Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Chinese New Year - 春节!

Wow, this month has been a tremendously busy month for Dumpling and I. Besides our usual thematic HS practice, I decided to simultaneously work on a Chinese New Year theme. It has been challenging (yes, am a bit of a masochist) but I really did not want Dumpling to go through the motion of Chinese New Year without some understanding of the significance behind it.

In one of my previous posts, I wrote about baking pineapple tarts. On the morning of Chinese New Year Day 1, Dumpling, my helper and I made Dumplings: 饺子. Dumplings are traditionally made more in the northern part of China and it symbolises "prosperity" as the shape is similar to gold nugget/ingots. 

I decided to make it with Dumpling as it was easy and also because we were visiting her Great Grandma. Cooked with Mee Suan 面线, it would be easy for Great Grandma to chew on. Besides, 面线 traditionally symbolises longevity so hey, what's not to like about the dish?

We mixed marinated minced pork (a dash of pepper, some corn flour and oyster sauce) with fish paste I bought from the wet market stalls (those that sells uncooked Yong Tau Foo). The mix we use is about 1:1 :) The Dumpling skin of course can be bought from NTUC or even from the same Yong Tau Foo store.

Dumpling helped with separating the Dumpling "skin"

Child labour :p

Dab the edges with either egg white or corn flour mixed with water to seal the edges.
Voila! This is truly a quick 20mins job!

Mum's belief is that the first meal of the year must be good and hence, I added slices of abalone with the dish.


Craft wise, for the Chinese New Year theme, Dumpling and I made the usual lanterns, dragon puppet craft, etc. over the span of 2 - 3 weeks. However, one craft which I waited one full year to do which has been at the back of my mind is doing a painting of 梅花: Plum Blossoms. A tall task with a 3 year old? Absolutely not!

This is a beautiful, beautiful craft and is both fun and easy. Here's a quick look walk through!

What you need:
- Black poster colour diluted with water in palette
- Straws (shorter straws work better for younger kids)
- Finger paints
- Drawing paper

Sprinkle some ink splotches and blow on it with straws. These serve as the "branches" of the Plum Blossom tree

See how the ink is spreading out?

Using finger paints, dab the tips of fingers with red / pink paint and place it on the end of the "branches" to form the Plum Blossoms 

In Art, I always try to remind myself that there should not be any "fixed" rules / be too focused on techniques especially when they are so young. But when Dumpling tried to make the prints using the entire length of her pointer (and with all of them looking to point in the same direction), I could not help but to redirect her to use only tips. 

This did not sit well with her and so I backed off only to realise later that Dumpling's free form style of painting looks really good!

While I was so focused on being asthetically balanced, Dumpling's version had more depth to it. Well, guess what do I know huh? LOL

Can you guess which is Dumpling's?

And finally, to all readers of this blog and to all my friends, here's wishing you a Blessed and Prosperous Lunar New Year - 新年快乐!


  1. This is a great idea for this year's CNY decor! I'm going to give it a try!

    1. Liza: it's super fun! The kids must know how to blow into straws ya?!? :p Take pic and post up to share please!

  2. thanks for sharing this, it's very pretty and looks easy!

    1. Hey Katherine, thanks for the kind words and for popping by. It was loads of fun as we huffed and puffed our way across the paper! LOL :)


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