Chinese Dumplings

Jiaozi or pot sticker is a Chinese dumpling widely spread to Japan, Eastern and Western Asia. Jiaozi typically consist of a ground meat and/or vegetable filling wrapped into a thinly rolled piece of dough, which is then sealed by pressing the edges together or by crimping. Jiaozi should not be confused with wonton: jiaozi have a thicker, chewier skin and a flatter, more oblate, double-saucer like shape (similar in shape to ravioli), and are usually eaten with a soy-vinegar dipping sauce (and/or hot chili sauce); while wontons have thinner skin, are sphere-shaped, and are usually served in broth. The dough for the jiaozi and wonton wrapper also consist of different ingredients.

Chinese Dumpling

Chinese Dumplings

Chinese dumplings (jiaozi) may be divided into various types depending on how they are cooked:
Boiled dumplings; (shuijiao) literally "water dumplings" (Shui Jiao).
Steamed dumplings; (zhengjiao) literally "steam-dumpling" (Zheng Jiao).
JShallow fried dumplings (guotie) lit. "pan stick", known as "potstickers" in N. America, (Guo Tie), also referred to as "dry-fried dumplings" (Jian Jiao).
Dumplings that use egg rather than dough to wrap the filling are called "egg dumplings" or (Dan Jiao).

Common dumpling meat fillings include pork, mutton, beef, chicken, fish, and shrimp which are usually mixed with chopped vegetables. Popular vegetable fillings include cabbage, scallion (spring onions), leek, and Garlic chives. Dumplings are eaten with a soy sauce-based dipping sauce that may include vinegar, garlic, ginger, rice wine, hot sauce, and sesame oil.

Dumplings Jiaozi are one of the major foods eaten during the Chinese New Year, and year round in the northern provinces. They look like the golden ingots yuan bao used during the Ming Dynasty for money and the name sounds like the word for the earliest paper money, so serving them brings the promise of wealth, good luck and prosperity. Many families eat these at midnight on Chinese New Year's Eve so they have money at the changing of the years. Some cooks will even hide a clean coin in one for the most lucky to find.

Chinese Dumpling

Chinese Dumplings

Jiaozi are eaten all year round and can be eaten at any time of the day ĘC breakfast, lunch or dinner. They can constitute one course, starter or side dish, or the main meal. Every family has its own preferred method of making them, with favourite fillings, and of course, jiaozi types and preparation vary widely according to region.

Cantonese style Chinese dumplings (gaau) are standard fare in dim sum. Gaau is simply the Cantonese pronunciation for (pinyin: Jiao). The immediate noted difference to jiaozi is that they are smaller and wrapped in a thinner translucent skin, and usually steamed. In other words, these are steamed dumplings. The smaller size and the thinner pastry make the dumplings easier to cook through with steaming. Fillings include shrimp, scallop, chicken, tofu, mixed vegetables, and others. The most common type are shrimp dumplings (har gow). In contrast to jiaozi, gaau are rarely home-made. Similar to jiaozi, many types of fillings exist, and dim sum restaurants often feature their own house specials or innovations. Dim sum chefs and artists often use ingredients in new or creative ways, or draw inspiration from other Chinese culinary traditions, such as Chiuchow, Hakka, or Shanghai. More daring chefs may even incorporate a fusion from other cultures, such as Japanese (teriyaki) or Southeast Asian (satay, curry), while upscale restaurants may use expensive or exotic ingredients such as lobster, shark fin and bird's nest. Another Cantonese dumpling is the jau gok.

Chinese Dumpling

Making Chinese Dumplings

Jiaozi were so named because they were horn shaped. The Chinese for "horn" is jiao, and jiaozi was originally written with the Chinese character for "horn", but later it was replaced by a specific character, which has the food radical on the left and the phonetic component jiao on the right.

According to folk tales, jiaozi were invented by Zhang Zhongjing, one of the greatest practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine in history. They were originally called (Pinyin: jiao'er) because they were used to treat frostbitten ears.

Guotie

Guotie (literally "pot stick") is pan-fried jiaozi, also known as potstickers in North America. They are a Northern Chinese style dumpling popular as a street food, appetizer, or side order in Chinese . This dish is sometimes served on a dim sum menu, but may be offered independently. The filling for this dish usually contains pork (sometimes chicken, or beef in Muslim areas), cabbage (or Chinese cabbage and sometimes spinach), scallions (spring or green onions), ginger, Chinese rice wine or cooking wine, and sesame seed oil.

Chinese Dumpling

Making Chinese Dumplings

Guotie are shallow-fried in a wok (Mandarin 'guo'). A small quantity of water is added and the wok is covered. While the base of the dumplings is fried, the upper part is steamed and this gives a texture contrast typical of Chinese cuisine.

An alternative method is to steam in a wok and then fry to crispness on one side in a shallow frying pan.

Exactly the same dumpling is boiled in plenty of water to make jiaozi and both are eaten with a dipping sauce.

Three or five folds are made on one side of the round wrapper that is rolled so that the edges are thinner than the middle. This gives the base a large surface area that helps to give the dumpling stability to stand up in the pan.

The Chinese method of preparing the dough is to pour boiling water onto the flour and letting stand for five minutes and then adding a small quantity of cold water. This helps to activate the gluten in the dough.