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Ten steamed jiaozi (zhengjiao) with peanut dipping sauce
|Place of origin||China|
|Main ingredient(s)||Dough, ground meat or vegetables|
|Alternative Chinese name|
|Literal meaning||pot sticker|
|Second alternative Chinese name|
|Hanyu Pinyin||biǎn shí|
|Literal meaning||flat food|
|Nepali||म:म: or ममचा|
Jiaozi or if fried, pot sticker, is a type of dumpling commonly eaten across Eastern, Central and Western Asia. Though commonly considered part of Chinese cuisine, jiaozi are also commonly eaten in many other Asian countries.
Jiaozi typically consists 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 skin and a relatively flatter, more oblate, double-saucer like shape (similar in shape to ravioli), and is usually eaten with a soy-vinegar dipping sauce (and/or hot chili sauce); while wontons have thinner skin and are usually served in broth. The dough for the jiaozi and wonton wrapper also consist of different ingredients.
Chinese dumplings (jiaozi) may be divided into various types depending on how they are cooked:
- Boiled dumplings (Chinese: 水餃; pinyin: shuǐjiǎo; literally "water dumpling")
- Steamed dumplings (Chinese: 蒸餃; pinyin: zhēngjiǎo; literally "steam dumpling")
- Pan fried dumplings (Chinese: 鍋貼; pinyin: guōtiē; literally "pan stick", also referred to as Chinese: 煎餃; pinyin: jiānjiǎo; literally "dry-fried dumplings").
Dumplings that use egg rather than dough to wrap the filling are called "egg dumplings" (Chinese: 蛋餃; literally "dànjiǎo").
Cantonese style Chinese dumplings called gaau (Chinese: 餃; Tongyong Pinyin: gaau) are standard fare in dim sum. The immediate noted difference to jiaozi is that they are smaller and wrapped in a thinner translucent skin, and usually steamed. In other words, these are steamed dumplings. The smaller size and the thinner pastry make the dumplings easier to cook through with steaming. Fillings include shrimp, scallop, chicken, tofu, mixed vegetables, and others. The most common type are shrimp dumplings (har gow). In contrast to jiaozi, gaau are rarely home-made. Similar to jiaozi, many types of fillings exist, and dim sum restaurants often feature their own house specials or innovations. Dim sum chefs and artists often use ingredients in new or creative ways, or draw inspiration from other Chinese culinary traditions, such as Chiuchow, Hakka, or Shanghai. More creative chefs may even incorporate a fusion from other cultures, such as Japanese (teriyaki) or Southeast Asian (satay, curry), while upscale restaurants may use expensive or exotic ingredients such as lobster, shark fin and bird's nest. Another Cantonese dumpling is the jau gok.
Fillings in dumplings
Common dumpling meat fillings include pork, mutton, beef, chicken, fish, and shrimp, which are usually mixed with chopped vegetables. Popular vegetable fillings include napa cabbage, scallion (spring onions), leek, celery and garlic chives. Dumplings are eaten with a soy sauce-based dipping sauce that may include vinegar, garlic, ginger, rice wine, hot sauce, and sesame oil.
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 word for "horn" is jiao (Chinese: 角; pinyin: jiǎo), 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.
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" (Chinese: 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. In China, jiaozi are sometimes served as a last course during restaurant meals. As a breakfast dish, jiaozi are prepared alongside xiaolongbao at inexpensive, roadside restaurants. Typically, they are served in small steamers containing ten pieces each. Although mainly consumed at breakfast, these small restaurants keep them hot on steamers, and ready to eat all day.
As a dish prepared at home, each family has its own preferred method of making them, using favourite fillings, with types and methods of preparation varying widely from region to region.
The Japanese word gyōza (ギョーザ, ギョウザ) was derived from the reading of 餃子 in the Shandong Chinese dialect (giaozi) and is written using the same Chinese characters pronounced with Japanese sounds. The selection of characters indicates that the word is of non-Japanese origin.
