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					Happy Lunar New Year colleagues and friends! Cuisine & Culture wishes you, and those from China
and other Asian countries in particular who celebrate Spring Festival to usher in each and every lunar
new year, a year of grace, happiness, peace and success!

For colleagues who are unfamiliar with the Chinese and other Asian cultures, Cuisine & Culture presents
the following brief description of the lunar year system which, allegedly coinciding with an ancient
agricultural calendar that bases itself on the cycles of the moon, dates back to approximately 2600 BC,
when Yuhuang Dadi (the Jade Emperor of Heaven) introduced the first cycle of the Chinese zodiac.
Legends abound as to how said zodiac came into being. One has it that on one of his birthday
anniversaries the Emperor invited all the animals on earth and heaven to join in celebrations. Only 12
showed up, however, for the party, who were Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat,
Monkey, Dog, and Pig.

For their loyalty, the Emperor honoured each party animal with a year of its own in the above order
which makes up a cycle of twelve. Because of cyclical lunar dating, the first day of each lunar year can
fall anywhere between late January and mid-February. This year, it falls on February 9, 2005—Lunar
Year 4703, the Year of the Rooster.

                 What's Your Chinese Zodiac Sign?

                    Rat                              1960 1972 1984 1996
                    Ox                               1961 1973 1985 1997
                    Tiger                            1962 1974 1986 1998
                    Rabbit                           1963 1975 1987 1999
                    Dragon                           1964 1976 1988 2000
                    Snake                            1965 1977 1989 2001
                   Horse                            1966 1978 1990 2002
                   Sheep                            1967 1979 1991 2003
                   Monkey                           1968 1980 1992 2004
                   Rooster                          1969 1981 1993 2005
                   Dog                              1970 1982 1994 2006
                   Pig                              1971 1983 1995 2007

Please note the lunar calendar New Year determines which zodiac sign you fall under. If
you were born in early January you should follow the zodiac symbol for the previous year.
If you were born in late January or early February it gets tricky. You need to find out when
the lunar year began during that particular calendar year. If the year you were born is not
listed, keep adding twelve to your birth year until you match one of the years listed.

Again, as legend goes, when the 12 party animals were honored with a year of its own for
their loyalty it was also decreed that henceforth those born in the year of the animal would
assume the nature and characteristics of that animal. Cuisine & Culture, however, would
stop short on that, for anything further gets tantalizingly close to superstition.

Asia, however, is full of possibilities for anyone seeking the help of the divine. The Chinese,
with a civilization of over 5,000 years, have produced some of the best ways by which
fortune may be met and misfortune kept in check. For those who’re indeed interested you
may want to take a look at the Chinese Horoscope to get further mystified.

Cuisine & Culture, however, can’t wait to introduce to you Chinese dumplings, or Jiaozi, as a
holiday delicacy to feature this special edition.

                             Chinese Dumpling
Chinese dumplings or Jiaozi, usually with meat and vegetable fillings, present a traditional
Chinese food, essential during holidays in China.

The history of Jiaozi dates back some 500-600 years. As the Spring Festival marks the start
of a lunar new year, Chinese are fond of Jiaozi at family gatherings to connote their wishes
for good fortune in the New Year.

Chinese Dumpling and Culture
New Year's Food
Chinese dumpling is one of the most important food items served during the Spring Festival
to usher in the Lunar New Year. Since the shape of Chinese dumplings is similar to ancient
Chinese gold or silver ingot, they symbolize wealth. Traditionally, members of a family get
together to make dumplings on New Year's Eve. They may hide a coin in one of the
dumplings. Whoever eats upon the one with the coin is believed to be likely in for good
fortune during the New Year.
Family Link
Making dumplings is really a team work. Usually family members will join in the work. Most
Chinese learned to make dumplings when they were kids.
Sending Off Friends
Chinese dumpling is often the food for sending off friends or family members away on a
long journey.

