Last week, Marc & I had the honor of being invited to our Chinese friends' beautiful home for a dumpling dinner as part of the continuing Chinese New Year week celebrations. Eating dumplings or "jiaozi" in Mandarin (pronounced jiyao-dzuh) is a big tradition of Chinese New Year week, usually eaten during the fifth day in Northern China. Dumplings are said to symbolize wealth because of their shape which looks like the gold ingot from ancient China. They also symbolize bidding farewell to the old and ushering in the new.
|Chopping chives for the dumpling stuffing|
I got my first ever course in dumpling making through the expert skills of my Chinese friends, and it was great fun. Making the stuffing is easy enough which consists of a mixture of ground pork, peeled shrimps, a special Chinese garlic-soy sauce, Chinese powdered seasoning, and chopped chives. But placing the stuffing neatly into the dumpling wrappers and folding them into that famous fan-shape, an almost accordion-like shape was trickier than I thought!
|Learning to properly fold the dumpling|
My first few dumplings looked abysmal (as Simon Cowell used to say on American Idol) to say the least! But after watching closely, observing and a little practice...I started to get the hang of it and little by little, my dumplings finally started to take shape. I still don't think I would ever be hired to make dumplings in a restaurant....but for a home-cooked meal, I'd say I didn't do that bad.
After the dumplings are all set, all that's left is to boil them in a pot while constantly stirring under gently, so they don't stick to the bottom. Adding a little salt to the water separates the dumplings from sticking to each other as well.
|The dumplings all ready to be boiled|