Monday, January 23, 2012

Potstickers aka Chinese Dumplings, For Luck, In The Chinese New Year, Year Of The Dragon

Potstickers aka Chinese dumplings, are symbolic of wealth because of their golden color and shape [ignot], and are one of the dishes traditionally eaten for luck during Chinese New Year. 2012 is the year of the dragon.

"Shallow fried dumplings (guotie) lit. "pan stick", known as "potstickers" in N. America, (鍋貼; pinyin: guōtiē), also referred to as "dry-fried dumplings" (煎餃; pinyin: jiānjiǎo)."

"Jiǎozi 餃子 or 饺子 (Chinese transliteration), or pot sticker is a Chinese dumpling."

"Jiaozi are one of the major foods eaten during the Chinese New Year and year round in the northern provinces. They look like the golden ingots yuan bao used during the Ming Dynasty for money and the name sounds like the word for the earliest paper money, so serving them is believed to bring prosperity. Many families eat these at midnight on Chinese New Year's Eve. Some cooks will even hide a clean coin for the lucky to find."

"Jiaozi were so named because they were horn shaped. The Chinese for "horn" is jiǎo (角), and jiaozi was originally written with the Chinese character for "horn", but later it was replaced by a specific character 餃, which has the food radical on the left and the phonetic component jiāo (交) on the right"

"Jiaozi typically consist of a ground meat and/or vegetable filling wrapped into a thinly rolled piece of dough, which is then sealed by pressing the edges together or by crimping. Jiaozi should not be confused with wonton: jiaozi has a thicker, chewier skin and a flatter, more oblate, double-saucer like shape (similar in shape to ravioli), and are usually eaten with a soy-vinegar dipping sauce (and/or hot chili sauce); while wontons have thinner skin, are sphere-shaped, and are usually served in broth. The dough for the jiaozi and wonton wrapper also consist of different ingredients."

"According to folk tales, jiaozi were invented by Zhang Zhongjing, one of the greatest practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine in history. They were originally called "tender ears" (娇耳; pinyin: jiao'er) because they were used to treat frostbitten ears."

"Jiaozi are eaten all year round and can be eaten at any time of the day – breakfast, lunch or dinner. They can constitute one course, starter or side dish, or the main meal. Every family has its own preferred method of making them, with favourite fillings, and of course, jiaozi types and preparation vary widely according to region."

Gung Hay Fat Choy! ["Congratulations and best wishes for prosperity"!] Chinese New Year 2012, also known as Spring Festival, the year of the dragon, arrives January 23, 2012.

Potstickers aka Chinese Dumplings Photo wikiHOW
From wikiHOW
PotStickers aka Chinese Dumpling Recipe

Dumpling wraps
Minced or ground pork or lamb
Napa cabbage
Black pepper
Sesame oil
Balm, a green vegetable also know as 蔥 in Chinese or Japanese.
[Balm is scallions or green onion in English.]

Tai bai fen, cooking starch made from potatoes or cassava
[or substitute with arrowroot powder or corn starch.]

Shred the cabbage and put into a stainless pot. Mix the cabbage and minced meat together by hand. Ground meat is meat finely chopped by a meat grinder. Pork and lamb are generally preferred for Chinese dumplings, but beef, chicken, and turkey may be used as well. In South Asia, both lamb (mutton) and goat meat are popular. The process of mincing is usually done manually. Add the balm, salt and a little tai bai fen (cornstarch/cornflour) and mix again.

Massage the cabbage mixture with your hand for 10 minutes. to make it dry. While you massage the mixture, if you feel that there is not enough tai bai fen, you should add more.

Put the mixture on the wrapping. Two types of wrappers are readily available in supermarkets and Asian food stores. Wonton wrappers (also called skins) are delicate and paper-thin, usually about a thirty-second of an inch thick. They typically come in three-inch squares and are made from flour, eggs, and salt. These wrappers, which are Chinese in origin, are suitable for boiling, steaming, deep-frying, and pan-frying. You can also make your own.

Wet the edge with a damp finger and fold the sides together, crimping (pressing together) with your fingers to seal the contents inside. To do this, first fold it in half and press together the top of the edge. Then press each side together, while crimping it so that it looks like the picture below. Simple mechanical "dumpling presses" are also available to simplify this process.

Wrap the crusts and pinch/crimp the edges. Put the dumplings in boiling water. To make sure that they are thoroughly cooked, one method in China is the "3 boil" method: Add the dumplings to boiling water, and return the water to a boil. Then add 1 or 2 cups of water (cold or room temp). Wait for it to boil the second time, then add water again. After the water boils the third time, it's done!

[Damage In The Kitchen Editor's Note: To increase the golden color for the dumpling after boiling, place in a frying pan with little or no oil for 3-5 mins or until they literally gently stick to the side of the pan, then remove for serving.]

Text Credits: Wikipedia || wikiHOW

Image Credit: wikiHOW

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