Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Giveaway: This is the Greatest Place! or In the Forbidden City

Chinese New Year is February 19th, and to help you celebrate, I'm posting a recipe for dumplings, a traditional Chinese New Year treat, provided by China Institute, publisher of two fantastic kids books. 

Dumplings, called jiaozi in Mandarin, have been popular in China for hundreds of years. They’re especially popular on Chinese New Year.
This year, Chinese New Year starts on February 19. We will be moving from the Year of the Horse to the Year of the Sheep. What better way to celebrate than to make your own dumplings! The recipe below is for a traditional pork and chive filling, but the great thing about dumplings is that you can make all sorts of different fillings.
Dumpling (jiaozi) Dough: 3 cups all-purpose flour  1 1/4 cups cold water  1/4 teaspoon salt 
Pork & Chive Filling:
1 cup ground pork (can also use beef)
1 Tablespoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon salt

1 Tablespoon Chinese rice wine or dry sherry 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper

3 Tablespoon sesame oil

1/2 green onion, finely minced
1 1/2 cups finely shredded Napa cabbage 4 Tablespoons shredded bamboo shoots 2 slices fresh ginger, finely minced

1 clove garlic, peeled and finely minced

Stir the salt into the flour. Slowly stir in the cold water, adding as much as is necessary to create a smooth dough. Don't add more water than is necessary. Knead the dough into a smooth ball. Cover the dough and let it rest for at least 30 minutes.
While the dough is resting, prepare the filling ingredients. Add the soy sauce, salt, rice wine, and white pepper to the meat, stirring in one direction. Add the remaining ingredients, stirring in the same direction, and mix well.
Now, prepare the dough for the dumplings. First knead the dough until it forms a
smooth ball. Divide the dough into 60 pieces. Roll each piece out into a circle about 3-inches in diameter to create the dumpling wrappers.
Place a portion (about 1 Tablespoon) of the filling into the middle of each dumpling wrapper. Wet the edges of the dumpling with water. Fold the dough over the filling into a half moon shape and pinch the edges to seal. Continue with the remainder of the dumpling wrappers.
To cook the dumplings, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add half the dumplings, giving them a gentle stir so they don't stick together. Bring the water to a boil, and add 1/2 cup of cold water. Cover and repeat. When the dumplings come to a boil for a third time, they are ready. Drain and remove. If you want, they can be pan-fried at this point. Repeat this process for the second half of dumplings. 
Post a photo of your dumplings to China Institute’s Facebook page at The chef of the yummiest looking batch will receive a free copy of their We All Live in the Forbidden City books! 

In addition, you can comment on what you love about Chinese culture for a chance to win a book: This is the Greatest Place! (ages 4-8) OR In the Forbidden City (ages 9+). Deadline is February 20th. More kids crafts, activities and coloring pages may be downloaded at
More info: China Institute’s We All Live in the Forbidden City program includes children’s books and educational workshops that celebrate Chinese cultural history in ways that are accessible and fun for kids. This is the Greatest Place! uses lift-flaps to teach young readers how nature’s influence can be seen around us, and how people and animals can live together in harmony. In the Forbidden City is a large format book that comes with a magnifying glass so kids can look closely at highly detailed line drawings conveying the grandeur of it’s buildings, gardens, and courtyards. The books have received much praise, including reviews in Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal, Kirkus and Foreword, since releasing last fall. Press info at

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