When we first began working with Teacher Shawn / Lǎoshī 老师, he explained that he planned to incorporate monthly cultural and cooking lessons as well. We were delighted to hear it! One of the first cooking lessons we undertook was learning how to make dumplings / jiǎozi 饺子. Jiaozi are one of the major foods eaten during the Chinese New Year and year round in the northern provinces. They look like the golden ingots yuan bao used during the Ming Dynasty for money and the name sounds like the word for the earliest paper money, so serving them is believed to bring prosperity.
[caption id="attachment_1659" align="aligncenter" width="533"] How much filling should I put into each wrapper?[/caption]
Jiǎozi typically consist of a ground meat and vegetable filling wrapped into a thinly rolled piece of dough, which is then sealed by pinching the edges together. Meat fillings include pork, chicken, beef, fish, and shrimp mixed with chopped vegetables, particularly cabbage, green onions, and garlic. The moon-shaped dumplings are eaten with a soy-sauce based dipping sauce that may include vinegar, garlic, ginger, rice wine, and sesame oil. After the dumplings have been prepared, there are various ways they can be cooked:
Pan fried dumplings: (guōtiē (鍋貼) literally "pan stick", known as "potstickers" in North America.
[caption id="attachment_1658" align="aligncenter" width="533"] Use a little corn starch and water to seal the edges[/caption]
We had a great time learning how to make jiǎozi 饺子. To this day, it is one of our favorite recipes. We found that we most enjoy jiǎozi 饺子 boiled, and then pan fried.