Gung Hay Fat Choy … Happy Chinese New Year!

One of my all-time favorite foods to indulge in is Chinese cuisine. Although I’m partial to this family-owned restaurant in the community I grew up, I also enjoy creating my own Asian fare.

In honor of Chinese New Year and the Year of the Dragon – which began January 23 – here are two of my favorite homemade Chinese creations: Cashew Chicken and Shu Mai (or steamed won tons). The Shu Mai recipe is written below as it’s an adaptation of an Everyday Food recipe.

The Cashew Chicken, also from Everyday Food, is so easy, simple, and one of the best chicken dishes I make. Cashews are now a staple in our home.

Gung Hay Fat Choy. Happy Chinese New Year!

Steamed Shu Mai

(Adapted from a Everyday Food magazine, April 2006)

You can do some much with this base recipe. Once you get the filling made, they can be steamed for Shu Mai, used in wonton soup, or made into fried wontons.

1 ½ lbs. ground pork or chicken

3 scallions, chopped

1 Tbsp. finely chopped ginger

1 Tbsp. chopped garlic

1 tsp. soy sauce

1 tsp. sesame oil
Course salt

1 package wonton skins (can be found in the grocery store pre-packaged deli and cheese area)

1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well with a fork. This filling makes about 40 small wontons.

2. Lay the wonton wrapper flat. Spoon about one rounded teaspoon of filing in the wrapper.

3. With a pastry brush or your clean fingers, dampen with water the outer sides of the wonton skin. Fold each corner inward toward each other and press together. The water will seal the wonton. Continue these steps until you’ve used up your mixture, or have had enough of wonton-making. This is the most time-consuming part – enlist a friend, child or significant other!

4. If you’re not using right away, put them on a cookie sheet lined with waxed paper. Lay a damp paper towel over the wontons and refrigerate. The damp towel will keep them from drying out.

5. If you are making Shu Mai, fill a large pot with water and boil. Then place a steamer on the top of the pot. Spray non-stick cooking spray on the steamer and place wontons in the steamer. Place lid on top and steam for about 15 minutes.

6. Remove Shu Mai and continue until all are cooked.

7. Feel free to create your own dipping sauce of soy sauce, ginger and garlic.

8. For wonton soup, you can steam them in broth. For crispy wontons, fry in canola or peanut oil.

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