Peggy invited us for a dumpling party at her home. She is from Canton, I feel a little bit surprised, because in my impressions, southern Chinese doesn't have a tradition of dumpling party. Peggy told us when she was in university, many friends were from northern China, they always had dumpling party at weekend in turn. Dumpling party is fun, convenient, and everybody can have hand-on experience!
In my memory, my mum has never made dumpling at home, and I seldom eat dumpling until I went to study in Shanghai. So, when one of my classmates who was from Xi'an, invited us to a small restaurant near Shanghai Normal University, and he spoke so high about the dumpling, I felt a little bit strange of northern chinese dumpling culture!
Dumplings has three varieties, pan-fried dumpling (Guo tie), steamed or boiled dumpling (Jiao zi), what we made and ate at Peggy's home was boiled dumplings. Some people call little basket bun "soup dumpling", but I don't think so, because they has very different shape.
Actually I am quite good at making dumpling skins: to rate the flour and water, to roll a long snake of dough, and then yank apart 1-inch pieces, and to use a dowel to roll each blob into a flat round dumpling skin.
To prepare the fillings is also very easy: to cut seasonal vegetables into large chunks, throw in to a blender, then mix with beef or pork mince, add seasonings such as salt, pepper, whatever you like, if you want more juicy, you can add some vegetable oil and little bit water. But normally there will be enough water especially when you use juicy Chinese leaves.
The party was a success! My daughter and Peggy's daughter Isabella became good friends after five minutes staring and avoiding each other's eyes. They holded hands and ran upstairs and downstairs, ate lots of chocolates and sweets, and watch cartoons. They both had a rolling pin to "make gingerbread man".
So, several weeks later, we copied the dumpling party at our house in Chinese New Year, we invited Peggy and Jun. But we had to borrow Peggy's blender and rolling pin.
No dumpling party is not a success. Isabella and Brenda can see each other again. There were a lot of laughing and screaming.
Jun copied the dumpling party, he invited us to his house last night. Jun is a bachelor, and shares a house with others. Peggy said it was quite strange that Jun would like a dumpling party suddenly, because it's not a Chinese festival or any BIG DAY on the calendar. But anyway, our children can see each other again. Jun's house is surprisingly clean, and the small conservatory is so warm and cozy that I even lied on the sofa and fell asleep.
Brenda and Isabella ran around laughing and screaming as usual, every adults took part in preparing the dumpling skins and blend the fillings, and then make dumplings and took care of boiling. Jun said we need add cold water four times and bring it to boil again. but I only added cold water twice last time at our house. Jun told me the dumpling WAS not well cooked.
So, sometimes you have to eat whatever awful dumplings very politely!