The most prominent differences between Japanese-style gyōza and Chinese-style jiaozi are the rich garlic flavor, which is less noticeable in the Chinese version, the light seasoning of Japanese gyōza with salt and soy sauce, and the fact that gyōza wrappers are much thinner. Of course, jiaozi vary greatly across regions within China, so these differences are not always substantial. Gyōza are usually served with soy-based tare sauce seasoned with rice vinegar and/or rāyu (known as chili oil in English, làyóu (辣油) in China). The most common recipe is a mixture of minced pork, cabbage, and nira (Chinese chives), and sesame oil, and/or garlic, and/or ginger, which is then wrapped into thinly rolled dough skins. In essence, gyōza are similar in shape to pierogi.
The most popular preparation method is the pan-fried style called yaki-gyōza (焼き餃子), in which the dumpling is first fried on one flat side, creating a crispy skin. Then, water is added and the pan sealed with a lid, until the upper part of the gyōza is steamed. Other popular methods include boiled sui-gyōza (水餃子) and deep fried age-gyōza (揚げ餃子).
Store bought frozen dumplings are often prepared at home by first placing them in a pot of water which is brought to a boil, and then transferring them to a pan with oil to fry the skin.
The Nepalese version is known as momo (म:म). The word "momo" comes from a Chinese loanword "momo" (馍馍). which translates to "steamed bread". When preparing momo, flour is filled, most commonly with ground water buffalo meat. Often, ground lamb or chicken meat is used as alternate to water buffalo meat. Finely chopped onion, minced garlic, fresh minced ginger, cumin powder, salt, coriander/cilantro, etc. are added to meat for flavoring. Sauce made from cooked tomatoes flavored with timur (Szechwan pepper), minced red chilies is often served along with momo.
Guotie (simplified Chinese: 锅贴; traditional Chinese: 鍋貼; pinyin: guōtiē; literally "pot stick") is pan-fried jiaozi, also known as potstickers in North America (a direct character translation), or yaki-gyoza in Japan. They are a Northern Chinese style dumpling popular as a street food, appetizer, or side order in Chinese. This dish is sometimes served on a dim sum menu, but may be offered independently. The filling for this dish usually contains pork (sometimes chicken, or beef in Muslim areas), cabbage (or Chinese cabbage and sometimes spinach), scallions (spring or green onions), ginger, Chinese rice wine or cooking wine, and sesame seed oil.
Guotie are shallow-fried in a wok (Mandarin "guo"). A small quantity of water is added and the wok is covered. While the base of the dumplings is fried, the upper part is steamed and this gives a texture contrast typical of Chinese cuisine.
An alternative method is to steam in a wok and then fry to crispness on one side in a shallow frying pan.
Exactly the same dumpling is boiled in plenty of water to make jiaozi and both are eaten with a dipping sauce or chilli paste.
Three or five folds are made on one side of the round wrapper that is rolled so that the edges are thinner than the middle. This gives the base a large surface area that helps to give the dumpling stability to stand up in the pan.
The Chinese method of preparing the dough is to pour boiling water onto the flour and letting stand for five minutes and then adding a small quantity of cold water. This helps to activate the gluten in the dough.
Other names for guotie:
- Peking ravioli – In Boston, guotie are known as "Peking ravioli", a name first coined at the Joyce Chen Restaurant in Cambridge, MA, in 1958.
- Wor tip (Cantonese Jyutping: wo1 tip3) is the Cantonese name for guotie'
Guotie is said to date back over four millennia. However, the first mention in literature dates back to the Song Dynasty (960–1280 AD) in ancient China reporting guotie as being exceptionally good for the human soul.
Interestingly, each country has a different folding technique. Korean ones are wrapped around the center, giving a round chubby look, Chinese ones are folded length-wise and sometimes pushed in on the edges, giving an elongated or square-ish look, and Japanese are always pleated giving a folded fan look. Moreover, Nepalese ones are also uniquely shaped.
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