Jiaozi, this is what these dumplings are officially called in Chinese. It is a very popular food in whole China. While Jiaozi is considered a festive food in Northern China and very often prepared at home, these dumplings are usually a quick snack in Southern China which is often eaten for lunch in a noodle bar.
Almost all Northern Chinese who I know have very experienced Jaiozi hands. They all can prepare these delicious dumplings within a short time while we Southern Chinese normally just start to learn how to make these yummy dumplings ourselves, after our departure from our home town to study abroad.
I also have to admit that I had never even made Jiaozi before I came to Germany. Like all other Southern Chinese I used to eat them either in a small noodle bar or bought the ready-made dumplings from a small roadside dumpling stall. At Home these dumplings only need to be put into boiling water and cook briefly. Add a tasty sauce, done!
The first time for me to tinker Jiaozi myself was during my studies at a University in Germany. With some of my Chinese friends I made plenty of these dumplings for our first Chinese New Year celebration abroad without our families.
The cooking together, patiently rolling out the pasta sheets with a special rolling pin for Jiaozi, carefully folding the dough with the filling and the funny chat of all participants at the big table with lots of little pieces of doughs and sheets… It helped us so much to forget our homesickness at the very special holiday. Since then, I also love to prepare these dumplings myself at home. It is so much fun to make these lovely dumplings with my dear friends. 🙂
Jiaozi can be cooked in boiling water, steamed in the steam baskets or fry-steamed in a pan. The last version is absolutely my favorite preparation method for Jiaozi. With this method, the Jiaozi can get a lovely crispy base. For my Chinese dumplings with German sauerkraut (Chinese dumplings meet Germany), I naturally prefer this method.
Ingredients (25-30 pieces):
For the dough:
60ml boiling water
100ml cold water
For the filling:
250g minced pork
200g German sauerkraut (cooked and chopped)
1 tbsp light soy sauce
½ tsp grated ginger
1 tbsp sesame oil
salt and pepper
1 tbsp vegetable oil for frying
100 ml water
For the dip :
4 tbsp dark Chinese rice vinegar (Asia shop)
1 tsp chili oil
some ground pepper
- Preparation of the dough: give the boiling water into the flour and mix well using a wooden spoon, then add the cold water, knead by hand (or with a food processor). Do not knead for too long. Cover the dough with aluminum foil and let it rest for about 30 minutes.
- For the filling: Drain the sauerkraut and chop into tiny pieces. Mix with the pork and all the ingredients for the filling.
- Shape the dough into a long roll, cut into small pieces (about 2cm). Then roll out with a rolling pin into a round plate (diameter 6cm). Pour the filling into the center of the dough sheet, fold the edge of the dough sheet with the thumb and forefinger of the right hand and seal the pastry.
- Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet, place the Jiaozi in the pan side by side. Keep a little distance from each other so that they will not stick together. Fry over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until the dough bases are lightly brown. Pour the water into the pan, cover with a lid and steam the dumplings until the water in the pan is completely evaporated.
- Turn a Jiaozi upside down briefly to check if the base is already golden brown. If yes, take them out of the pan! Serve with the sauce.