A Pork Dumpling Lesson To Ring In The Year Of The PigPlay
Billions of people around the world are celebrating the Lunar New Year by sitting down to big meals with family and friends.
Many Chinese know it as the spring festival — a time when the darkest days of winter give way to the year's first signs of new life. The 15-day holiday is also famous for its food.
Yu Yan Su — or Su, as most people call her — teaches cooking classes at the Pao Arts Center in Boston's Chinatown, and on a recent afternoon, she taught Here & Now's Peter O'Dowd how to make a staple of the Lunar New Year celebration: pork dumplings.
She starts with the filling: a mix of fresh corn and ground pork, a splash of chicken broth and a pinch of chicken bouillon. Sometimes cooks will hide a gold coin or white thread inside to symbolize longevity and wealth.
Then Su stirs and stirs and stirs, all by hand.
"For me, I like most things hand-mixed," Su says. "You can feel it by your hand. Like you feel it's soft or it's hard."
You can just touch it and know when you've got it right, she says.
For the dumpling wrappers, Su buys packs of 50 little disks of dough and folds each by hand. The dumplings are cooked in boiling water, and then tossed into a pan with canola oil to sizzle until they're golden brown.
Making dumplings is something the whole family does together, Su says. Everyone from her 92-year-old grandfather to the little ones join in. It's a symbol of the meaning of Lunar New Year.
"We want everybody to at that day all sit around the table, everybody together," Su says. "That means, for my family, new year is together."
Peter O'Dowd produced this interview and edited it for broadcast with Chris Ballman. Samantha Raphelson adapted it for the web.
This segment aired on February 15, 2019.