34.1. Dumplings (饺子, jiao3 zi)

A staple food of North-east China.

You can buy them frozen on bags with about 20 for about 4 dollars.

Just boil 10-15 for 10 minutes and you have a decent ready-made meal!

The perfect cooking technique includes:

  • at first, before they float, stir often with chopsticks so that they won’t stick to the hot bottom of the pan, which will cause the peel to break

  • don’t ever ever ever overcook. Cook the minimum possible so that it is not raw. This also means taking the jiaozi out of the hot water as soon as they are done.

  • after the dumplings rise to the surface after a few minutes, let it boil, and then put some cold water on top of the hot water. Repeat this two, three or four times until they are fully cooked. This helps the jiazi keep a strong peel.

The best way to eat them is to pour some vinegar and ready-to-eat spicy preparations like Lao Gan Ma crispy chilly oil 老干妈 (lao3 gan1 ma1) or Ciro’s favorite, Fansaoguang (饭扫光) in the bowl, and then dip them one by one.

You can also drink the soup, or for cold days, actually eat the jiaozi with their soup. Ciro likes to add soy sauce and more of the above mentioned spices.

Can also be made by hand if you have the patience. Ciro Santilli’s mother-in-law (三西猴的岳母), being from the North East, can make them very skillfuly. Ciro’s favorite flavour is Shrimp + Egg + Chives (韭菜). Shrimps can be bought frozen for cheap, don’t cut them up too much!

Figure 293. Fresh Asia Brand (香源) product line "hand crafted water dumplings" (手工水餃) is a good brand to buy if you can get it. Source.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQkXA1xglU8 How to Cook Frozen Dumplings (Boil) by "Yongle Kitchen" shows the cool water pouring process.