Jiaozi – Chinese Dumplings

The New Year is just around the corner, so what better time for a very traditional Jiaozi recipe from our Austrian sisters, Qionglin and Yuru WU.

Jiaozi is a well-known dish throughout China. The recipe varies from one region to the next. There are also different folding techniques, and the filling can be prepared according to varying tastes … using vegetables or seafood, for example. The Jiaozi we are showing you here, are made using mixed minced meat, carrots and oxheart cabbage.

Hendian (Yuru WU)

Jiaozi is a dish traditionally prepared and eaten together by the whole family at New Year – and that’s how we do it in the WU home, too. Our grandparents and parents, and we the children, all gather round the dining table, and everyone has a part to play:

Papa, head chef of the WU family, prepares the filling, while Mama gets the dough ready. Then, once it’s all ready, Grandma rolls out the dough in the traditional manner, while we siblings fold the Jiaozi into their dumpling shape.

As a family, we all really enjoy it, and it’s a great way to start the New Year together.

Ingredients

for 4 – 6 people

Dough
  • 750 g flour (type 450)
  • 2.5 tbsp. salt
  • 400 ml lukewarm water
Filling
  • 500 g mixed minced meat
  • 250 g chopped carrots
  • 250 g chopped oxheart cabbage
  • 3 tbsp. soya sauce
  • 1 tbsp. dark soya sauce
  • 1 tbsp. oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp. salt
  • 2 pinches of pepper
  • 3 pieces of scallions
  • 30 ml of oil
  • 20 g ginger
  • 4 garlic cloves

Preparation

For the dough, simply mix the flour, salt and water. When you see lumps beginning to form, knead the dough well with your hands. To test if the dough is soft enough, press it with your finger. If it regains its shape without any indent forming, then it is ready. If this is not the case, simply moisten your hands with some water, and continue kneading the dough. Once it has been kneaded, allow the dough to rest for a while. Do this by spreading a cloth or some cling film over the dough to prevent it drying out.

NOTE: The longer the dough remains wrapped in the cling film, the softer it will become, BUT don’t let it get too soft, so keep a close eye on it!

Now, let’s turn to the filling.

Add the carrots and oxheart cabbage to the minced meat, and season everything with the soya sauce, oyster sauce, salt and pepper. Mix the filling well. Now, heat the oil and add the finely chopped garlic and ginger. After 30 seconds, or once you can smell the aromas, mix the garlic and ginger, together with the oil, into the filling.

The filling can be varied according to your own particular preferences. For vegetarians and vegans, we recommend substituting the meat for vegetables with low water content.

Now it’s time to shape our dumplings. Sprinkle some flour onto your work surface, and put about a third of the dough onto the surface. If your work surface is large enough, you can put all of the dough out in one go. Cover the rest of the dough. You need small round discs of dough to make the dumplings. There are two ways of doing this:

  1. The quick method: roll out the dough until it is about 2 mm thick, and cut out the discs using a large circular cookie cutter (approx. 10 cm in diameter).
  2. Traditional method: shape the dough into a roll, and using a knife, cut it into equally-sized pieces about 4 cm long. Using your hand, press down the small lump of dough until it is flat, and roll out into medium-thick discs (approx. 2 mm). The discs should be about 10 cm in diameter. Make sure that the edge is a little thinner than the centre, so that after shaping the dumplings, they have the same thickness all over.

Now for the filling.

Place about 1-2 teaspoons of filling into the centre of the disc of dough, and seal. Take a look at the video to see how to fold the dumplings properly. You’ll soon get the hang of it with a little practice.

Place the sealed dumplings on a tray dusted with some flour, and cover with cling film to stop the dough drying out.

Now you just have to cook the dumplings in boiling water for about 7 to 9 minutes.

Finally, serve with a small bowl of soya sauce. And they’re ready.

As we say in the WU household, 请慢用 [qíng màn yòng] and 新年快乐 [xīn nián kuài lè]!

(Bon appetit and a Happy New Year!)

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