Monday, April 23, 2012

Mandarin Mondays: 包饺子 (Make Dumplings)

A little while ago, a friend of mine taught me how to make (or "pack") Chinese dumplings (bāo jiǎo zi, 包饺子). I've mentioned before that  jiǎo zi are one of our favorite Chinese foods, so it was neat to learn how to make them.

We bought the wrappers from the market, which was really inexpensive here. I am told the process for making the dough goes something like this: take flour, add water and mix until it feels right, roll it out really thin, and cut into circles. Someday maybe I'll learn more about making the dough but for now here is the recipe for filling and boiling jiǎo zi.

Homemade Jiǎo Zi Recipe

  • Jiǎo zi wrappers
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • several cups chopped green onions
  • several chopped cloves of garlic
  • salt
  1. Mix pork, onions, garlic, and a liberal amount of salt together well in a mixing bowl.
  2. Place a small amount of filling in a wrapper. Wet the edge of the wrapper with a small amount of water. Pinch the edges closed. Technically the jiǎo zi are supposed to have the back side be able to lay flat, the front side pleated, and be able to stand up on their own. However, I couldn't quite get the hang of folding the edges just so, and my less beautiful jiǎo zi still tasted just as good.
  3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, place jiǎo zi in boiling water, and return to a boil. Then you add one bowl of cold water to the pot, and return to a boil again. Repeat adding a bowl of water two more times (for a total of three times), and the jiǎo zi are supposed to be done to perfection. 
  4. Remove, and serve immediately with soy sauce, brown vinegar, and/or hot pepper sauce for dipping.

Jiǎo zi can also be frozen uncooked in a single layer on a cookie sheet and then transferred to a plastic bag for longer storage. They can then be boiled at a later date using the same method above; it just takes a few minutes longer to come to a boil the first time.

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