This year, Chinese New Year starts on February 19.
Are you ready?
We are thrilled to be working with We All Live in The Forbidden City Education Program this year, and sharing a great traditional Chinese recipe with you, info on Chinese New Year, and a great giveaway!
Their website has great games, teaching activities and books to read with your kids, to understand the meaning behind Chinese New Year, and their Forbidden City!
We will be moving from the Year of the Horse (my sign) to the Year of the Sheep, under the Chinese astrological calendar.
And if you're thinking, I thought it was Year of the Goat, technically you are right. The Chinese word yang means "a ruminant mammal, generally with horns on its head." That can then be divided into many different types of mammals, including the goat and sheep. SO it is actually BOTH! Confused yet?
Those born in the Year of the Sheep include those born in 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, and 2003.
They are generally believed to be mild-mannered, shy, stable, sympathetic, amicable, and brimming with a strong sense of kindheartedness and justice. Great career choices for them are pediatricians, daycare teachers, interior designers, florists, hair stylists, and art history teachers. There is a lot to check out in the Chinese Astrological Calendar, and it has a LONG history, having been founded during the Zhou dynasty, around 1046–256 BC! There is a huge celebration every year in the Chinese community, to celebrate the New Year.
Dumplings, called jiaozi in Mandarin, have been popular in China for hundreds of years. They’re especially popular on Chinese New Year. What better way to celebrate than to make your own dumplings! The recipe below is for a traditional pork and chive filling, but the great thing about dumplings is that you can make all sorts of different fillings.
Make Your Own New Year Dumplings! Recipe provided by China Institute, publisher of two fantastic kids books.
Dumpling (jiaozi) Dough:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups cold water
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pork & Chive Filling:
1 cup ground pork (can also use beef)
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
3 Tablespoon sesame oil
/2 green onion, finely minced
1 1/2 cups finely shredded Napa cabbage
4 Tablespoons shredded bamboo shoots
2 slices fresh ginger, finely minced
1 clove garlic, peeled and finely minced
1. Stir the salt into the flour. Slowly stir in the cold water, adding as much as is necessary to create a smooth dough. Don't add more water than is necessary.
2. Turn out dough onto lightly floured surface and knead the dough into a smooth ball. \
3. Cover the dough and let it rest for at least 30 minutes.
4. While the dough is resting, prepare the filling ingredients. Add the soy sauce, salt, rice wine, and white pepper to the meat, stirring in one direction. Add the remaining ingredients, stirring in the same direction, and mix well.
5. Now, prepare the dough for the dumplings. First knead the dough until it forms a smooth ball. Divide the dough into 60 pieces.
6. Roll each piece out into a circle about 3-inches in diameter to create the dumpling wrappers.
7. Place a portion (about 1 Tablespoon) of the filling into the middle of each dumpling wrapper. Wet the edges of the dumpling with water. Fold the dough over the filling into a half moon shape and pinch the edges to seal.
8. Continue with the remainder of the dumpling wrappers.
9. To cook the dumplings, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add half the dumplings, giving them a gentle stir so they don't stick together.
10. Bring the water to a boil, and add 1/2 cup of cold water. Cover and repeat.
11/ When the dumplings come to a boil for a third time, they are ready.
12. Drain and remove. If you want, they can be pan-fried at this point.
13. Repeat this process for the second half of dumplings.
Post a photo of your dumplings to China Institute’s Facebook page at and the chef with the yummiest looking batch will receive a free copy of their We All Live in the Forbidden City book
The China Institute has 2 books that really help kids to understand the history of China.
This is the Greatest Place!
(Brian Tse, author Alice Mak, illustrator Ben Wang, translator; Nancy S. Steinhardt, editor ).
Rabbit is eating breakfast with his friends Baby Squirrel, Young Porcupine, and Little Brother Panda when an unexpected visitor arrives. He is a master builder, searching for inspiration to design a great palace for the Emperor of China. Together, Uncle Builder and the little animals explore how nature supplies us with the wonders that enrich our lives. Created by internationally renowned children’s book artists Brian Tse and Alice Mak, this book teaches children about Chinese architecture, how nature’s influence can be seen around us, and how people and animals can live together in harmony. The illustrations capture the majesty of both the natural world and the Forbidden City and are enhanced by interactive components for readers, including a gatefold spread and lift-flaps. Aimed at ages 4-8
In the Forbidden City
(Chiu Kwong-chiu, author Design and Cultural Studies Workshop, design and illustrations Ben Wang, translator; Nancy S. Steinhardt, editor )
Serving as the seat of imperial power for six centuries, the Forbidden City is one of China’s most famous and enigmatic landmarks. Accompanied by a mischievous cat, readers will tour this colossal architectural structure, discovering the secrets hidden inside the palace walls. They will encounter the people who have walked through its halls and gardens, including emperors, empresses, and rebel leaders, and hear exciting tales about the power struggles and intrigues of everyday life. This large format book conveys the grandeur of the Forbidden City through highly detailed line drawings of its buildings, gardens, and courtyards with numerous foldout spreads. Each page is populated by a large variety of characters and peppered with entertaining anecdotes. Every book includes a plastic magnifying glass for looking at the drawings more closely.
One BTHM reader will win In The Forbidden City,
so that they can share the wonders of the Great Palace with their kids!
China Institute was founded in 1926 by a group of distinguished American and Chinese educators including John Dewey, Hu Shih, Paul Monroe and Dr. Kuo Ping-wen. It is the oldest bicultural organization in America devoted exclusively to China. China Institute advances a deeper understanding of China through programs in education, culture, business and art in the belief that cross-cultural understanding strengthens our global community.