Jiao Zi (Dumplings)

by Xinyu on 06th Sep, 2012

Posted by
chinese pork jiao zi freezing prawn dumpling

When one talks about jiao zi, or Chinese dumplings, a common image that pops into the mind is that of a quintessential Chinese family, gathered around a table making dumplings for the New Year. This is only true for northern Chinese, however; as descendents of southern Chinese neither Ai Qi nor I can recall ever doing such in our childhood days. Nevertheless, jiao zi aren't too hard to make, can be frozen to be added to soups for a quick meal, and taste delicious to boot, so we decided to spend a humid Saturday afternoon at home making them.
The recipes we found for the jiao zi skin (wrapping) called for just a mix of flour and water, kneaded and then rested. We probably didn't knead the dough long enough to create sufficient elasticity, as the resultant dumplings were quite fragile and broke easily. Next time we might consign the kneading duties to trusty Kitchen Aid instead.

For the filling, we improvised and used a mix of minced pork, minced prawns and koo chye (Chinese chives), as those were the flavours we liked.

Altogether we made around 80 jiao zi, and froze them all for future use. They can be steamed, boiled, even fried like guo tie; a very versatile addition to your freezer!

Jiaozi Skin Dough

2 cups flour , 3/4 cup water
2 cups flour
3/4 cup water

Heat water till it just begins to boil. Add the water to the flour in a slow stream, mixing as you go, till you have a dough. Knead the dough (be careful, it will be hot) till smooth and elastic, hopefully something close to bread dough. Place dough into a ziplock bag (or wrap with cling wrap) and leave it to rest for around 2 hours.

Pork, Prawns and Koo Chye Filling

minced pork , prawns , koo chye (chives) , light soy sauce , sesame oil , white pepper
minced pork
['minced pork']
koo chye (chives)
['koo chye']
light soy sauce
['light soy sauce']
sesame oil
['sesame oil']
white pepper
['white pepper']

Peel prawns and mince fully. Cut koo chye into small pieces. Mix prawns and koo chye with minced pork, and season with soy sauce, sesame oil and white pepper.

Jiao Zi

skin dough , filling
skin dough
['jiaozi skin dough']
['pork prawns and koo chye filling']

Take a bit of the skin dough, make a ball, then roll into a thin circular disc using a rolling pin. The dough will be sticky so keep everything well dusted with flour, your hands included. The skin should be as thin as possible without breaking apart; how thin you can make it really depends on the gluten formation of the dough.

Add sufficient filling to the centre of the skin, and wrap the dumpling by folding in half and crimping the edges. It takes some practice to get it done neatly and nicely, but no worries; an ugly dumpling is still a tasty dumpling! The most important thing is to keep the filling sealed within, so the flavours don't get washed out when you boil the dumpling in water.

The dumplings can be frozen by placing them individually on a sheet pan lined with baking paper. Once they fully harden, you can store them in a ziplock bag.

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