Hong Kong is absolutely mad this week!!! People are hustling about everywhere making last-minute preparations for the Chinese New Years Celebration.
It is one of the Chinese New Year customs to clean the house from top to bottom to get rid off all the bad luck gathered in the previous year. However, did you know that after the New Year comes, you cannot sweep during the first days otherwise all the new luck will sweep away! (So that is my excuse and I’m sticky to it)
Another big Chinese tradition is to put up big red banners with New Year messages of good luck to decorate the main entrance of your house/room. Red is a very lucky color and symbolizes vitality of life and happiness.
Of course everyone is running around expecting a little red packet of money (Hong Bao in Mandarin) (Laisee in Cantonese)…
Chinese people like to buy auspicious flowers and plants before the new year to bring them good luck and happiness in the New Year. The Solanum mammosum is a very unique plant. According to my friend Safie, in Chinese it is written as 五代同堂 - wu dai tong tang, meaning Five Generations Living Harmoniously Under One Roof. This would mean a family having great-great grandparents, great grandparents, grandparents, parents and children living harmoniously together in the same household. This would mean longevity, prosperity and happiness for the family. I asked my dear friend Safie this question about this plant in the morning and by that afternoon she had delivered one to my doorstep. Safie you are such a sweet heart!
Now comes the good part, the food…The New Year’s feast takes many days to prepare. These are some of the traditional Chinese New Year foods served on New Year’s day and throughout the festivities:
- meat dumplings for good luck
- tangerines for good fortune
- apples for peace
- sweet rice cakes for more wealth every year (Niangao, 年糕)
- fish for plenty
- veggies with long noodles for long life
- chicken for wealth
- mustard greens for a green year for farmers
- soup means everything better than last year
- oranges for money and wealth
- shrimp for abundance
So today we are going to combine 2 auspicious meals in one. Wontons (a type of dumpling also know as huntun-馄饨 in Chinese) for good luck and soup to make everything better than from last year. Lets enjoy some tasty lucky Shanghai Hun Tun soup. My dear friends and I made this together. Their skilled little Shanghai hands can make wontons so quickly and symmetrical compared to my “special” wrapping technique. Lets just say you could tell which ones I made. LOL
Recipe from Lynn Kitchen, my dear Shanghai friend…
Makes about 50 wontons (all ingredients below are approximations. As you know, most seasoned cooks never measure but put a dash of this and dash of that and of course Lynn’s was perfect)
- 50 wonton wrappers or so (depends on how many teenagers you plan to feed)
- 1 large bowl Chinese Greens- quickly boiled and then run under cold water to stop the cooking process (Chinese Chrysanthemum, Chinese spinach or Chinese watercress may all be good substitutes
- 1 pound minced pork (if you like you can substitute part shrimp to this mixture)
- 2 small green onion, minced
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon rice wine
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp sugar (optional)
- 1/2 tsp white pepper or per your preference
- 2 teaspoons ginger finely minced
- 1 teaspoon garlic (optional)
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 1 egg
- little bowl of water for glue
- pasta water from wontons
- 2 chopped spring onions
- salt to taste
- white pepper to taste
- drop of 2 of sesame oil
Step 3: Place one wonton wrapper in your hand and one teaspoon of pork mixture in the middle. (Do not overfill the wonton or otherwise it will burst open during the cooking process)
Step 5: Fold the wonton wrapper in half and make sure you press tightly around the edges of where the pork mixture is so you have a good seal.
Step 8: Boiling the won tons: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the won tons, making sure there is enough room for them to move about freely. Let the won tons boil for 5 – 8 minutes, until they rise to the top and the filling is cooked through. (During the boiling process, add 1 cup of cool water about every 2-3 minutes so that the water does not boil intensively and break apart your wontons- total of 3 cups) Remove from the pot with a slotted spoon.
Step 9: Place somewhere between 5- 10 dumplings in a large bowl (depends on how hungry your teenagers are) and then ladle with 2 ladles of pasta water over the dumplings. Simply add some salt, chopped green onion, white pepper and a little drizzle of sesame oil.
Step 10: Enjoy Lucky Shanghai hun Tun soup anytime you want a nourishing and tasty soup. Hen hao chi!!!! (Very tasty)