If you’ve never heard of jiaozi, you’re in for a treat. Jiaozi are a type of Chinese dumpling that are enjoyed during Lunar New Year, although they can be found year-round in parts of northern China. The dumplings are made with an unleavened dough and stuffed with a variety of fillings from ground meat to vegetables and tofu. Jiaozi can be steamed, pan fried, boiled or even deep fried.
Before you get started, this is a good time to call up your friends and family and make a party of it. As the saying goes, many hands make light work, and it’s never been more true than when making jiaozi.
This recipe starts with making your own dumpling wrappers. Flour, water and salt are combined to form a dough. After letting the dough rest, use a rolling pin to roll out the dough into the appropriate size wrappers. To cut down on time, swap a rolling pin for a pasta roller. The filling is made with ground dark meat chicken, which offers more flavor than its white meat counterpart. Mix it with the usual staples of Chinese cooking such as soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger and green onions. There are many different ways to wrap jiaozi, but this recipe calls for creating a classic half moon shape.
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Technique Tip: Don’t skip out on letting the dough rest. The resting is crucial so that the gluten has time to form strong bonds, making it even easier to roll out.
Swap Option: If you’re not up for making your own dough, store-bought wrappers can be used instead.
Make the wrappers:1.
Combine the flour, water and salt in a mixer. Knead until it forms a smooth dough, and rest it for 30 minutes.2.
After the dough has rested, portion it into bottle cap–size balls then individually roll them out into small rounds with a rolling pin to make wrappers. Alternatively, you can run the dough through a pasta roller. Roll them to number 4 thickness, then use a 3-inch cookie cutter to cut out round wrappers.
Make the filling:3.
Put the ground chicken in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Combine the oyster sauce and soy sauce together in a cup. Slowly pour this liquid into the ground chicken while stirring, until all the liquid absorbs into the meat. Next, add the egg and sesame oil and mix well. After all the seasoning is incorporated into the chicken, add the ginger and green onions and mix until well combined.
Assemble the dumplings:4.
Using a dumpling folder, if you’d like, or your hands, take one wrapper and 1 tablespoon of chicken filling per dumpling. Place the filling in the middle of the wrapper, close the edges and make them into an ear shape (half-moon shape).5.
Boil water in a large pot and carefully add in the jiaozi. When the water returns to a boil, add 1/2 cup of cold water and bring back to a boil again. When all the jiaozi are floating on top of the water, they are done (about 5 minutes). Remove with a slotted spoon and plate up.6.
Enjoy them hot with some Chiangkang vinegar and chili oil.