My mother coined the name Peking Ravioli, because when we started serving jiao-zi in our restaurant in the 1950's, no one had seen anything like them before. Borrowing from the Italian at least gave people the idea that they were dough pockets with a filling. Interestingly, although the name potsticker is common now, just about all the Chinese restaurants in this area still call these dumplings Peking Ravioli because of my mother's influence.
Making Jiao zi is a social occasion for the whole family and a tradition during Chinese New Year. Here I am with my goddaughter making jiao zi for the new year. The dumplings take on different names depending upon the manner in which they are cooked. If they are pan fried, they are called "guo tie" or potsticker because they stick to the pot when cooked. If they are boiled they are called "jiao zi."
I will give you my mother's recipe for the dumplings just as she gave to me:
JIAO ZI or PEKING RAVIOLI
YIELD: 32 DUMPLINGS
1 pound napa cabbage
1 ½ teaspoon salt, divided
¾ pound ground pork
1 ½ tablespoons dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon dry sherry
½ teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon vegetable oil or bacon drippings
1 tablespoon sesame seed oil
1 pound round dumpling wrappers
- Wash and drain cabbage and chop very fine, sprinkling 1 teaspoon salt over the cabbage as you chop. Place chopped cabbage in a cloth bag or in a sheet of cheesecloth, doubled over. Squeeze out enough liquid to make 1 cup. Discard liquid.
- Put the remaining ingredients, except the wrappers, into a large bowl and add the cabbage. Mix well – hand mixing is the best way. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
It’s now fairly easy to find round dough wrappers called Dumpling or Gyoza wrappers in a good supermarket or Asian market. I like to use Twin Marquis brand “Dumpling Wrapper (Shanghai Style)” which come in 16 ounce packages.
TO FORM THE DUMPLINGS:
- Place a heaping teaspoon of the filling in the center of a round wrapper.
- Fold the wrapper in half to form a half moon shape and brush the edges with a little water.
- Pinch the edges together to seal tightly (you can also use Helen’s Asian Kitchen Dumplings Press).
- Place formed dumplings on a floured baking sheet or plate until ready to cook. Keep them covered with a damp cloth to prevent drying.
NOTE: Uncooked dumplings may be kept in the refrigerator for several days or frozen for several weeks. To freeze, place the dumplings on floured baking sheets in the freezer. When they have frozen, you can put them into a plastic bag and seal. Do not drop them into a freezer bag while they are soft or they will stick together.
TO BOIL THE DUMPLINGS:
- Bring 5 quarts of water to a boil in a stock pot.
- Slip the dumplings into the boiling water, being sure there is enough room to allow them to swim about freely; cover and cook over medium high heat until water boils again. Keep and eye on the pot because it can foam and boil over easily.
- As soon as the water returns to a boil, add a cup of cold water, cover and continue cooking over medium heat. When the water comes to a boil a third time remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 2 - 3 minutes. This procedure ensures that the filling will be cooked through.
- Remove dumplings with a wire strainer and drain in a colander. Transfer to a plate or shallow platter and serve immediately.
It is customary to serve boiled jiao-zi with a vinegar/soy(light)/hot oil dip that guests may put together themselves. Just set out cruets of each (you can also use Chinkiang vinegar) and let people mix their own. My family and I actually prefer to eat jiao-zi with just cider vinegar.
For a whole meal, Chinese style, allow 6 to 15 pieces per person depending upon their appetite. The Chinese also like to serve the cooking water as a refreshing hot beverage after the meal. I personally find it tasteless, but many Chinese are partial to it.
Copyright© 1994, 2007, 2009 Helen Chen. All rights reserved.
Helen's Asian Kitchen is not associated with Joyce Chen Products.