Saturday, 5 February 2011

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Chinese Dumplings/Kinesisk Dumplings/饺子[jiǎo zi]



You can serve the dumplings with the Classic Chinese Dipping SauceChinese Red Date Tea and a bowl of soup on the side :-)

This is a healthier and more nutritious version of Chinese dumplings, using buckwheat in the dough, instead of just pure white flour. If you want the traditional version, just omit the buckwheat and use less water.

Chinese dumpling is one of the most important foods in Chinese New Year in China. Traditionally, the family members get together to make dumplings during the New Year's Eve. Thus, making Chinese dumplings is a team work and an activity that encourage bonding among family members and team building among friends and colleagues.

Serves 4-8

Makes approx. 80 dumplings

Ingredients for filling:
- 500g minced pork, minced chicken, minced beef, minced fish or chopped prawns with shell removed
- 3-4 Chinese cabbage finely chopped or shredded (discard stem)
- 1 medium carrot finely shredded
- 100g minced spinach (hakket spinat)
- 100g oyster mushroom or fresh shitake mushroom chopped (optional)
- 1 - 2 eggs beaten (optional)
- 3 stalks of spring onions chopped
- 2-3 cloves garlic pressed
- 1 TBS minced ginger
- 2 TBS soy sauce
- 2 TBS Chinese sesame oil
- 1 TBS Chinese Shaoxing rice wine (optional)
- 1 TBS oyster sauce (optional)
- 2 tsp sugar (optional)
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper

Ingredients for dough:
- 3 cups white wheat flour
- 1 cup Graham wheat flour or Buckwheat (you can also simply just use white wheat flour here)
- 1 3/4 cupswater
- 1/2 cup flour (to prevent sticking during kneading)
- 2 litre of water for boiling the dumplings

Directions:

Fillings:
1. In a mixing bowl, combine minced meat, minced Chinese cabbage and the sesame oil and mix thoroughly. (The purpose is for the oil to seal the food first so as to prevent water loss from meat and cabbage when adding salt afterwards.)

2. Add the eggs and mix thoroughly.

3. Add the other seasoning and mix thoroughly.

Dough:
1. If you are using graham flour or buckwheat, grind it in a baby blender into flour first.

2. In another mixing bowl, mix flour and water gradually until it forms a dough.

3. Knead dough by hand until soft (the dough should not be too hard or too soft).

4. On a clean table top, scatter some dry flour, knead and roll the dough into a sausage.

5. Divide the sausage dough into small portions each about 2 inches thick by cutting it.

6. Roll each portion with a rolling pin until flat small pancake shape *.

7. To make dumpling, hold the pancake with your palm and put the filling in the center; then wrap into half-moon shape and seal the edges.


Boiling Dumplings:
1. In a pot of boiling water, add the dumplings and stir to prevent them from sticking together.

2. When the water comes to a boil again and the dumplings float to the surface, add some cold water to slow down the cooking process of the dough so it doesn't break apart while allowing the filling to finish cooking.

3. Repeat step 2 two more times.

4. Dish the dumpling out and serve with the Classic Chinese Dipping Sauce.

Alternatively, you can also steam the dumplings for 10 minutes.

* If using pasta machine to roll dough, the thickness of my machine setting is no. 5. If using round cookie cutter, the mold diameter is 8cm.

Tips:
1. You can also boil dumplings in broth together with vermicelli made from bean starch or rice noodles and serve them together in a noodle dumpling soup.

2. You can use different vegetables such as celery, capsicum and cucumber.

Storage:
If you make in batches, they can keep in the freezer for 8 weeks.
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Additional Information:
We had dumplings for our own Chinese New Year Brunch today. J loved the dumplings and ate 5. Daddy liked it too. Daddy liked the classic Chinese dip. This is not the first time I have made the dip, but it was the first time, he actually liked it. I tried it 5 years ago and didn't like it. That made me glad. I really thank God that after 9 years of marriage, Daddy's tastebuds and mine are truly converging now. It is a lot of work to do it alone. I woke up at 4.30am in the morning to prepare it. But I was so excited about making it, that I couldn't sleep anyway.

Chinese dumplings or Jiaozi, with meat and vegetable fillings, is a traditional Chinese Food, which is essential during holidays in Northern China. The meaning of jiaozi is something like "the exchange of the old year and new year at the time of midnight". Therefore, in China, people eat jiaozi around midnight (2300-0100) of the new year's eve and the new year's day. Jiaozi may be round or crescent-shaped and can be boiled, steamed or pan-fried. Since the shape of Chinese dumplings is similar to ancient Chinese gold or silver ingots, they symbolize wealth. In some parts of China, they may hide some coins in one of the dumplings. The person who fined the coin will likely have a good fortune in the New Year. Chinese dumpling is also popular in other Chinese holidays or festivals, so it is very much part of the Chinese culture or tradition.

Most Chinese in China start to make dumplings when they are a kid in family. Making the skin is the hardest part of making dumplings. Nowadays you can buy ready-made skins in the Chinese supermarkets in China and Singapore. But it is not the same compared to making the skin fresh yourself.

The history of Chinese dumplings dates back to ancient times, some 2000 years ago, and it got popular from some 1400 years ago. As the Spring Festival marks the start of a new year, people choose to eat jiaozi to connote their wishes for good fortune in the new year. China has been perfecting the art of dumpling making since the Sung dynasty.

As China is a country with a vast territory, there are great differences in various regions in ways of making jiaozi or even serving it. For example, dumplings wrappers are made with a rolling stick in most areas of Beijing and Hebei Provinces, whereas in some parts of Shanxi Province and inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, wrappers are hand- pressed.

According to my friend, Zhang, when a guest comes to stay with a family, the family will prepare noodles, wishing that the guest will stay long, symbolizes by the long noodles. However, when a guest leaves, the family will prepare dumplings as send off, wishing the guest safe journey, which symbolizes by the whole and round shape of the dumplings.

References:
http://ks.cn.yahoo.com/question/1407050801332.html

http://www.beijingservice.com/beijinghighlights/dumpling.htm

http://rasamalaysia.com/recipe-chinese-jiaozi-leeks-and-pork/

Finely chop the Chinese cabbage

Finely chop the ginger

Mix the Chinese cabbage, minced meat and sesame oil

Grind the buckwheat for 30 seconds until it turns into flour


Here is the completed dough
Knead the dough, roll it and make it into palm size round pieces of 8cm in diameter

If you are using pasta machine to flatten the dough, you can use such a mold to cut the dough into round palm size

All the ingredients are ready


Take a piece of the dumpling skin and use a teaspoon to put the filling into the middle of the skin...

... like this...

If it is too dry to seal the dumpling, dab a little water on the inner edge as shown in picture

Fold it into half and seal it

Make plaits on the edges (optional)....

... and the dumpling will look like this

Put it on a tray and cover with a piece of cloth

All done and ready to be boiled :-)

In a pot of boiling water, add the dumplings and bring to boil again until dumplings float to the surface. Then add some cold water and repeat twice this same procedure.

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