Way back when I was small, I would consume quite a lot of deep-fried dumplings (you jiao 油角/角仔) during Chinese New Year (CNY). I still remember that my parents tried every effort to remind me not to eat too much as the deep-fried dumplings are “yeet hay” (“熱氣” in Cantonese Chinese, literally means “hot air”) which basically means not good for health. They didn’t want me to consume too many oily foods either. Since I moved into Australia, I haven’t bought any for celebrating CNY at all for so many years. Until a while ago, an idea of baking some CNY dumplings came from nowhere. Then off I went to test the idea and made these baked dumplings with desiccated coconut and roasted peanuts inside.
The traditional ones are mainly made of plain flour and lard. After deep-frying, the crust will turn golden brown, crispy, brittle, and a bit harder than cookies. I wanted to get my baked dumplings similar to the texture of deep-fried ones, thus I chose bread flour (i.e. high protein flour), adding a little of baking powder. The end results were satisfied. They were crunchy and delicious, yet guilt-free and less oily. Once the dumplings were out from the oven, my husband took three of them in a row and commended my efforts.