Most people have a much loved dish that makes an appearance during their birthday celebrations, whether it be homemade from the family kitchen, or a decadent meal served at a favourite restaurant.
When my brother was young, he always used to request Hungry Jacks (the Australian Burger King equivalent) for his birthday dinner.
While this might have been interpreted as an insult to our mother’s cooking repertoire, it was only because the number of times we had take-away each year was so few that greasy fries and burgers were a wildly exciting treat.
Luckily, working at Hungry Jacks for four years during high school brought an end to fast-food drought and now it’s usually Mum’s roast chicken that graces the table for his birthday dinner.
As for me, I never had a textbook answer because I find it near on impossible to name a favourite dish. Perhaps if I had a whole week of birthday dinners, it might be slightly easier to decide…
But this year when asked for my birthday dinner request, the first thing I thought of was a bowl of these hearty, wholesome chicken dumplings.
Wonderfully fragrant with notes of cinnamon and white pepper, it’s one of the most comforting meals I know and warming from the inside out.
Certainly a worthy birthday dinner nominee!
jewish chicken dumplings
4 chicken breasts, minced
1 tsp white pepper
½ tsp cinnamon
½ cup breadcrumbs
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 stick celery, diced and blanched
400g can chopped tomatoes
Heat a glug of olive oil in a large saucepan and sauté the garlic over low heat until softened.
Add the celery pieces and continue to fry gently for several minutes before adding the chopped tomatoes.
Season with sea salt, cover and let simmer on very low while you prepare the dumplings.
In a large bowl, whisk the egg with white pepper and cinnamon. Add the breadcrumbs and minced chicken, mixing well to ensure all ingredients are thoroughly combined.
Mould into walnut-sized dumplings and carefully place into the simmering tomato sauce.
Cover and cook for 15 – 20 minutes or until the dumplings are cooked all the way through.
Serve steaming hot, over wholegrain or risotto-style rice.