Chinese dumplings

Chinese boiled dumpling is always my favorite food.  Currently I successfully turn it into my party turn-key solution.

To cook Chinese boiled dumplings, there are four steps: preparation, wrapping, boiling, and eating. Among the steps, preparation is the most tedious one, but there’s no doubt that it’s most important since the ingredient combination determines the flavor of the boiled dumplings.

In the ingredients preparation, mostly meaning the filling stuff since we usually buy ready-to-use dumpling wrappers from grocery store, hubby and I performed a perfect teamwork.  He’s in charge of cutting the vegetables into small pieces.  I mix up all the ingredients together: the grounded meat, green onions, spices and sauces, vegetables (our favorite is the combination of Chinese cabbage and celery), eggs, and shrimps (don’t mash shrimps, cut each in half for bigger ones, or make them whole for small shrimps); and then beat them up with a pair of chopsticks.

The key to make the ingredients tasting just right is the amount of salt. Too much salt, the finished dumplings would be too salty and it would be difficult to swallow without a large amount of water, which means all the hard work in the process would be ruined down the drain. Too little salt, the end product would taste insipid; although some make-up work such as using soy sauce and vinegar as dip sauce can compensate the deficiency, the overall quality of the dumplings was decreased.

One word about the ready-to-use dumpling wrappers bought from grocery store: the thinner, the better.  We usually judge the wrappers’ thickness through observation or through simple calculation to compare different wrapper brands by dividing the total weight to the number of wrappers.

Wrapping usually takes longer time than ingredients preparation; however, we quite enjoy the process.  We watch videos on laptop and conduct casual chitchat in the process. Wrapping well takes some skills, and both of us have our own knacks. The shapes we make are slight different, but it doesn’t matter, we just make fun out of it. Sometimes, even Eric helps us to wrap the dumplings. His skill is pretty good considering his age.  He has good imagination too to make the funny shapes of moon and small animals.  Of course, his favorite job is to wrap sugar or chocolate inside to make sweet dumplings.

Boiling is my job.  Boil half pot of water, put the dumplings into the boiling water one by one, and stir occasionally with a sieve scoop just in case the dumplings stuck to the bottom of the pot.  Make sure to put proper amount of dumplings inside, not too many and not too few.  One of the judgments is to stir the sieve
scoop in the water, if it can easily go through the dumplings, that means the numbers of dumpling are just right.  Continue to boil the water in high temperature. Wait till the water boils again, pour in a cup of cold water, and wait for the water to boil for a second time, repeat the step by pour in a cup of cold water. When
the water is boiling for a third time, the dumplings are cooked mature enough to eat. Take out the dumplings with the sieve scoop (to filter out the water) and put them on a large plate.

Aha, now it’s time to eat. Enjoy the dumplings with ready-to-use dumpling sauce or homemade sauce.

Last Saturday, we had a dumpling party with hubby’s cousin family. At first, I was pretty nervous about the amount salt I put in. Thank God, the finished dumplings turned out tasting just right.  With dumplings served as the main dish, we also bought some appetizers and side dishes from grocery store.  The party went on very well, which boosted my confidence level so I have invited J and her family to home for our next dumpling party. 🙂

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