Sweet Glutinous Rice Dumplings with Black Sesame

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This is my interpretation of my grandma’s (my mom’s side) recipe. It is a dish from a specific region in China called “Chaozhou/Chiuchow 潮州”. My grandma is from Chiuchow. The original name of this snack is “Lok Tang Ci 落湯糍”, but most people will know this as “Nuomici 糯米糍”. Why is this sweet snack being served on Chinese New Year? It is because the word “Ci 糍” sounds almost exactly like the word “Chin 錢 (money)” in Chiuchow dialect. The dumplings are the symbol of wealth.

The dumplings should be made on New Year eve. On the first day of New Year, everyone in the family will go to grandma’s house. We greet each other, give red packets, receive red packets, sit around, eat and chat. These dumplings are one of the things that everyone loves. When the steaming hot dumplings come out of the kitchen and arrive on a table, everyone would run over with a pair of chopsticks and munch on their dumplings. Great memory!

One really interesting thing: My mom and my aunt are never allowed to eat the dumplings. It is because they are married. In Chinese culture, when a daughter married someone, she is the member of the husband’s family. Any family traditions from the daughter’s side of the family will not pass down to the daughter. And the daughter is considered an outsider. Since the dumplings symbolize wealth, my mom never got to eat the dumplings after she got married. But this year, my grandma has suddenly changed the rule to allow my mom to eat under one condition. No take out. (No money is being taken away from the family). Mom said that she hasn’t eaten that for 30 years. Haha… Lucky mom!

But yes, these little dumplings are gooey. Dip as much sugar as you want when eating. Don’t start talking when eating. I don’t think anyone will understand you when you have that sticky dumpling in your mouth. It is fun and tasty, and it will bring you wealth! Have a great new year!

P.S. Special thanks to my fifth uncle for helping out with the background information and recipe tips! I can’t finish this post without his help.

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Pork Gyoza

When I go to a Japanese restaurant, I always look for gyoza in the menu. Some places have really good homemade gyoza, but some other just use pre-made frozen gyoza. In that case, it is better just to make your own gyoza. Since making gyoza is a bit time-consuming, I tried to make many at one time. The leftover can be stored in the freezer for later. These little gyoza had crispy skins and juicy fillings. The garlic chives gave the gyoza a strong rich flavors and the cabbage balanced it out. When I made the gyoza, Bryan and I would only ate them for dinner. Pile and pile of gyoza!

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