Chinese Boiled Dumplings (Jiaozi)
Dumplings are always part of the Chinese New Year holiday fare. A few "lucky
dumplings" with a coin in the filling are commonly added to the batch. The
person who bites into them will have a good year!
You can make your own wrappers or buy them at Asian or regular grocery stores.
Do not buy won ton wrappers. They are square-shaped; dumpling wrappers are round
- about 3 1/2 inches in diameter.
Chinese vinegar (dark)
Chili oil (optional)
Finely chopped garlic (optional)
To make dipping sauce: Prepare the dipping sauce first so that when the
dumplings come out of the pot they are ready to eat. Pour a small amount of
vinegar into a small bowl or plate. Add a couple of drops of sesame oil
(optional), chili oil (optional) and finely chopped garlic (optional). In other
words, vinegar is essential. The rest is up to you.
1 medium Chinese (Napa) cabbage
1 pound ground pork
1 pound chopped shrimp
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon dark (Oriental) sesame oil
2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon cooking wine
1 teaspoon black pepper (optional)
Small piece of fresh ginger
8 cloves garlic
2 to 3 green onions
6 to 8 dried black mushrooms, chopped
(soak in warm water for about 1 hour
Finely grate the cabbage by hand or with a food processor. Place a piece of
cheesecloth or a cotton dish towel in a large bowl. Add just enough cabbage so
the cloth can be lifted out of the bowl and wrapped around the cabbage. Over a
bowl, squeeze out as much liquid as possible (you can use it to make the wrapper
Place dried cabbage in a large bowl and add pork, shrimp, egg, vegetable oil,
sesame oil, salt, soy sauce, cooking wine, black pepper, ginger, garlic, green
onions and mushrooms. Mix thoroughly.
6 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups water and/or cabbage juice
Mix the cabbage juice and/or water with the flour. Be sure it is not too soft.
Firm is better (add more flour if needed). Knead into a ball. Cut off small
pieces and roll into 1-inch round "sticks."
Cut sticks into 1/2-inch pieces. Flatten each piece with your palm, then flatten
with a rolling pin into a 3 1/2-inch circle. The edges should be slightly
thinner than the center.
If you are working alone, it's best not to make all the wrappers at once. If
you're working with at least one other person, one person can roll out the
wrappers while the other fills them.
To make dumplings: The ideal dumpling should resemble a chubby crescent moon
with well-pressed edges. It may be a little difficult to make ideal ones at
first. What's most important is that the dumpling is well-sealed so it doesn't
fall part in the boiling water.
Place a wrapper in your palm or on a work surface. Place a heaping tablespoon of
filling in the center of the wrapper. Fold the dough over and use your thumb and
forefinger to press the center edges together, and then work toward the ends
(top and the bottom of the crescent). Make sure no filling is protruding.
(If using pre-made wrappers, moisten the edges of the wrapper or they will not
Place the dumplings on a lightly floured tray or cutting board; make sure they
don't touch one another.
Bring 6 quarts of water to a rapid boil and add about 30 dumplings. Cover the
pot; when it returns to a very rapid boil, add 1/2 cup cold water. When it
returns to a rapid boil, check to see if the dumplings are puffy and floating at
or near the top of the water. The skin should be somewhat translucent. They
should be done.
(Experienced dumpling makers can just tell by looking at them, but you can open
one and make sure the pork is thoroughly cooked.)
When the dumplings are cooked, remove them with a slotted spoon and place on a
large flat plate. Serve immediately with dipping sauce.
If you have leftovers, you can fry them in a little oil until they are brown and
Makes 140 dumplings.