Making Jiaozi (饺子)

Dumplings come in many forms in many countries with sundry fillings and dough textures. I love most kinds and also take advantage of the times I am in China to eat my fill of them, along with other pastry delights such as xianbing (馅饼), baozi (包子), shuijiao (水饺, which often gets confused in my pronunciation with 睡觉, i.e., go to bed) and huntun (馄饨, often called “wonton” in the West). Varieties in other countries include mandu in Korea, mantu in Afghanistan, momos in Tibet, ravioli in Italy (not to be confused with the French “ravi au lit”) and Maultaschen in Germany.

During one of my Chinese courses in China, one of the teachers, Phoebe, gave a demonstration of how to make jiaozi. The dough and the filling had already been made in advance, and our job was to try and roll out the dough, put in the filling and form little sacks, trying to make them look presentable (which I was not very successful at).

Phoebe at work

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Students’ results

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New Year’s Eve dinner, and I was given the task of preparing hors d’ouevres (nowadays called appetizers in less exclusive restaurants or starters in low-class ones.) Throwing caution to the side, I decided to attempt to make jiaozi from the start.

I combined a couple of recipes from the internet and cookbook, and I cannot claim to have concocted an original one. My ingredients:

The dough:

  • Wheat flour
  • Baking powder
  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • Oil
  • Water

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Roll it out

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The filling:

  • Ground beef
  • Spring onions
  • Chives
  • Chili oil
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Oyster sauce
  • Soy sauce
  • Sesame oil
  • Corn starch

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Feeble attempt to make presentable shapes

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Steaming

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And the result?

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I still have a lot to learn! Good thing there is a main course this evening.

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