There is no set rule as to what makes dumping fillings. They can be anything from
vegetables, meat to seafood. Whatever the fillings, the wrapping skill needs to be exquisite
to make Jiaozi look attractive.
*1 lb. ground pork (or beef)
*1 spoon of sesame oil
*1 spoon of sugar
*1/2 spoon of salt
*1/3 pepper
*1/2 lb. cabbage
*1/4 lb. chopped green onions
*2 lb. flour
*0.75 c. cold water
*1/12 lb flour (to prevent sticking during kneading)
vinegar (white or rice)
garlic (fresh, chopped fine, or powdered)
ginger (fresh, chopped fine, or powdered)
small bowl ofwater for dipping

How to Make Chinese Dumplings?
To make Chinese dumplings, first of all, chop the meat into pieces and mince them, then
add salt, sesame oil, soy sauce, ginger, scallions, and Chinese cabbage. Mix thoroughly the
ingredients; add two spoons of water or an egg if necessary. In a big bowl, add water to
flour gradually. Mix and knead by hand to form soft dough, then cover it with towel and let
it sit for about an hour before scattering some dry flour on the board, kneading and rolling
the dough into sausage shaped about 5 centimeters in diameter. Now chop it into small
pieces and press each piece with your hand to get a small pancake shaped Pizi--wrapping.
Finally, hold the Pizi with your palm and put the filling in the center and wrap it into a half-
moon shape before sealing the edges. Voila, there you have the Chinese dumplings.

Ways of Serving
Ways of serving Chinese dumplings vary from place to place. Generally, Chinese dumplings
are boiled in steaming clear water and served dry with vinegar, soy sauce, garlic and
sesame or pepper oil if one likes them hot and spicy. They can be pan fried as well. To do so
just put the cooked but already cold dumplings in a fry pan, add some oil and water before
gently frying them until the bottom of each dumplings turns crispy brown. Serve them with
the same aforesaid sauce.

For those preferring dumplings the non-Chinese way, Cuisine & Culture offers the following
recipe just for a change.
               Chicken Dumplings (non-Chinese Way)

              A 5-6 lb. chicken or hen

              1 quart of water

              1 cup of milk

              1 teaspoon of salt

              1 egg

              1 egg yolk

              1 tablespoon of shortening

              3 cups of flour

              salt (season to suit taste)

Put water into a large pot and bring to a boil.

Cut the hen/chicken into pieces. Place the pieces into the pot of boiling water.

Reduce heat and simmer for about 2 ½ hours or until chicken is tender.

While the hen/chicken is cooking, make the dumplings.

Combine the milk, salt, eggs, shortening, and flour in a bowl.

Stir ingredients until a ball forms (add more flour if needed)

Use a rolling pin to roll out the dough into a very thin sheet.

Cut the dough into 1- inch strips.
Then cut the dough into ½ inch squares.

Once the chicken or hen has completely cooked, separate the meat from the bone.

Drop the bones back into the pot and put the meat aside. Tip: Leaving the chicken bones in
the pot keeps the dumplings from sticking to the bottom and burning.

Then add the dumpling squares into the pot a few squares at a time until all the dumpling
squares have been added.

Cook the dumplings until they are done. (They should float when they are completely

Next put the chicken or hen back into the pot with the dumplings. Let simmer just long
enough to heat the chicken/hen.

Add salt.

Serve hot and enjoy.

From the Editor:
Cuisine & Culture sources its materials online through a variety of sites
and channels, which, for reason of simplicity, are omitted but can be
provided upon request. Certain materials come in languages other than
English which Cuisine & Culture renders into English to the best of its
ability. Cuisine & Culture is not in a position to verify the accuracy of
the materials obtained online and provided herein. Reader’s discretion is
kindly advised.

A Special Acknowledgement of Thanks from Cuisine & Culture

Cuisine & Culture wishes to express its heartfelt thanks to Kevin Wambura
of the ITS team for his technical assistance and is hereby extremely
pleased to retain Kevin as Technical Advisor to Cuisine & Culture.
Preview of the March Issue---Are You Keeping up with Your New Year Health-Related

Cuisine & Culture
Weihua Tang/Editor


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