Dumplings you don't need to fly to Asia for! Top Chef alum Shirley Chung shares tips with Fox News's Lilian Huang Woo on turning out the tastiest dumplings and other lucky Lunar New Year foods.

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Jiaozi from Chinese Heritage Cooking from My American Kitchen
Photo credit: Albert Law

JIAOZI WITH CHICKEN FILLING

According to Chinese legend, jiaozi was invented thousands of years ago by an Emperor's doctor during a cold winter. That winter was so cold, lots of poor peoples' ears were falling off and many of them were getting sick. So, the doctor begged the Emperor to give him some flour, and then he went around collecting mutton trims from the rich families. The doctor made jiaozi dumplings folded in an ear shape and filled with mutton and herbal medicines, and then he fed the poor of the whole city. Jiaozi became a staple dish to make when guests come to visit, during the Chinese New Year celebration, when kids go back to visit mom . . . The Chinese show their love through these dumplings. Lots of people get intimidated by folding dumplings--don't be. They don't have to be perfect: just seal them with filling inside, or use a dumpling folder. Don't miss out on this deliciousness!

SERVES 4

Jiaozi Wrapper 4 cups (480 g) all-purpose flour 1¼ cups (300 ml) water 1 tsp salt

Chicken Filling 1 lb (450 g) ground chicken 4 tbsp (60 ml) oyster sauce 4 tbsp (60 ml) soy sauce 4 tbsp (60 ml) chicken stock 1 large egg 1 tbsp (15 ml) sesame oil 2 tbsp (14 g) minced ginger ½ cup (50 g) minced green onions

For Serving Black vinegar Chili oil

Tools to Help You Dough mixer Pasta roller 3-inch (8-cm) cookie cutter Dumpling folder

Jiaozi Wrapper Combine the flour, water and salt in a mixer. Knead until it forms a smooth dough, and rest it for 30 minutes. In my house, after the dough has rested, I will portion it into bottle cap-size balls (about 7 grams each), then individually roll them out into small rounds with a rolling pin to make wrappers. Alternatively, you can run the dough through a pasta roller. Roll them to #4 thickness, then use a 3-inch (8-cm) cookie cutter to cut out round wrappers.

Chicken Filling Put the ground chicken in a medium-size mixing bowl. Combine the oyster sauce, soy sauce and chicken stock together in a cup. Slowly pour this liquid into the ground chicken while stirring, until all the liquid absorbs into the meat. Next add the egg and sesame oil, and mix well. After all the seasoning is mixed into the chicken, add the ginger and green onions, and mix well. It's ready for folding.

Dumplings Using a dumpling folder, if you'd like, take 1 wrapper and 1 tablespoon (15 g) of chicken filling per dumpling. Place the filling in the middle of the wrapper, close the edges and make them into an ear shape (half- moon shape). After all the jiaozi are folded, boil water in a large pot. Add the jiaozi in when the water is boiling. When the water returns to a boil, add ½ cup (120 ml) of cold water, and bring back to a boil. When all the jiaozi are floating on top of the water, they are done. Enjoy them hot with some black vinegar and chili oil.

Red Snapper
Photo credit: Albert Law

WHOLE STEAMED RED SNAPPER

Steamed whole fish is the staple of any Chinese celebration feast. Fish symbolize prosperity, luck and opportunities in our culture. My version is extra exciting, with bean sprouts tossed in and Doubanjiang to add texture and spice. The aged soy sauce brings in more umami, and the final pour of hot oil over the steamed fish will push the aroma to overdrive. You want to source the freshest fish to steam. Make sure the gills are bright red, the eyeballs are clear and the flesh bounces back when you press it. If a whole fish freaks you out a little bit, you can always steam a fish fillet; just drop the cooking time to 4 to 5 minutes. Don't worry, prosperity won't run away from you. Decode the special meaning behind this dish: Bean sprouts represent growth, and fish represents prosperity and wealth. Eat this dish, and you will grow your wealth.

SERVES 6

1½ lb (675 g) whole red snapper, cleaned, scaled and gutted Salt and white pepper, to taste 1 oz (28 g) bean sprouts 1 tsp Doubanjiang chili paste 1 tbsp (15 ml) Shaoxing wine 2 thinly sliced green onions, divided 1 tsp sesame oil 1 tbsp (7 g) thinly sliced ginger 1 red Fresno chili, thinly sliced, seeds removed 4 tbsp (60 ml) aged soy sauce (I like Wan Ja Shan brand) 4 tbsp (60 ml) canola oil

Tools Stainless steel or bamboo steamer that is big enough to fit the whole fish A large plate that fits in the steamer and holds the fish

Fill the bottom of the steamer with water and start boiling the water. Score the fish 3 times on each side for even cooking. Rub the inside and the outside of snapper with salt and pepper, and set aside.

In a small mixing bowl, toss the bean sprouts with the Doubanjiang, Shaoxing wine, 1 pinch of sliced green onions and the sesame oil, and season to taste with salt. Stuff the snapper with the seasoned bean sprouts. Place a few slices of ginger on the flesh of the fish, and place the fish on a plate for steaming. Steam the stuffed whole snapper over high heat in the steamer for 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, toss the sliced Fresno chili pepper and the rest of the green onions together. Heat up the soy sauce in a small saucepan, simmer for 1 minute and turn of the heat. This cooked soy sauce is part of the sauce for the steamed fish.

When the fish is finished steaming, take it out of the steamer an d place on a serving dish. Drizzle the soy sauce all over the fish, and place an even layer of green onions and Fresno chili on the steamed fish. In a small sauté pan, heat up the cooking oil until smoking hot and then pour the hot oil over the green onions on the fish. You can smell the caramelized soy sauce and onion aroma.

Reprinted with permission from Chinese Heritage Cooking from My American Kitchen by Shirley Chung, Page Street Publishing Co. 2018. Photo credit: Albert Law.

Follow Lilian Woo on Twitter: @LilianNY

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