Dumplings, or jiaozi, are considered to be the food for Chinese New Year’s Eve (everyday as well) when the whole family gathers around one dining table. Jiaozi are both delicious and nutritious. Let’s take a look at how to make dumplings so you can prepare your own traditional feast.
First, prepare the filling. The filling can be vegetable, meat, sea food, or almost anything. (If you fill the dumplings with sweet things, it would be called tang yuan, dumplings most popular in the south part of China). The usual filling combinations are: pork and Chinese cabbage, scallion and beef, or Chinese chives and egg. Of course, you need to chop them into pieces first, and mash them, together, then mix in some salt, oil, ginger, and a small amount of water.
Next, make the wrapping. (If you don’t have the patience for making the wrapping, which can be an arduous process if you haven’t done it before, go to a local market and buy a stack of the wrappers, called jiaozi pi.)Get a big bowl of flour and add in water gradually while mixing them together to form a soft dough. Knead the dough for about ten minutes, then cover the dough with a clean piece of thin cloth for about 40 minutes.
When the dough is ready, scatter a little dry flour on a dry chopping board, knead and roll the dough on it into a long, round shape, and cut it into small pieces. Press the pieces into thin, round pieces so that they can hold the filling. Be careful not to make the skins too thin, otherwise they will burst upon boiling.
Finally, hold the round wrapping piece in one hand, and add in the filling with a spoon, and wrap it into semi-circle shaped, and knead it together, sort of like crimping together the crust of a pie. After this, you can put the dumplings into boiling water.
When the dumplings come to the surface, add a bowl of cold water to the pot. When the dumplings come to the surface again, they should be done. The whole process should take about 10 minutes.
Dip it with some vinegar and sesame oil, or even chili oil if you like, and enjoy traditional Chinese cuisine!
This post first appeared on February 12, 2013.
Photos courtesy of flickr users johnsember and kattlebelletje