Welcome to week 6 of Kitchen Classroom 2021, where America’s Test Kitchen Kids is sharing a weekly kid-tested and kid-approved recipe, hands-on experiment, or activity paired with a “Learning Moment” that brings learning to life in the kitchen.
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This week’s Kitchen Classroom is a Weekend Project! The whole family can gather in the kitchen for a dumpling party to fill, shape, and cook a batch of Guotie (Pot Stickers) for Chinese New Year, a recipe from My First Cookbook that’s great for all ages. Young chefs can learn all about this important holiday (falling on Friday, February 12th in 2021) and how it is celebrated in China and in Chinese communities around the world. If you have lots of hands to help out in the kitchen, you can double (or even triple!) the recipe to eat some right away and freeze some for later.
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Here’s what’s cooking for the week of February 8th through 14th, 2021.
Weekend Project: Guotie (Pot Stickers)
Welcome the Year of the Ox by making crispy, savory guotie (“GWO-tee-eh”) (pot stickers) for Chinese New Year! (Guotie translates to “pot stick” from Mandarin Chinese.) This is one of the most important (and delicious!) holidays in Chinese culture and will be celebrated in 2021 on Friday, February 12th. Setting up a dumpling assembly line is a great way to get the whole family involved in mixing the filling and then stuffing, folding, and pinching the dough to form the dumplings.
[GET THE RECIPE]
What You’ll Need
1½ cups shredded green coleslaw mix
4 ounces ground pork
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1½ teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce, plus extra for dipping
1 teaspoon hoisin sauce
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
1 scallion, chopped fine
20 (3-inch) round gyoza dumpling wrappers
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
½ cup water, plus extra for brushing
Social Studies (World Cultures):
While making your dumplings, ask kids: What do you know about Chinese New Year and how it’s celebrated? Explain to kids that Chinese New Year is an annual festival celebrated in China and in Chinese communities around the world. In China, it's most commonly known as Spring Festival, and also as Lunar New Year. It begins with the new moon that occurs between January 21st and February 20th on the Gregorian calendar (that’s the calendar we use most often, based on the Earth revolving around the sun). It is called Lunar New Year because its date is determined by the lunar calendar, which follows the phases of the moon. Chinese New Year falls on the second new moon after the winter solstice (December 21st). This year, that date is Friday, February 12th, 2021.
In Chinese culture, years are represented by a zodiac, or sheng xiao, which is a repeating cycle of 12 years. Each year is represented by a different animal that has its own special meaning. 2021 is the Year of the Ox. Explain to kids that in Chinese culture, the ox is considered to be an honest, dependable, and determined animal representing patience and achieving goals through consistent effort. The other animals represented in the Chinese zodiac are the rat, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig. You can click here to discover each family member’s Chinese zodiac sign, based on the year they were born, and learn more about the attributes of each animal.
During Chinese New Year celebrations, families decorate their homes and neighborhoods, eat a big reunion dinner with family and friends, enjoy firecrackers and fireworks, and exchange red envelopes of money and other gifts. Watch this video to see first-hand how kids celebrate in China. Dumplings are often eaten as a part of the reunion dinner. If making dumplings is a new activity for your young chef, encourage them to be patient like the ox as they try something challenging, and their hard work and effort will be rewarded.
Take It Further
Language Arts (Reading Comprehension):
After you enjoy your dumplings, young chefs can enjoy a read-aloud of How To Catch A Dragon by Adam Wallace. Use the questions below to reflect on the Chinese New Year traditions discussed in the book.
- What does the mother say will bring the family health and fortune for the New Year? (A dragon)
- What do the boy and his friends hang every year to decorate the street? (Fai chun and red lanterns)
- What were some of the foods used to try and trap the dragon? (Noodles and sticky rice)
- How did the mother react when the boy could not catch a dragon? (She hugs him and tells him she loves him best)
In the March edition of the Young Chefs’ Club, we’re going on a road trip! We’re stopping in five of the most populous states—New York, Florida, Texas, Washington state, and Illinois—to bring you recipes and stories unique to each place, from Florida Key Lime Pie to Texas Breakfast Tacos to Chicago Deep Dish Pizza, and more. Kids can play “Eat the States,” where they’ll guess U.S. states using history; geography; and, of course, food clues. And we invite them to tell us about the dishes unique to where they live on our colorable “Have Food, Will Travel” page. This box is on sale through February 28th and will arrive on doorsteps in March.