Monthly Archives: December 2007

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How To Make Jiao Zi (Chinese Dumplings)

The humble dumpling. In Western-style cuisine it is a simple staple, a source of carbohydrates and great comfort food. Done Chinese style, it is a work of culinary art. Jiao Zi (or Gow Gee, in the Mandarin dialect) is a concoction made of dough stuffed with meat and/or vegetables. It is often served as part of dim sum. Proper preparation takes a bit of time and effort. But the results, when done correctly, are well worth it.

Ingredients

Wrap:

4 cups white flour
1-1 1/2 cups water
1 tsp salt

You’ll want to acquire the correct type of Chinese flour, whether you use rice flour or wheat flour. Ordinary Western-style wheat flour has a very different consistency when prepared.

Chill the water to just above freezing and dissolve the salt into 2 cups of it. Blend thoroughly and add the extra 1/2 cup only if the dough isn’t completely wetted. Knead well and ensure that the result is firm. If needed, sprinkle in a bit more flour. Then chill the dough.

Filling:

1 lb lean ground meat
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp brandy
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp white pepper

Combine all the ingredients, then stir. Don’t overdo it in order to avoid making the meat mushy.

Bring out the chilled dough and separate a piece into two parts. Flatten each section until they’re about 1/8 inch thick. Layer the meat mixture onto one then cover with the other. Crimp the edges until the result looks something like a white fortune cookie crumpled around the rim. Repeat until you’ve used up all the dough and meat.

The raw dumpling can be boiled or fried, as desired.

To boil, use a pot large enough to cover the dumplings with a couple of inches of water. Bring the water to a boil, then layer the Jiao Zi along the bottom of the pot. Stir gently to prevent them sticking together. Continue heating until the mixture boils again. Add a cup of cold water and allow to come to a boil again, then remove from heat.

To fry, simply line a wok with a layer of sesame oil and bring to a high heat. Then toss in the dumplings. Remember that woks cook very quickly. You’ll need to keep the dumplings moving in order to get them evenly cooked on both sides. It’s particularly important to ensure that the meat inside is well done.

Serve

The results are often dipped into a sauce of equal amounts of black vinegar and soy. Jiao Zi is a component of a traditional dim sum cart and are often served during the Chinese New Year’s celebration. As a symbol of wealth they bring good fortune in the coming year, but these are delicious anytime.