A few years ago, my son had a couple of Chinese friends in school. They were exchange students away from their family, living in a boarding house.
Once my son had some Jiaozi, Chinese dumplings in his lunch box. The boys were impressed by the look of my homemade Jiaozi, and asked my son if I could make some for them. Soon I was making extra lunchboxes every day!
Jiaozi is a type of dumpling originates from China, but they are also commonly eaten in many other Asian countries. It is very popular in Japan as well.
These dumplings typically consists of a ground pork and/or vegetable filling wrapped into a thinly rolled piece of dough, which is then sealed by pressing the edges together or by crimping.
Here are my Jiaozi.
Ready-made Jiaozi pastry is widely available in Japan, but since it is not easy to get it in the UK, I needed to learn how to make it. I didn’t even think of making the Jiaozi pastry when I was living in Japan.
But fortunately, I found making the pastry is surprisingly simple.
Recipe to make 20-25
70-80 mL water
150 g strong flour
100 g ground pork
2 large leaves of Sweetheart cabbage or Chinese cabbage, blanched in hot water
*vegetables of your choice, finely chopped
Garlic, finely chopped
Soya sauce, salt, and pepper
Chinese five spices (optional)
Chili oil (optional)
You can add any vegetables you would like; spinach, bamboo shoots, shiitake mushrooms, etc. Blanch leafy vegetables and chop finely.
1. Mix the water and the flour to a dough that should not be sticky. Add more water if required. It is a quite tough dough. Kneed in the bowl for 5 minutes.
Wrap the dough in a cling film, and let it stand for 20 minutes.
2. Cut the dough in 25 pieces (I am cutting the dough as I go here in the photo) and form each of them to very thin discs with a diameter of about 10 cm.
1. Blanch the cabbage leaves for a couple of minutes to soften the leaves. Cool them and squeeze water. Chop finely all vegetables you are using. Some say the amount of these ingredients should equal the amount of meat, but I tend to use more vegetables than meat. You can also use prawns or tinned tuna instead of meat or go vegan. Do it as you like.
2. Mix all ingredients together, and add some salt, pepper, soya sauce, and sesame oil for seasoning. Mix it all very well.
Making and frying the Gyoza:
3. Put some of the filling onto a piece of dough. Remember that the filling should suffice for 25 pieces.
Close the gyoza. While closing it, fold the edge of the front layer about 6 times as shown on the image. If you are using ready-made pastry you need to moisten the edge of the dough with water, but this homemade pastry does not require moistening.
Fry the Jiaozi in a little bit of hot oil until the bottom is brownish.
Add about 2 tbsp of hot water and immediately close the lid so that the dumplings are steamed and cooked through.
After a couple of minutes, open the lid and let all the water vaporized. Then remove from the heat.The bottom should be brown and crispy.
Dipping sauce: Mix the same amounts of soya sauce and vinegar together.
These dumplings can be steamed or cooked in a soup, too. They are healthy and delicious.
Warning: If you have teenage boys, you will need to make a lot!