Family Fun Dumpling Day

Since we were snow and iced in this past week, we had to come up with some fun activities to pass the time when we were thawing out indoors. We are teaching our son Chinese. We have a variety of books, CDs and DVDs to help us in this endeavor. One of these DVDs shows a family making Jiaozi, or Chinese dumplings. Although my husband is Chinese, he has never made them from scratch before. So we thought it would be a fun family activity. My son has just turned 2 years old, so he hasn’t had much experience helping in the kitchen just yet. He has his own “play” kitchen set and I do hope that I can instill in him the love and joy of cooking.
My husband found a recipe online, which of course I can no longer locate that specific one. But if you search for how to make Jiaozi, you can get instructions, which are basically all the same. But I do remember the basics of what we did. The instructions we found said not to use all-purpose flour, but either Chinese wheat or rice flour. Since we had neither, we opted for whole wheat flour. Also, all the measures are metric, which I did not convert since my scale measures in grams and my measuring cups list metric measures as well.
We mixed together 360 grams of whole wheat flour with approximately 250 ml of very cold water and 1/2 tsp of salt to form a soft dough. We covered the dough and let it rest for at least 30 minutes. Then, we divided it into about 60 pieces and rolled each out into a thin disc about 3 inches in diameter. 


Rolling the dough into balls


Rolled out dumpling about 3 inches in diameter

For a filling we used some leftover pork stirfry. We put a small amount of the meat and vegetable in the center, then folded them in half and sealed with a little bit of water on the dough. Then we crimped the edges.     

Putting filling in the dumpling
Closing the dumpling
Shaping the dumpling
Ready to cook
We opted to boil the dumplings versus frying them. Bring a large pot of water to boil, then add half the dumplings. Add 120 ml of cold water, bring to a boil then add the remaining dumplings. Add another 120 ml of cold water. When the water comes to a boil again, the dumplings should be done.
First few in the pot
Boiling the dumplings
Ready to eat

The verdict: The Jiaozi were good, all things considered. When we make these again, we will either roll the dough thinner or try Chinese flour. All in all, it was a fun way to spend the afternoon and something we’ll do again to perfect our recipe and try different fillings.   

Have any fun cooking projects you’ve done? Please comment and share.