Colourful dumplings for Chinese New Year (Ultimate Dumpling Guide part 6)

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.


Colourful dumplings for Chinese New Year
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Prep Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Yield: about 80 dumplings

Colourful dumplings for Chinese New Year

Visually appetizing and pleasant on the palate, these colourful dumplings with pork and prawn filling make a perfect festive dish for family and friends.


    For white wrappers
  • 150g all purpose flour
  • 75g water
    For green wrappers
  • 150g all purpose flour
  • 200g spinach
    For orange wrappers
  • 150g all purpose flour
  • 250g carrot
    For purple wrappers
  • 150g all purpose flour
  • 200g purple cabbage
    For the filling
  • 400g minced pork
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground Sichuan pepper
  • 2 teaspoons light soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons oyster sauce
  • 2 stalks spring onion, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 200g minced prawns
  • 160g finely chopped shiitake mushrooms (soaked, 40g in dried form)


  1. Prepare the green dye: Briefly blanch spinach in boiling water then drain. Transfer to a food processor to puree. Use a fine sieve to extract 75 ml / 5 tablespoons of spinach juice for the dough (add a little water if necessary). Set the leftover spinach aside.
  2. Prepare the orange dye: Simmer sliced carrot in 150 ml water for 5 minutes. Then transfer everything to a food processor. Blend until very smooth. Use a sieve to extract about 90g semi-liquid puree for the dough. Set the leftover carrot aside.
  3. Prepare the purple dye: Simmer purple cabbage (cut into small pieces) in 150 ml water for 5 minutes. Drain the cabbage to get 75 ml / 5 tablespoons of purple liquid for the dough.
  4. Make the dough: Add water / green dye / orange dye / purple dye to the flour gradually. Mix until no more loose flour can be seen. Then combine and knead with your hand. Leave to rest covered for 40–60 minutes.
  5. Mix the filling: Place pork in a mixing bowl. Add salt, Sichuan pepper, soy sauce, sesame oil, oyster sauce, spring onion and ginger. Gradually add 5 tablespoons of the water in which the shiitake mushrooms have been soaked (or just water) to the meat while swirling in one direction until no more liquid can be seen. Add minced prawn, mushroom and 200g carrot puree, 150g spinach puree that was left from last process. Mix well.
  6. Roll the wrappers: Roll part of the dough into a rope then cut into small pieces (always keep unused dough covered). Press each piece into a small disc. Then use a rolling pin to flatten it into a thin disc (*Please refer to the video in my post*). Dust with flour if the dough sticks.
  7. Assemble the dumplings: Place a spoonful of filling in the middle of a wrapper. Seal the wrapper into the shapes of your choice (*Please refer to the video in my post*. You can learn other shapes in my post “Ten ways to fold dumplings”).
  8. Cook the dumplings: You can cook them in three ways: boil, pan-fry or steam. Please refer to my post “Cook dumplings in three ways” for full instructions and tips.


1. Dough & wrapper tips: If you wish to improve your dumpling dough and wrapper skills, check out my complete guide on “Homemade dumpling wrappers”.

3. Use other dumpling filling: please feel free to fill these colourful dumplings with fillings of your choice. You can find more ideas in my post “How to make great dumpling fillings”. Vegetarian and vegan options are included.

4. Dumpling sauces: To make your dumpling dish even more scrumptious, you might need one of my six dumpling sauces.

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

Cold dishes


Braised dishes

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!

An enthusiastic cook with a Chinese palate and a global mindset.

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.

4 thoughts

  1. I just found you and I’m thrilled with your talent, detailed recipes and dumpling guide. Congratulations!

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