Welcoming the New Year with Good Food and Tradition
by William Tse, Centerplate Executive Chef, BC Place
‘Good fortune’, ‘good luck’, ‘wealth’, and ‘prosperity’ is the theme to most Chinese new year’s foods. Food is symbolic of beliefs in having a prosperous and fortunate year. With a slight curl of the tongue, the word “fish” can be pronounced as “surplus.” …It’s no surprise that fish is an integral part of this celebration.
But other ingredients shine and take pride of place as well: bright fruits like mandarins and tangerines; rice and minced meats are all traditional delicacies for the celebration.
It is not uncommon for everyday objects and elements to take on a symbolic significance to represent an important idea or value in the observance of a tradition. Food in many Asian cultures fits this role: it’s about sustenance, abundance, home, health, wealth, family, sharing and preparing for the future. New Year’s hopes and wishes are for a positive year… and certainly all of these items would be part of that wish.
One mainstay is the dumpling. Dumplings can come in many shapes and sizes but traditionally they are oval boat shaped and filled with cabbage and meat. Families would gather together during the late hours of New Year’s Day to prepare the dumpling. This is symbolic of reunion and is believed to bring the whole household prosperity and good luck for the year to come.
Growing up in the UK and then in Canada, many of the old school traditions have been passed down from my parents to me, and from me to my children. Adapting some these traditions to life in Canada has truly helped me appreciate the simple connections that serve as life’s special moments.
I grew up eating and falling love with dumplings. I have adapted this recipe to fit traditional but have adapted local ingredients from my home in British Columbia.
For me, this is an easy way to spend some time with my kids and pass on some of the traditions that I had instilled in me. This gives me the opportunity to spend some time with my family to help us set ourselves up for a prosperous year filled with good luck
Here at BC Place, I have Asian items that follow the philosophy as food eaten at Chinese New Year’s. We have Chinese steam buns that are filled with coconut braised short ribs or a vegetarian mixture of shitake mushrooms and tofu, bacon fried rice and steamed pork dumplings. These offerings fall in line with the food philosophy of Chinese New Year’s. They can be enjoyed by yourself or shared with friends and family.
That is, after all, the best part of our business: spending time enjoying good food and community.
Happy New Year!
Born in the United Kingdom, William Tse moved to Toronto at a young age where he started to absorb the international cultures and global flavors of the city. Moving to BC to pursue his formal training, he has worked for some of the city’s top hotels and restaurants. Chef Tse has a simple philosophy: buy local. His belief in supporting local businesses as well as using local ingredients is the foundation of his strong relationships with many local purveyors. He has been recognized in culinary competitions, and in 2013 won BC Chef of the Year, BC Chinese Chef of the Year, BC Master Chef and BC Asian chef of the year and placed third in the National Chef Challenge. His enthusiasm and his knowledge of cooking techniques combined with his creative vision and mastery of local and fresh ingredients has created a unique dining experience to delight guests.
Fraser Valley pork shoulder and house-made smoked bacon, spot prawn, shitake mushroom dumpling
Served with spiced soy with green onions
- cutting board
- mixing bowl
- nonstick fry pan
dumpling – makes 36
36 each gyoza wrappers
150 grams smoked bacon – brunoise
500 grams pork shoulder ( incorporate the fat)
150 grams spot prawn (raw) – peel & devein, rough chop
10 gr green onion – sliced
8 grm chopped garlic
8 grm chopped ginger
50 gr shitake mushrooms – brunoise
20gr shallots – finely diced
300 ml canola oil
75 ml white wine
3 tbsp. Cornstarch
1.5 tbsp. Oyster sauce
2 tbsp. Soy sauce
To taste kosher salt & ground white pepper
- Heat a medium size fry pan, add 50 ml of canola oil and let heat
- Sautee shallots with garlic and ginger
- add in diced shitake mushrooms
- let cook till golden brown
- deglaze with 75 ml of white wine ( or Chinese cooking wine)
- set aside and let cool
- set aside your gyoza wrappers – keep them refrigerated until you are going to make your dumplings
- dice bacon – you are going to proceed and hand chop the bacon till It resembles a ground meat consistency
- Dice 75 % of the pork butt – you are going to proceed and hand chop the pork shoulder till it has the consistency of a ground pork
- The remaining 25% of the pork shoulder you are going to finely dice
- Place bacon and pork shoulder into a large mixing bowl and back into the refrigerator
- Peel and devein spot prawns – with the prawns you want them a little chunkier so it will help with the texture of the dumpling, once peeled and cleaned cut the spot prawn in half lengthwise then in 1/8 increments, cut the spot prawn side to side
- Place into mixing bowl with pork and bacon
- Add in the cooled mixture of shallot, ginger, garlic and mushrooms
- Add all remaining ingredients and mix well.
- Place back into fridge and let sit for at least 15 minutes
Forming the dumpling: – you will need a bowl of water, a tablespoon
- Take the gyoza wrappers out of the packaging
- Place the wrapper flat in your palm and onto your fingers
- Using the spoon, dip spoon into water and wet the edge of ½ the gyoza wrapper
- Scoop 1 table spoon of filling into the center of the wrapper, make sure not to over fill the dumpling because you won’t be able to form the dumpling
- You want to make sure you are leaving ½ of wrapper all the way around your filling
- Fold the wrapper over till the edges meet and form a ½ moon shape
- At this point you can leave it as it or you can pleat it
- To pleat the dumpling, using your spoon place a small bead of water along the curved edge of the dumpling , no simply fold and crimp the edges to the number of desire pleats
- Place on parchment and into fridge
- Heat a nonstick fry pan – medium
- Place 2 tablespoon of canola oil into fry pan
- Place in dumplings so they are lying flat
- Add 100 ml of water and cover pan
- As the water evaporates it will steam the dumpling
- Once the water has dissipated, the dumpling will start to brown
- Cook for 5 minutes to golden brown
- Flip and repeat process
- This will brown both sided and fully cook the dumpling
Spiced soy sauce with green onions
1 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup hoisin
2 tbsp. Sesame oil
3 tbsp. Sambal oelek
100 grm green onion – minced
- place all ingredients in mixing bowl
- mix well
- place into an airtight container – let sit in refigerator for 15 minutes