Appetizers Galore: Spring Rolls, Sticky Rice Balls, Pan Fried Dumplings, and Wonton Soup
Easy, Go To Appetizers!
In the Chinese culture, food plays a very important role. Strong traditions, symbolic meaning, and meal planning are taken into strong consideration. The Chinese believe eating well-prepared meals can bring closeness and harmony with family and friends. According to Bejing Cuisine, “There is an old saying in China: Food is the first necessity of man.” Traditional and symbolic foods date back to the beginning of Chinese history passed down from generation to generation. Food planning is at the top of the list when celebrating birthdays, weddings, and holidays. It takes time to prepare the foods carefully and around the traditions of the season. Have fun!
Need an idea for preparing a yummy meal to serve for the Lantern Festival? Look no further, Tang-Yuan is a perfect addition to any meal and even better, it symbolizes reunion and harmony.
Recipe: Crispy Baked Chicken Spring Rolls
Prep Time – 30 minutes
Service Size/Amount – 12 rolls
1 tb minced garlic
2 tsp minced ginger
1 tb sesame oil
1 tsp olive oil
1 pound ground chicken
1 cup green cabbage, finely shredded
2 scallions chopped finely
1 cup sliced Shiitake mushrooms
2 tsp hoisin sauce
12 7” spring roll wrappers
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large pan, saute the ginger and garlic in both oils. Add the chicken and saute until fully cooked. Add the mushrooms and saute until wilted. Remove pan from heat and drain out liquid. Stir in cabbage, scallions and hoisin sauce. Combine well and transfer mixture to a large bowl and let cool for approximately 10 minutes.
Arrange the spring roll wrappers on a dry work area and place 3- 4 tb of chicken mixture in the center of each wrapper. Roll the wrapper tightly around the mixture while folding the edges inward. Dip your finger in water to moisten the edge to seal the wrapper shut.
Arrange the rolls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper in a single layer. Brush the tops with remaining olive oil and bake for 10 – 12 minutes until golden brown and crispy rotating rolls at 6 minutes.
Recipe: Sticky Rice Balls with Peanuts
Prep Time – 45 minutes
Service Size/Amount – Approximately 20 balls
2 tsp sesame seeds
1 cup ground peanuts
½ cup sugar
2 cup glutinous rice flour
1 ½ cup lukewarm water
Water for boiling
Toast sesame seeds in a pan over medium heat stirring frequently until lightly browned. Remove and cool.
In a small bowl, combine seeds, peanuts and sugar.
In a large bowl, add rice flour and slowly add water. Combine until a soft dough is formed. Knead until no longer sticky. Divide and roll dough into approximately 1” balls.
Keep formed balls covered with a damp cloth while working.
Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and add balls. Cook for 2 – 3 minutes or until the balls float to the top. Remove the rice balls shaking off excess liquid and roll in peanut mixture.
Recipe: Pan Fried Dumplings
Prep Time – 30 minutes
Service Size/Amount – 10 – 15 depending on size
1 pound ground beef
8 thinly sliced scallions
1 tsp minced ginger
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp salt
30 dumpling wrappers
2 tb canola oil
2 tb water
Allow dumpling wrappers to soften at room temperature.
In a large bowl, combine ground beef, ginger, sesame oil, and salt. Stir until mixture becomes smooth and sticky. Stir scallions into the mixture.
Place wrappers on a dry working surface and scoop 1 tb of beef mixture to middle of the wrapper. Dip finger into water and run along edges to create a seal after folding wrapper in half. Make sure to pinch the edges well. Cover with a damp cloth.
Heat oil in a nonstick pan over medium heat until hot. Add dumplings to pan in a single layer and cook for about 5 minutes or until browned on the bottom.
Add 2 tb water over dumplings and cover with a lid. Let the dumplings steam for approximately 5 minutes until cooked through. Transfer dumplings to a plate and serve.
Recipe: Wonton Soup
Prep Time – One hour
Service Size/Amount – Serves 4 – 6
2 ½ cup chicken stock
2 ½ cup water
1 t soy sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 oz ginger slices (3 – 4” thick)
2 green onions cut in half
Salt and pepper to taste
4 ounces ground pork, chicken or beef
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp dry sherry or Shaoxing wine
1 tsp cornstarch
½ tsp sugar
½ tsp sesame oil
¼ tsp ground ginger
1 garlic clove
1 finely chopped green onion
Pinch of pepper
20 wonton wrappers
In a large pot, add all soup ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 – 15 minutes. Turn off heat and set aside.
In a medium size mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients for the wontons. Mix well until the cornstarch is mixed in with wet ingredients.
Place wonton wrapper in your hand or a dry surface and add 1 teaspoon filling to center. Use finger dipped in water to cover the edges. Fold in half to make a triangle and pinch edges together. If desired, curve wonton to make the traditional curved shape. Place wontons 1” apart on a parchment lined baking sheet.
Bring soup to a boil and carefully add wontons. Cook for 10 – 15 minutes. Add salt and pepper.
Transfer to a serving bowl and serve. Yummy!
Wow! Where do you begin? You can use the recipes above, or search out your own. Have your host student help you make the right choices and involve them in the preparation asking questions along the way about the symbolism of each food.
- Justtaste: https://www.justataste.com/crispy-baked-chicken-spring-rolls-recipe/
- Kawalingpinoy: https://www.kawalingpinoy.com/sticky-rice-balls-peanuts/
- Savorytooth: https://www.savorytooth.com/pan-fried-chinese-dumplings/
- Tastemade: https://www.tastemade.com/videos/easy-wonton-soup
- Thespruce: https://www.thespruce.com/planning-and-serving-chinese-meals-695006
- Ethnomed: https://ethnomed.org/clinical/nutrition/chinese_food_cultural_profile
- Bejing Cuisine: http://iml.jou.ufl.edu/projects/fall09/chen_x/china_food_culture.html