This time of the year is always filled with so much hustle and bustle. Wasn't Thanksgiving less than a month ago? Now Christmas is only a few days away, and before we can really recover from our food coma, another new year will roll around. For Zach and I, December is also special because we celebrate our wedding anniversary at the end of the month. We've learnt to hold our breaths and soldier through all the festivities, emerging for air only after the clock strikes twelve on new year's day.
This year, in addition to all the holiday obligations, we've also volunteered to cook Christmas eve dinner. It'll be our first time and we are looking forward to it! But before we get there, we decided to observe a little Chinese tradition that honors the winter solstice (which, according to the lunar calendar, is today). We made glutinous rice dumplings!
Dumplings are auspicious food that symbolize reunion. They are chewy little dough balls soaked in ginger syrup. You eat them warm and they make you happy. I learned how to make dumplings from my grandmother who used to let my cousins and I help her roll the dough into little balls.
Here's an adaption of her recipe ...
Glutinous rice dumplings
150gm glutinous rice flour
2 tbsp sugar
3/4 cup water
natural food coloring (optional)
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 cups water
3 tbsp ginger juice (I love Ginger People's organic ginger juice)
1/2 tsp pandan extract (optional)
To make dough:
Dissolve sugar with warm water, mix in glutinous rice flour, and knead into dough.
The dough is ready when it no longer sticks to your hand, so be sure to adjust the water level to the flour. Add more water if the dough is too dry; add more flour if it's too wet.
If you are using natural food coloring (please don't use artificial!), divide your dough into 3 portions. Add coloring to dough and knead until smooth.
Roll dough into small balls.
To make syrup:
In a large pot, bring water, sugar, ginger juice, and pandan extract to a boil.
Then lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
In a separate pot, boil enough water to cook the dumplings.
Drop the dumplings in boiling water. They are ready when they start floating to the surface.
At this time, dish out dumplings and dunk in cold water briefly, then drain.
Add to gingery syrup and serve hot.