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Louisiana Eats! Celebrates The Lunar New Year

Kenny Louie / Flickr
The Lunar New Year is February 19, with celebrations continuing through the weekend.

Mardi Gras may be over, but festivities for the Lunar New Year have just begun! On this week's Louisiana Eats!, we celebrate the Year of the Goat the way they do in China, with a baijiu toast, courtesy of baijiu enthusiast Derek Sandhaus. Derek explains to us the story behind the ancient Chinese liquor and its recent emergence in the West.

Then we'll check in with our roving reporter Ian McNulty about this weekend's Tet Festival at Mary Queen of Vietnam in New Orleans East. Gabriella Gershonson of Every Day With Rachel Ray shows us how to host a dim sum brunch. Finally, John Georges, Master Distiller of Angostura Rum, gives us a look at how they ferment, distil and age their famous liquor.

Chinese Dumplings with Edamame & Shiitake Filling
(Makes 40 dumplings)


  • Flour, for dusting
  • 1 10 ounce package  pot sticker or gyoza wrappers (about 40 wrappers)
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • 1/2 ounce dried shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and broken into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3/4 cup diced peeled carrot
  • 1 cup frozen shelled edamame, thawed
  • 1 10 ounce package  frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon sugar
  • Salt and ground white or black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh peeled ginger
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup chopped scallions


  1. In a small bowl, combine the mushrooms and 1/2 cup warm water. Let soak until soft, 5 to 10 minutes. Drain through a strainer set over a small bowl, pressing firmly on the mushrooms to extract the liquid.
  2. Transfer the mushrooms to a food processor, reserving the soaking liquid. Pulse the mushrooms, occasionally scraping down the sides of the bowl, until finely chopped. Transfer to a medium bowl. Repeat with the carrot and edamame. Add the spinach and toss the vegetables to combine.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk the soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, 1/4 tsp. pepper, 1/4 tsp. salt and 1/4 cup of the mushroom soaking liquid. In another small bowl, stir the cornstarch with 2 tbsp. of the mushroom soaking liquid.
  4. In a wok or large skillet, heat the vegetable oil over medium. Add the ginger and garlic and stir-fry until fragrant, 15 to 30 seconds. Add the vegetables and the soy sauce mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the cornstarch mixture; stir until thickened slightly, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a bowl; stir in the scallions. Let cool completely.
  5. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment and dust with flour. Place 1 wrapper on a work surface; brush the edges lightly with water. Place the wrapper in the palm of your hand, cupping it slightly in the center. Scoop about 2 tsp. of the filling into the center of the wrapper, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Fold the wrapper in half, enclosing the filling. Press the edges firmly to seal.
  6. Pleat the dumpling's sealed edge by folding every 1/4 inch, forming 4 to 5 pleats; press firmly to seal. Transfer the dumpling to the prepared baking sheet; cover with a kitchen towel. Repeat with the remaining wrappers and filling, spacing the dumplings 1/2 inch apart on the baking sheet. 3. In a large nonstick skillet with a lid, heat 2 tbsp. oil over medium-high. Working in batches, add the dumplings, one at a time and seam-side up, to the skillet. Fry until golden, 1 to 2 minutes.
  7. Holding the lid between you and the skillet in order to protect yourself from splatters, add 1/3 cup water, then cover the skillet immediately. Reduce the heat to medium; cook 3 minutes. Adjust the lid so it's slightly ajar (this allows steam to escape). Cook until most of the water evaporates and the dumplings begin to sizzle, 1 to 2 minutes.
  8. Uncover and cook until the dumplings are browned and crispy on the bottom, 2 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat. When the dumplings stop sizzling, transfer them to a plate. Serve with the dipping sauce.

Recipe originally found at Everyday with Rachael Ray.

Poppy is the host and executive producer of the weekly show, Louisiana Eats! Food personality, culinary teacher and author, Poppy Tooker is passionate about food and the people who bring it to the table.