FIGURE: Dumpling with cu (醋，chinese vinegar)
Dumpling 饺子 (jiao zi) is very popular in the north, including, Beijing. Tian Jin, I heard, is very famous for the dumpling. There are lots of restaurants selling dumpling but the best dumpling experience tip for living in China is to cook it yourself. If you can't, try to get invited by Chinese family who will make homemade dumpling. Why? Because NOTHING can compare to a good homemade dumpling. The homemade one is fresh and we can pick the best possible ingredients. The most common dumpling is pork with bai cai (白菜 bái cài) but there are many other variations like using mushrooms, all veggie, etc. Dumpling is not an ordinary dish.
Dumplings are served during important event like Chinese new year, family gathering, birthday and other important events. The idea is not only to eat but also to make the dumpling. Dumpling takes a long time to make (to buy the ingredients, to prepare, to wrap one by one and so on). While making it, people (friends/family) are socializing, chatting, etc.
You can pretty much put anything inside for example mushroom, little dried shrimp, eggs, etc. I will show you how to make basic dumpling: pork, shrimp and bai cai. The idea is to have meat:vegetable=1:1. In other words, you want to have the proportion of meat and
vegetable to be the same. Be sure to cut them very little though, about 1 mm long, wide and height. They vegetables have to be all finely chopped. Otherwise it won't taste good. Don't use food processor to ground them either. It will taste really bad! See picture, see how "little" I cut ginger, leek, and the leaf of chinese cabbage. This is good for my standard, but not for average Chinese. My father-in-law definetely would think this are still too big.
Dumpling is a healthy food, it has little bit of meat, little bit of vegetables and flour (carbohydrate). To eat it, we usually dip it with chinese vinegar 醋(cù). Enjoy!
RECIPE - just a sample, you can always adjust the taste according to your desire
Pork 1 lb
Shrimp 1 lb
Bai cai (chinese cabbage) 1
Flour 4 cups
Ginger 2 cm
Leek 1 (a big green onion, very common in China 大葱dà cōng)
Sesame oil 1 tablespoon
Water, salt as needed
. Cut the cabbage very little, use only the leaf part. You can also use the stem, but if you want to do so, put salt and let it sit for 1/2 hour. Squeeze all the water out.
. Ground the pork and shrimp.
. Cut the ginger, green onion finely too about 1 mm in length, width and height.
. Combine all together, season with salt, beaten egg.
. Scoop one by one and wrap them
. To cook: Boil water in a pot. Put the dumpling in and cook about 8 minutes. For the dumpling expert, usually they add 1 cup of cold water 3x in between.
Put one layer by one layer dumpling in the freezer.
After they are frozen, put them all in a plastic bag in a freezer. It lasts for months. When cooking it, it'll take longer time than the fresh dumpling since it's frozen.
HOW to make dumpling skin
The easiest is to buy in store. But, the homemade one is more delicious since I always think the one in store is too thick. The thinner the better, in my opinion.
To make is the same as making bread but put no yeast.
4 cups flour
2 cups water
salt!! Really important, without salt, it won't be as delicious!
. You can always adjust the amount of flour and water. Knead the flour and the water, let it sit, covered.
. When ready to wrap the dumpling, cut the dough into little pieces. About 1/2 inch in width, length, height should be enough. Roll it with wooden stick. Be generous in flour, make a round thin shape.
Dumpling can be fried too. It's another delicious dish.
Heat oil, add hot pepper and hua pepper. When hot, add dumpling. Put 1/2 cup of water, cover. Keep checking though, don't let them stick to the pot. Add coriander.
One way to deal with leftover dumpling is to fry it. Make sure that dumplings are completely cool, however.
Heat 1 tablespoon of oil, put dumpling in. Cover but keep checking. Add a little bit of water whenever it becomes too hot or too dry. Cover but keep checking. Done when the dumpling is hot, about 5 minutes.
Copyright 2009 KellyElin. All rights reserved.
Last updated 2016