Jiaozi - or dumplings are a staple food of the Nothern China people. I was lucky today as my reflexologist from Beijing, Xue Lian demonstrated the way Beijing people mark the Winter Solstice Festival. They make jiaozi or dumplings!
Firstly, you would need to add water to regular flour and knead to form a dough. Thereafter set the dough aside. Then we chop up whatever filling you decide e.g. for meaty dumplings - meat, ginger, cabbage. If you fancy vegetarian Xue Lian recommends this - celery, carrot, cabbage, wooden fungus or any other vege that is chopped up finely. Don't forget that for vegetables that retain water like cabbage - you will have to squeeze out the water from the vege. Add some sesame seed oil and soya sauce. Being health conscious, Xue Lian did not add any salt.
She proceeded to knead and make the dumpling skin. This is when the real kungfu comes in. She rolls the dough into a round shape, make a hole in the center and then proceed to form a long piece of dough. Then she pinches even pieces of small dough and proceeds to roll out the dumpling skin. Tip here - one has to roll the sides thin and leave the center a bit thicker - this is to prevent the dumpling from breaking.
After wrapping the dumpling we drop the dumplings into water and wait for them to come to a boil 3 times. Why 3 times? We add cool water to the water each time we boil 3 times as to ensure that the meat in the dumplings are cooked well. After dishing them out, serve the dumplings hot with ginger and vinegar - very very yummy. Hope you have enjoyed this post as much as I did!