How to make homemade Chinese dumplings
What are Jiao zi?
Chinese dumplings are also known as jiao zi (pronounced jowdzer). They consist of a ground meat or vegetable filling wrapped in a thin layer of pastry that is folded in pleats on the one side. Jiao zi can be steamed, boiled or fried and is best served with a dipping sauce of soy, vinegar, garlic and ginger. It is believed that jiao zi were first invented by a famous Chinese Medicine Man called Zhang Zhongjing. Although the preparation takes some time, jiao zi are very easy to make and can be frozen.
- 4 cups flour
- 1 1/4 cups warm water
- 500g pork mince
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 large cabbage leaves, finely diced
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, finely chopped
- pinch salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 tablespoon fresh garlic, finely chopped
- Put the flour into a mixing bowl and make a well in the centre.
- Pour the water in a little at a time, and knead the dough until smooth and it no longer sticks to your hands.
- Let the dough rest while you prepare the filling.
- Mix the rest of the ingredients together in a separate bowl to make the filling.
- Knead the dough on a floured surface. Break off pieces the size of a handful and roll out thinly on the floured surface.
- Use the open edge of a drinking glass to cut circle shapes out of your thinly rolled dough. Place these on a plate ready to be filled.
- Repeat this step until you have used up all the dough. You should get roughly 60 dough circles.
- Place a small spoonful of the filling in the centre of the dough circle.
- Fold the two sides of the circle over the centre to creat a half-moon shape. Press down the edge and then pleat the edge to seal the filling in.
- For steaming, line a steamer with cabbage leaves to prevent sticking, and place jiao zi on the cabbage leaves. Steam for about 6 minutes until cooked.
- For boiling, add jiao zi to a pot of boiling water and let them boil for about 5 minutes or until they float to the surface. I like to add two stock cubes to the boiling water for extra flavour.
- For frying fry the jiao zi in medium hot oil for 2-3 minutes until golden brown on the bottom. The add half a cup of water and cover the frying pan, letting the jiao zi steam for another 3 minutes. This creates a delicious blend of textures, with the bottom half crispy and the top half soft.
- The pork mince can be replaced by any kind of minced meat, shrimp or finely diced vegetables like spinach.
- To make a dipping sauce, mix together some soy sauce, vinegar and add in a half a teaspoon of finely chopped ginger and a half a teaspoon of finely chopped garlic. Add in a small pinch of chilli powder if you like it to have a bite.
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