With the Chinese new year in just a few days I thought that it was about time to practice my dumpling making skills. Jiaozi or Chinese dumplings, consist of a filling, generally a ground meat, that is wrapped in a thin wrapper and sealed by pressing the edges together or by crimping and they are commonly served with a dipping sauce. The dumplings can be cooked by frying them, steaming them or boiling them. Although steaming or boiling them is probably a little better for you, I prefer the fried version as the bottoms get nice and crispy and when they are fried they are often referred to as pot stickers. Dumplings are a popular New Years dish and since they are one of my favourite Chinese dishes it was the perfect excuse to make some at home.
There are near limitless fillings that you can place in dumplings but I was dead set of including shrimp in mine. I made sure to cut the shrimp very coarsely because I wanted to get large pieces of juicy shrimp in the dumplings. From there I filled out the dumplings with some fairly common ingredients including pork, cabbage, bamboo, garlic, ginger, soy sauce and sesame oil. For the dipping sauce I decided to go with a simple soy and vinegar sauce that I spiced up with a bit of chili oil and a birds eye chilies.
While I was investigating recipes I came across a recipe for Chinese dumplings on use real butter that included a recipe for making your own wrappers which I immediately decided to try. The dough was a little difficult to work with given that it was so dry but after adding a bit more water it worked out just fine. I was not very good at rolling the dough out into perfect circles but using a ramekin as an outline I was quickly able to trim them into nicer discs. Since I had already picked up some pre-made wrappers I made half with homemade and half with pre-made to compare them and I have to say that I definitely preferred the homemade version which were thicker chewier.
One caveat with this recipe is that it takes a bit of time to wrap all of those dumplings so you need to plan for it. If you are also making the wrappers then it takes even longer but it is definitely worth it!
Jiaozi (Chinese Dumplings)
- 4 cups flour
- 1 1/4 cup water (warm)
- 1/2 pound ground pork
- 1/2 pound shrimp (shelled, deviened and coarsely chopped)
- 2 large napa cabbage leaves (salted, drained, rinsed and finely diced)
- 2 green onions (finely sliced)
- 2 tablespoons bamboo shoot (finely diced)
- 2 tablespoons ginger (finely diced)
- 1 tablespoon garlic (finely diced)
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- Mix the flour and water in a food processor until incorporates.
- Knead the dough on a floured surface until smooth.
- Cover the dough with a damp cloth while you let it rest for 30 minutes.
- Roll the dough into long cylinders about 1 1/2 inches thick and cut the cylinders into 1/2 inch pieces.
- Flatted the pieces with the palm of your hand forming discs and then rolled them out to about 2 inch diameter.
- Mix the pork, shrimp, cabbage, green onions, bamboo shoots, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil, and cornstarch.
- Place a small spoonful of the filling in the center of the wrapper, fold the two sides over the center and pleat the edges to seal the filling in.
- For fried:
- Heat some oil in a large pan over medium-high heat, add the dumplings and fry until their bottoms are golden brown, about 2-3 minutes.
- Carefully add 1/2 cup of water, cover and steam until the water has disappeared, about 3-5 minutes.
- Uncover had cook for another 2 minutes over medium low heat.
- For steamed:
- Place the dumplings on the well greased surface of the steamer, or on cabbage leaves and steam until cooked, about 6 minutes.
- For boiled:
- Boil the dumplings until they float to the surface, about 3-5 minutes.
Garlic Chili Sauce
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 birds eye chili (thinly sliced)
- 1 green onion (thinly sliced)
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1/2 teaspoon chili oil
- Mix everything.
Shrimp Wonton Soup