If the Italians have ravioli, the Chinese have jiaozi dumplings. The versatile jiaozi (饺子) – often wrapped in cornu shapes, are eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Preparing and eating jiaozi are also a tradition to welcome Chinese / Lunar New Year / Spring Festival and other joyful occasions.
Before we arrived at Xian – my first visit to Xian, an ancient capital of Chinese kingdoms, Mac Ching told us how she looked forward to having a banquet of jiaozi! She succeeded to set our expectation high.
Steamer baskets of jiaozi incessantly arrived at our table in charming presentations of multiple colors, shapes and flavors.
While a meal could be very delicious to the extent that we feel beyond blessed, it was the companionships of dearest friends (hailed from worldwide, thanks to China Synergy Program 2010*) – savoring the jiaozi together that made a dinner unforgettable, imprinted permanently in our hearts and memories.
* It is a great privilege to be a participant of China Synergy Programme; with great privilege comes great responsibility.
“To those whom much is given, much is expected.” ~ John F. Kennedy
The Japanese version of dumplings is called gyoza (ギョーザ, ギョウザ). When, I was busy and working hard in California, I once bought some frozen gyoza and packed it with my lunch box. At Urey Hall, La Jolla, I would then heat my lunch box with a microwave*. The gyoza made my relatively meatless lunch box complete!
* Now, I try to minimize using microwave, if possible.
For #AtoZChallenge on 2014 April 11 Fri, I lovingly present a jiaozi recipe.
Servings: 40 pieces
Preparation time: ~ half day (I am a beginner, please pardon me!)
Cooking time: 5 minutes or until dumplings are cooked
♥ dumpling wrappers (饺子皮)
♥ water to wet dumpling wrappers
for the filling:
♥ 350g meat (肉), grounded
♥ 250g shrimp (虾), grounded
♥ flour* (面粉), e.g. sweet potato flour, corn starch, lotus root powder
♥ 2 eggs (鸡蛋), beaten
♥ 1 firm bean curd / tofu (豆腐)
♥ 2 tbsp sesame oil (麻油)
♥ 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar (香醋)
♥ 1 tbsp honey (蜜糖)
♥ 6 cloves garlic (大蒜), minced
♥ 1 tsp ginger (姜)
♥ grounded white pepper (白胡椒), to taste
♥ 3 stalks scallion (大葱), finely chopped
♥ parsley (香菜), finely chopped (optional)
♥ chives (韭菜), finely chopped (optional)
♥ leek (韭葱), finely chopped (optional)
♥ bamboo shoots (竹笋), finely chopped (optional)
♥ lotus roots (莲藕), finely chopped (optional)
♥ black fungus / wood ear (黑木耳), minced (optional)
* adjust the amount until the filling mixture sticks
1. A faster way to finely chopped vegetables is to use food processor (Pulse mode) in few seconds. Unless you want to have pesto, pulse briefly only and not too many times.
2. Mix all ingredients for filling in a large bowl. Stir thoroughly.
3. Drop a tsp of filling into a wrapper. Fold.
4. (optional) Place dumplings individually on plastic-covered plates. Do not let them stick to each other.
5. (optional) Freeze together on plates. Once frozen, store dumplings in a box separated with plastic so that it will be easy to take them for cooking.
6. In boiled water, add dumplings to cook until they float for 5 minutes.
7. Besides (1) vinegar and sliced ginger sauce, you may also like (2) peanut dip sauce (3) hot chilli oil to accompany jiaozi dumplings.