried tofu with garlic sauce (鱼香豆腐)
Fish & seafood
Finally I’d like to take this opportunity to wish you all, my dear readers, a very HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR / 春节快乐! May the Year of the Pig brings you great health, tasty food and lots of laughter!
A little note: I have created a Youtube channel under the name “FlavorQuest China“. Subscribe if you often use Youtube for cooking inspiration. I’m gradually creating more video recipes and will share them on Youtube.