If you missed Chinese New Year on the 23rd, here’s a kitchen adventure for you to celebrate a few days late!
Chinese dumplings, or jiaozi, are absolutely delicious. These specimens may not look like a culinary masterpiece, but they were gone too quickly for anyone to get a better picture!
You can make these with many different kinds of filling, combining various types of meat, vegetables, and spices. Here are a few of the many recipes available online. (If you’re interested in exploring more Chinese cooking, I also recommend this book.)
A dipping sauce may add some extra flavor—though with delicious filling, you’ll hardly need it!
You can also choose between premade wrappers or homemade dough. (A tip: Square wonton wrappers are often easier to find. If you buy these, a round biscuit cutter still makes them a fairly simple option.)
Now, the real fun of making dumplings! Some real pros taught me how last year, and I fell in love with the tradition.
Sitting around chatting while you do the fancy folding is the best part! And don’t be intimidated. As long as you get the dough sealed around the filling, you’re good!
My first attempts were pretty pitiful. Here’s the explanation that helped me master it:
Hold the wrapper in your hand, and spoon a small amount of filling onto it.
(If you’re using premade wrappers, you may need to wet the edges so it will seal. Just dip your finger in water and run it around the outside of the circle.)
Now, here’s how you get the nice, pleated look:
…leaving the top edge much longer than the bottom.
If you don’t get it sealed tightly, your beautiful dumpling won’t survive.
Now they’re ready to cook! Steamed dumplings are my favorite, but you can fry them too (potstickers).
Grab some chopsticks or a fork, and have a happy new year!