Sheridan Su

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

My Soul Food

Jiaozi, as it is called in Chinese, is one of my favorite foods in the world. My mom used to tell me stories of her and her 3 brothers making hundreds of dumplings everyday when they were kids. Back in Taipei, my grandparents used to host mah-jhong games every weekend for the neighborhood. To be considered good hosts, every single attendee had to be fed. My grandma's recipe was so popular that some people came just for the dumplings and not mah-jhong. So dumplings were served every weekend. They were stuffed with ground pork, plenty of chives, and seasoned with a touch of ginger. I swear, I could eat about 40 or 50 or these in one sitting. That's a lot of dumplings!!!

After being cooked, the jaozi is dipped in a sauce made from soy sauce, black vinegar and garlic. Every member of my family makes it the same way, just as my grandparents used to make it. My mom made this for me often when I was growing up. I have tried this dish in many restaurants from Los Angeles to Vegas and NYC to Boston...even China! However, it just nevers seems quite as good as the ones my family makes. While here in Mexico, I sometimes think about home. One of the things that I am nostalgic about is food, particularly the foods that I grew up with.

My family makes these wrappers from from scratch by rolling out little nuggets of dough. Here, I have recreated my grandma's recipe for the dumplings with store bought wrappers.

Beautiful raw jiaozi.

Beautifully cooked jiaozi.

for the dough:
3 cups AP flour
2.5-3 cups room temperature water
for the filling:
1 cup ground pork
1 T soy sauce
1 t salt
1/2 t sugar
1 T dry Sherry
1/4 T white pepper
2 cups thinly sliced Chinese chives
1 T ginger, minced
for the sauce:
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup black vinegar
1/4 cup water
crushed garlic
For the dough, mix ingredients and knead until mixture is homogenous. Set aside to rest.
Mix all ingredients in filling.
Divide dough into smaller pieces (1 inch x 1 inch). Flatten each piece with the palm of your hand and roll dough into a circular shape, about 3 inches in diameter.
Place about 1 T of filling in each wrapper and fold over into a half moon shape. Press edges tightly to seal.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the dumplings in. Give it one stir to make sure none are sticking to each other or the bottom of the pot. Once the dumplings start to float, allow it to sit in the boiling water for an additional 5 minutes. Drain and serve with dipping sauce.

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