You miiiight have noticed by now that Birchbox staffers have an ever-so-slight obsession with food, from colorful (and totally yummy) vegetables to delicious smoothies. Which is why we’ve enlisted our in-house recipe guru Nicole to divulge her kitchen secrets each week, sharing seasonal ingredients, must-have tools, and new cooking methods.
I’m not an expert on Chinese dumplings, unless you count that I eat them en masse. Nevertheless, with a chill in the air and Chinese New Year just passed, I thought it would be fun to throw a dumpling party. What better way to entertain friends and keep them warm and full on a winter evening? A little research also told me that the dumpling’s half-moon shape (which resembles ancient currency) is rumored to bring prosperity. Prosperity, good for groups, and addictively delicious? Sign me up!
But where is an enthusiast to learn the ropes? After a little sleuth-work, I found a local cooking class that tackled dumpling basics. And you know what I learned in the 2 hour class?
This is easy.
The class I took was taught by food blogger Cathy Erway, and the most important takeaways are below. These two things will have you making dumplings forevermore, with nothing more than the things you already have in your pantry.
Lesson 1: You can make your own dough with just all purpose flour and water. No joke. Two ingredients.
Lesson 2: While we all have an idea of what the ‘traditional’ dumpling holds, my teacher is intent that you can literally put ANYTHING you want inside the dough and it will taste good. Just a zucchini and some feta in the fridge? Go for it. Hamburger meat that just didn’t make it into your meatloaf last night? Have at it. Broccoli and cheese? It will work. These super simple, top secret keys to dumpling success will allow me to organize a dumpling party like a pro. You can too!
First, invite friends and have them bring their favorite stuffing. Second, have them pick a station: Roll it, Stuff it, Fry it. Third, eat the dumplings. Easy. Fun. Delicious.
Getting friends involved for a common goal—to make dinner, and prosper!—is a fun way to stave off the cold, spend quality time and fill your bellies. The food tastes better with friends, and as far as I’m concerned, that is prosperity.