Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Food from our heart

This is one very popular dish among the Chinese culture. In China, it is being made during the Chinese New Year and family gatherings too, I think. It is simple fare that every Chinese family could make –ingredients are readily available and economical.

But to me this dish brings back memories of my father and grandmother. Yes, Father went to China and brought my Grandma back to Malaysia during the Communist Revolution. She came into our lives and bring with her the cuisine that she knew and which later became our favourites as we grew up. I can still remember she making the Nine-Layer Kueh for her own Birthday every year from scratch – from sorting the rice, and grinding them to a paste and to watching over the fire when steaming them.

However there is this dish that I can make and which was taught by her- Chive Dumpling.

This dish conjured back memories of bonding, togetherness, family fun, laughter and full bellies! Our children used to join in the fun and we always take the opportunity to relate to them about this dish.

When we were small , food has to be simple and easy to make (to fill the hungry mouths) and plentiful (to fill our bellies). So this dish fits the bill alright as I had 10 siblings.

The preparation of this dish would begin with scrubbing clean the square wooden table top. It was laid down on the floor. Glass bottles of all sizes were cleaned and dried. We then gathered around the table top. Grandma would then start to mix the dough. Plain water and flour mix together and kneaded till soft and smooth. Then she rolled them into long stick and then cut into small round. We –my sisters will be readied with glass bottles and we rolled the dough into small disc ready to be filled. Sometime, we played with the flour and whenever my youngest brother wanted to join and we gave him a piece of dough and his milk bottle as a rolling pin!

Meanwhile, my mother will be preparing the fillings. Minced the pork (by hands) chop, chop chop (imagine around 3 kgs- she got pretty strong arms – I mean figuratively to carry us throughout life).

There is always enough to fill us up (yes, we would boast who eat the most) and leftovers were kept for the following morning breakfast before we go to school which we always looked forward to.

The older generation had left us. Yet this is one dish which is a favourite of ours and our spouses and to our children and hopefully to their children.

We would make this whenever the other siblings return from overseas for holidays and we had a good time catching up with each other and talking about everything under the sun while making these dumplings. I would like to think that this dish binds us together no matter what our differences are and we can pass this on to the next generation.


To serve 4

1 kg Plain flour
2 eggs
enough water around 1 rice bowl or more

1. Mix together with form a pliable dough
2. knead till smooth and elastic.
3. Rest dough


500 gms minced pork (a bit of fat is ok and its better to chop by hand- got the texture)
300 prawns (cut into small cubes- no need to mince)
a bunch of chives (more or less depending on own choice) washed and cut into 1 cm lengths
1 egg
salt, pepper and sesame oil
Mix together in one direction till a bit starchy.

Roll dough into small disc
Stuff with fillings and pleat them together
Cook in boiling water till they float up (around 15-20 minutes depending on size of dumpling)
Enjoy with chili sauce – especially the “Kampong Koh” Brand or any garlic type.

Here we are - making the Chive Dumpling when the family gathered together in September for my niece's wedding.

My sister, Yoke and May kneading and rolling out the dough

May cutting the dough -she is very good at this- even size !

rolling out the dough

This stage is usualy done by the "experts" who know how to pleat the dough to encase the fillings

Boil the dumpling in boiling water till they float up

Dish up and serve

Sometimes, we serve this with a vegetable soup (I remember we used to drink the water itself as a soup!)

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