How to make Jiaozi – traditional Chinese Dumplings in 3 different ways (+VIDEO)

Jiaozi - header

Jiaozi (simplified Chinese: 饺子) is a Chinese dumpling dish, that is eaten across almost all Asia. It is an important part of the Chinese cultural tradition and is a staple food that can be found in every restaurant and on every street corner.

Typically, the dish consists of ground meat and/or finely sliced vegetables that are stuffed into thinly rolled dough and sealed at the edges by crimping or by hand.

Jiaozi - board

Cultural significance

Despite being eaten all year round, jiaozi are especially significant during Chinese New Year. Typically, families join together and produce en masse the food which will be eaten at midnight (to mark the New Year itself) or on the 15th day of the holiday, the so called Lantern Festival where paper lamps are set on fire and released into the air. The preparation is an important social event as the modern families of China come together only once a year and it is the chance for the family to talk, laugh and generally enjoy each other’s company.

Making Chinese dumplings Jiaozi

Types of Jiaozi

Jiaozi is typically divided into three variants, depending on the method by which they are cooked.

Boiled Dumpling: (Shuǐjiǎo; 水餃 ) translates literally as ‘water dumpling’

Steamed Dumplings: (Zhēngjiǎo; 蒸餃) meaning ‘steam dumpling’

Fried dumplings: (Guōtiē 鍋貼 or Jiānjiǎo 煎餃) meaning ‘pan stick’ or ‘dry-fried dumpling’ respectively.

Steaming chinese dumplings Jiaozi

Steaming Jiaozi using a bamboo steamer and a wok

Ingredients for Jiaozi

Dough

Flour
Salt
Water

Meat filling

Minced Pork*
Chives (finely chopped)
Ginger (finely minced)
Spring onion (finely chopped)
Soy sauce
Rice cooking wine
Sesame oil
1 teaspoon of corn starch
Sichuan pepper powder & white pepper

* Other minced meats also are usable. Fatty meat is better however, as lean meat makes the dumplings hard and dry

Vegetarian filling

Chinese cabbage (finely chopped)
Carrot (finely chopped)
Shiitake mushrooms (finely chopped)
1 egg (lightly beaten)
1 spring onion (finely chopped)
Light soy sauce
Sesame oil
Salt
Sichuan pepper powder & white pepper

Jon learning to make Jiaozi in China

Jon learning to make Jiaozi in China

How to make Jiaozi

Making the dough

  1. Add flour to a bowl and make a well in the middle
  2. Add a pinch of salt into a bowl of cold water. Then slowly add the salty water mix into the dough, mixing often until the dough holds together (not too wet though)
  3. When dough has formed into a mass, put dough onto a table and knead until smooth (about 5 minutes work). If the dough is too sticky, mix with extra flour, if too dry, sprinkle with water.
  4. Form dough into a ball and place it into a bowl covered with a damp cloth and leave to rest for 30 minutes.

Making the meat filling

  1. Add finely minced pork into a bowl
  2. Mix in water, stirring in one direction only. Add soy sauce and rice cooking wine to taste. Stir until filling is a bit sticky.
  3. Add chives, ginger, spring onions, sesame oil, Sichuan pepper powder, white pepper, salt and teaspoon of cornstarch.
  4. Fry meat mixture

Making the vegetarian filling

  1. Put Chinese cabbage in a bowl, season with salt and squeeze cabbage until all liquid is removed.
  2. Mix the carrot and mushroom together in a bowl. Add oil to the wok and lightly fry the mixture
  3. Scramble the egg, fry and then finely chop it.
  4. Mix the fried vegetable and chopped egg, add light soy sauce, sesame oil, Sichuan pepper powder, white pepper, salt and sugar
  5. Stir until well mixed.

Making the dumplings

  1. After dough has rested, knead it for additional 5 minutes. The dough should be elastic, smooth and not sticky
  2. Form the dough into a large ring shape and tear off a section
  3. Divide the torn section into two and cover the unused piece in plastic wrap.
  4. Roll the dough into an even rope,m about 2-3cm in diameter
  5. Cut the rope into 1.5cm pieces
  6. Roll each bit into a ball and flatten in palm to make small rounded disc shapes
  7. Using a rolling pin dusted with flour, roll into the centre of the disc and back again
  8. Rotate the disc slightly and repeat. Continue until it is flattened into a round shape, thinner at the edges and slightly thicker in the middle. The ideal size should fit into the palm of your hand.
  9. Dust a tray with flour
  10. Take the disc into the palm of your hand, place 2 teaspoons of the filling in the centre. Fold the disc in half and firmly pinch at the top
  11. Seal the remaining edges together by squeezing to form a crescent shape. Make sure they are firmly sealed as not to break apart when cooking
  12. Place filled dumplings onto the tray as to prevent sticking

Cooking the dumplings

Boiling

  1. Fill a wok with enough water to cover the dumplings
  2. Add a pinch of salt to water
  3. When water is boiled, carefully place dumplings in the water and stir gently
  4. When it comes back to the boil, douse with cold water to stop it boiling. Repeat twice
  5. When the water comes to the boil the 3rd time, the dumpling are ready

Steaming

  1. Cover the base of a steamer with cabbage leaves or waxed paper, place dumpling on top
  2. Place steamer atop water and bring to the boil
  3. Wait 10 minutes (8 for vegetarian dumpling)

Frying

  1. Heat vegetable oil on a non-stick pan. When oil is hot add dumplings in a circular formation
  2. Fry until the dumpling bottoms are golden brown
  3. Add 1/2 cup of water, cover and let them steam for 7-8 minutes
  4. When water has evaporated, remove the lid, fry for 1 minute longer until translucent

How to make the dipping sauce

2 tablespoons of light soy sauce
1/2 tablespoon of sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon of dark rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon of sugar
1/2 garlic clove (finely chopped)
1/2 spring onion (finely chopped)
Chili oil to taste

And mix…..

Still need help? Then join Luxi, our friend and masterchef from Rice & Friends cooking school in Dali to learn more…

If you visit Dali, we highly recommend popping into Rice and Friends to take part in one of their professional cooking classes.

Rice & Friends Chinese cooking school offers hands-on Chinese cooking courses with English instruction in a beautiful open-air setup with mountain views. It is a very authentic and personal 5-hour cooking experience, including outdoor-market shopping for ingredients, introduction to the theory of Chinese cooking, hands-on preparation of 3 dishes with a recipe booklet to take away and plenty of time for everybody to sit down together and enjoy the meal they cooked themselves.

Phone number: +86 15125264065
Address: No.1 Hong Long Jing street, Dali old town, Yunnan, China.

Rice and Friends cooking school

written by: Jon


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