While you are enjoying your China Tour why not attempt to make some jiaozi (Chinese Dumplings). You can either take a cooking class in which ever city you are in or attempt to get the ingredients yourself and make them in your China hotel room.  Making jiaozi is a very popular tradition for the Chinese especially in Northern China around the holidays with their families. There are many different ingredients you can use to make jiaozi, so it is up to you how you want it to taste.

 

The art of dumpling making can be dated back since the Sung Dynasty and has forever been tradition in the Chinese culture.  It is very traditional on New Year’s Eve (Spring Festival) for the whole family to get together and make jiaozi where every member is assigned to different tasks on the process of making them. The jiaozi is seen as a lucky food; reason being is because of the shape they are made to. It is made into a crescent shape which resembles good wealth due to the fact that they look similar to the traditional silver and gold ingots. In some family traditions, there is one dumpling which will have a coin in it and whoever gets that one will definitely have good wealth for the year.

 

In regards to making the dumplings, you can use whatever ingredients you like as your filler. There is a wide variety of dumplings; even some restaurants may offer you 25 different kinds on their menu. So you can either make it out of any kind of meat mince, seafood or vegetables. The vital part of the dumpling is the wrap; this is made out of flour and a little bit of water. Once you make the dough cut it into smaller pieces and create small flat circles. But keep in mind to make sure the middle of the circle is thicker than the rest; this will prevent it from splitting. Once you have done the dough make it into a small cup in your hands and put your filler in. The filler can consist of meat, vegetables, soy sauce, oil, garlic and ginger. It is entirely up to you. Once the filler is in fold it in half and pinch the top together creating a crescent shape. Make sure that you firmly squeeze the the sides together so it doesn’t burst open, if needed add extra bit of water and flour. Once that is done slightly curve the dumpling so it can sit by itself.

 

In regards to cooking jiaozi, place it in a boiling pot but however do add an extra cup of cold water. By adding cold water it will prevent the dumpling from bursting open due to the boiling water and keep stirring throughout. When the dumplings are floating at the top it means that they are ready to eat. It is a very easy, quick and enjoyable dish to make especially with people.

So if you are travelling to Beijing, Shanghai, Xi’an, Guangzhou, Guilin or any place in China find out if there are any cooking classes to attend or take up the challenge of making them yourself or with a Chinese family. If you are in China for Spring Festival, do not forget to make jiaozi on New Year’s Eve or order them at a restaurant. Enjoy and embrace the delicious tradition of jiaozi!!

Jack Li
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