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Ingredients

Adjust Servings:
For the dough
2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 tsp salt
For the filling
2 tsp dried (ground) shrimp
2 tsp Chinese rice wine
6 oz green cabbage roughly chopped
1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
1 lb ground pork
1 bunch (1/2 cup) chives finely chopped
2 scallions green parts only, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic finely chopped
1/4 tsp fresh ginger finely grated
3 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp oyster sauce
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp sesame oil
1 egg beaten
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 heaping Tbsp corn starch
For the dipping sauce
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1 tsp sriracha
1 scallion green park only
To Cook
vegetable oil if frying

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China: Jiaozi (Pork & Chive Dumplings)

Ingredients

  • For the dough

  • For the filling

  • For the dipping sauce

  • To Cook

Directions

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Almost immediately after I first announced my 2017 culinary challenge, my friend (and former co-worker) Jean came to me and said “I call China!”  She made me promise to save China for her, and we both got excited about the plan to make dumplings together.  They’d be an all day endeavor, she told me, but worth it – and if we ran into any problems, we could always Skype in her mom.

Seeing as China is a large and highly populated country, it should come as no surprise that it boasts many diverse regional cuisines.  The four major cuisines” are Chuan, Lu, Yue and Huaiyang, representing West, North, South and East China cuisine respectively.  The more modern culinary tradition includes eight cuisines: Anhui, Cantonese, Fujian, Hunan, Jiangsu, Shandong, Sichuan, and Zhejiang.  What most Westerners think of as Chinese food is the most similar to Cantonese, although the spicier Hunan and Sichuan cuisines are also not uncommon.  Although variations of these dumplings can be found throughout China and across East Asia (Gaau, Guotie, Gyoza and Momo), they are most prominent in the wheat farming areas of Northern China, which is where most of Jean’s family is from.  Jiaozi are thought to date back to early AD, referenced in early Chinese writing and even discovered in tombs by archaeologists.

While there are many possible fillings, we went with the most traditional: pork, cabbage, scallions, garlic and ginger.  Jean had never made the dough on her own before, so she bought Gyōza wrappers just in case our dough didn’t work out.  Luckily, we had good luck with the dough, but we did have enough filling left over to make some dumplings using the Gyōza.  While the store bought wrappers were easier to work with and made for prettier dumplings, we unanimously agreed that the texture and flavor of our homemade ones were far superior.  Chinese dumplings can be steamed, boiled or panfried (think: potstickers).  Jean prefers the more traditional boiled version, while her fiancé Matt prefers the fried.  We decided to compromise and make a batch of both, panfrying those that seemed more likely to fall apart if submerged in water.  I think I slightly preferred the crispiness of the panfried, but both types were very good!

Jiaozi are one of the foods commonly eaten during Chinese New Years in Northern China, and Jean said her family also makes these dumplings for pretty much any special occasion – birthdays, Thanksgiving (along with a turkey), or when your daughter’s boyfriend who you want to impress so he’ll marry her comes over for dinner (it worked – they’re recently engaged!)  While labor-intensive, this didn’t  turn out to be an all day affair for us, likely because we only made enough to serve four – Jean said her family makes about four times this quantity on any given occasion, and oftentimes it’s all-hands-on-deck.  From start to finish it took us between 2.5-3 hours to make, Jean and I making the dough and filling and then bringing in the boys for back up once we were ready to assemble.  The recipe below made 53 dumplings, which the four of us impressively polished off – along with a side of green beans and tofu.  I think Jean’s mom – who is notorious for piling more food on your plate as fast as you can clear it – would be proud!  (And in fact, she was – we facetimed her to confirm!)

Recipe Source: Epicurious (with guidance from Anita Lo and Mrs. Qiao!)

 

Steps

1
Done

For the Dough

In large bowl, combine flour, salt, and 1 cup boiling water. Using wooden spoon, mix until dough forms shaggy ball, then transfer to lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and shiny, 6 to 8 minutes. (Alternatively, mix and knead using electric mixer fitted with dough hook; kneading time will be shorter.) Wrap lightly in plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature 20 minutes.

*You can also you gyoza wrappers, which will shorten this recipe significantly, but our taste testing unanimously determined that the homemade version was better!*

2
Done

For the Filling

Roughly chop the cabbage, and transfer to a food processor. Pulse 2-3 times until you have fine pieces similar to those shown below. (Alternatively, you can finely chop the cabbage by hand). If there is a lot of moisture, squeeze with paper towel to remove.

3
Done

For the Filling

Combined cabbage and remaining filling ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Refrigerate until ready to use.

4
Done

Roll out wrappers

Dust your work surface generously with flour. Divide dough into 3 even pieces. Using palms of hands, roll each piece into 3/4-inch-diameter log. Using floured knife, cut each log into 1-inch-long sections. Pinch 1 dough section out into circle, then roll out on floured surface using floured rolling pin to 4-inch-diameter round. Repeat with remaining dough sections.

5
Done

Fill dumplings

Line a baking sheet with paper towels. Hold 1 wrapper in palm of hand. Using fingertip dipped in water, gently wet around edge of wrapper. Place 1 heaping tablespoon filling in center of wrapper, then fold wrapper in half without sealing edges, cupping half-moon (open side-up) between thumb and fingers and gently tamping down filling with other hand to keep edge of wrapper free of filling. Using thumb and forefinger of left hand, begin pinching edges of wrapper together while pushing 1 edge into tiny pleats with thumb of right hand. Continue pleating and pinching across entire semicircle until wrapper is sealed (unpleated side will automatically curve). Set dumpling, sealed edge up, on baking sheet and repeat with remaining wrappers and filling.

6
Done

To steam dumplings

In large saucepan with tight-fitting lid, bring 1 1/2 inches water to boil. Lightly oil metal steamer (if using bamboo, line with cabbage leaves to prevent sticking) and set in pan. Arrange dumplings, sealed edges up, on steamer, cover, and steam until filling is firm and wrappers are slightly translucent. You may need to do this in batches.

7
Done

To pan-fry dumplings

In large lidded nonstick sauté pan over moderately high heat, heat 1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil until hot but not smoking. Add 13 to 14 dumplings, pleated sides up and sides not touching, and immediately pour in enough cold water to come halfway up sides of dumplings (use care; oil may splatter). Cover and cook until liquid is evaporated and bottoms of dumplings are crisp and golden, about 10 minutes. (Use spatula to loosen and lift edges to check bottoms; replace lid and continue cooking if necessary, checking after 1 to 2 minutes.) Transfer dumplings, crisp sides up, to platter and keep warm with foil. Repeat with remaining 2 batches of dumplings.

8
Done

For the dipping sauce

In medium bowl, stir together all ingredients.

Johanna

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