When Mr. Wong opened mid last year we were thrilled to hear that Singaporean dim sum specialist Eric Koh had joined the Merivale team of Dan Hong and Jowett Yu in the kitchen. His dumplings have earned quite the reputation for their bursts of broth, fragrant fillings and delicate wrappings. So as Chinese New Year gears up for 2013 (the year of the snake), who better to ask about his New Year traditions than a dumpling master who grew up in a city proud of its Chinese New Year celebrations.

“Our traditional Chinese New Year dish is Yu Sheng,” says Koh. “It’s a must-eat dish which includes fish, prawn, chicken, pork, dumpling, rice, noodles, abalone and sea cucumber.” A dish with all the good things mixed in together, and a perfect start to the New Year. [fold]

“Every year we get together and have dinner with my parents, brother and sister, who come home from overseas. The table is filled with food, including my favourite poach dumplings and Yu Sheng, with abalone mix and lobster meat.”

But it’s the poach dumplings that Koh is bringing to the table at Mr. Wong this year – and they are laden with promise and hope for the year ahead.

“This traditional New Year dumpling symbolises good health, wealth, togetherness, everlasting liveliness, as well as happiness and family unity.”

It’s the perfect dish to sweep away the misfortunes of the year past and to prepare for a clean start. So eat up!

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Mr. Wong Poach Dumpling

There are a couple of steps, but the final dumplings are well worth the effort, as well as signifying good things for the year to come.

Dumpling filling ingredients:
300g prawn meat, finely diced
300g pork loin meat, finely diced
300g garlic chives, diced
50g bamboo shoots, diced
30g mushrooms, diced
20g egg white
¼ tsp sea salt
¼ tsp chicken powder
1 tbls sugar
¼ tbls light soy sauce
1 tbls potato starch
15g chopped ginger

Marinate prawn and pork with the egg white, sea salt, chicken powder, sugar, soy and potato starch. Mix them well to form the prawn and pork dumpling filling. Rest mixture in the fridge for 30 minutes. Add garlic chives, bamboo shoots and mushroom – dice and mix well. Rest in the fridge for 15 minutes before use.

600g plain flour
250g water
10g egg white

Place four, water and egg white in a bowl and knead them together well. When the dough has come together, rest for 30 minutes.

Roll the dough into a long strip, then cut it into small pieces that weigh 16g each. Knead each small pellet into a round ball and then press them flat to form a wrapping for spoonfuls of the filling. Place a spoonful of filling in each wrapper, pull the edges up around the filling and seal tightly. Repeat with each wrapper until all the stuffing is used up.

Bring a pot of water to the boil, add a dash of oil and put in the dumplings in to boil and simmer. Cook for 8 minutes.

Hot and spice sauce ingredients:
60g chilli oil
30g light soy sauce
60g black vinegar
5g sea salt
30g sugar
20g diced spring onion
30g finely diced garlic
1 tbls peanut oil
1 tbls sesame oil

Mix sauce ingredients together well to form a dipping sauce. Serve the dumplings in a bowl add the hot and spice sauce and spring onions.