Jiaozi – Chinese Dumplings and Crudités

This weekend I took part in The Guardian Chinese Challenge by memerise. The idea of the challenge was to memorise a typical Chinese menu, its structure and related words and terms in few hours. As I hadn't been making Chinese food for a long time, I decided that it was about time to prepare my all time favourite Chinese street food: Jiaozi Dumplings. This dish was taught to me by my Chinese friend Luo Jun. Back in time, we used prepare Jiaozis with a group of friends and literally inhaled those whilst playing Mahjong. Good times!

Anyway, here's how to prepare Jiaozis (饺子 / 餃子).

Dough (for wrapping the meat in) also known as water based pasta dough:
Approx. 6 dl (3 cups) durum wheat flour (or all-purpose flour)
Pinch of salt
Approx. 2 dl  (1 cup) cold water
1 tl of sunflower oil

Mix all the ingredients together as if you were making pasta. Knead well for 10 minutes. Add more flour in case dough is too soft and more water if too hard. Wrap in cling film and set aside for 30 minutes in the fridge.

For filling mix together the following incredients:
400g Mince meat (use pork, lamb or fish)
1 Napa cabbage, finely chopped
Small piece of fresh ginger, grated
2 gloves of garlic, grated
2 spring onion, chopped
Some chives, chopped
Roasted sesame seed oil, 1 tbsp
Rice wine, 3 tbsp
Soya sauce, 1/2 dl
Lamb meat filling looks like this.

Sauce for dumplings:
Soya sauce, 1 dl
Vinegar, 1 dl
Roasted sesame seed oil, 1 tbsp
Rice wine, 1 tbsp
Spring onion, chopped
Chives, chopped
Ginger, finely chopped

Here's how you make dumplings:
You can do this....
...or you can do that.

Make sure the dumpling wrappers are thin!!!

Don't leave any air in the dumplings as air can make the dumpling case explode when boiled in water.
Aim for this end-result.
Add some flour in a plate to make sure they don't stick together.

Bring the water to boil in an large pot, then add 10–15 dumplings and bring to boil. Now add 1/2 cup of ice cold water. Then when it boils again, add 1 cup of ice cold water. The third time the water boils, the dumplings are cooked. Use slotted spoon to lift dumplings from pot.  Repeat until you have cooked all the dumplings.
Consume the steamy Jiaozis immediately with the dumpling sauce!

I also prepared Crudités with carrots, bell pepper, cucumber and daikon/Chinese radish, as boys wanted to use the dumpling sauce for dipping. According to my friend Jun, Chinese radish is superfood and served e.g. in Chinese schools and universities during flu season. Apparently this radish is packed with vitamin C and has known to lower risks of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

Here's to my Chinese friend who taught me also that Chinese don't waste anything and that in China even the cooking liquids are consumed. After boiling 100 lamb and pork meat dumplings in a pot, the flavours of the cooking liquids become very intense.

My hubby arrived to home later tonight, so he got the fried jiaozi.


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