As I mentioned earlier, I have been making Chinese food to celebrate Chinese New Year. Today I will be sharing a recipe for traditional dumplings.
I tell you, there are a lot of genius things in this world, and wrapping meat in dough and boiling it is one of them. There are a lot of different kinds of dumplings out there, but to me, this is the only real one.
Like many of the foods I make, this recipe is inspired by my grandma. Only until I made these dumplings myself could I really appreciate how amazing she is at making them. She can swiftly roll out a perfect circle of dough and wrap the dumpling before you can blink. That comes with experience, I guess.
Dumplings are one of my favorite foods, and if you've tried them before, you'll know why. The outside is chewy and the inside is flavorful and moist. I like the pork and vegetable kind, but any type of filling works. You can also pan-fry them or steam them, and they'll be delicious in a new, wonderful way. I'm always in the mood for dumplings.
Jiaozi, or dumplings are a Chinese New Year tradition. In Chinese class, I learned that the name originated from "jiaozi," the first paper currency in China. Dumplings were shaped like Chinese gold ingots, and therefore eating them symbolized wealth.
There are two different ways to wrap dumplings: the popular Northern way (commonly seen in cartoons) and the Southern way (shaped more like gold ingots). My family always does it the second way.
For some fun, I put a chestnut in one of the dumplings so that whoever got it would have "good fortune" for the year. My older sister got it. It's kind of like putting a baby in a king cake for Mardi Gras.
I hope you enjoy!
Chinese Dumplings 饺子
makes about 40 dumplings
For the Wrapper
3-1/8 cups all-purpose flour (1/8 cup = 2 tbs)
1 cup hot water (175*F)
1/2 cup room temperature water
- Slowly pour hot water over flour while stirring quickly. Stir quickly until all the water is incorporated.
- Add the room temperature water little by little, mixing until incorporated. The dough will be sticky.
- Knead the dough on a floured surface until smooth and firm, about 10 minutes. Add flour if necessary.
- Place dough in an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let sit for 10-15 minutes.
- Divide into about 40 equal pieces (a scale makes this easier). Roll pieces into a ball.
- Flatten the ball with your hand. Use a rolling pin to roll from the middle to the outside edge of the ball. Rotate the dough and repeat until you have a circle.
For the Filling
1 small head of nappa cabbage (about 12 oz), chopped into very small pieces or processed in food processor
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup of Chinese Chives, cut into small pieces
1 tsp freshly grated ginger
2/3 lb ground meat (chicken, pork, turkey)
A pinch of white pepper
1-2 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs rice cooking wine or sherry
2 tsp sesame oil
- Sprinkle the salt onto the cabbage and let sit for 10 minutes. This helps to draw the moisture out of it.
- In a medium bowl, mix the meat with the remaining ingredients.
- Squeeze out as much water as you can from the cabbage. Then mix it in to the meat mixture. Mix well.
- For more flavor, let the filling marinate for a few hours in the refrigerator before filling the dumplings.
small dish of water
- Place a small spoonful of filling into the center of the wrapper.
- Use your finger to brush some water around the edge of the dumpling wrapper.
- Fold the wrapper in half and pinch together the edges.
- Pinch the two corners together or pinch the seam together in a wavy pattern.
- Fill a large pot halfway with water and bring to a boil. Add some of the dumplings and close the lid until it is boiling again. Boil for about 5 minutes. The dumplings are ready to eat when they are floating.
- Serve warm and with vinegar. Freeze or refrigerate uncooked dumplings.