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Chinese dumpling is actually quite similar to the Italian stuffed pasta, Ravioli, i.e. a dough wrapper filled with ground meat, seafood or vegetables, or with a combination of two or all three ingredients. They come in all shapes and sizes, the two most common being Wonton and Jiaozi. Both are actually the same, the only difference being the dough wrappers. Wonton wrapper is thinner and contains egg, flour, water and salt (yellowish wrapper), whereas Jiazi ones are thicker and without the egg (white wrapper).

Popular items in dim sum restaurants using egg dough wrapper are deep-fried wantons (these are usually served with a sweet chilli dip or mayonnaise), boiled wontons in a light and clear broth with or without noodles, and a steamed item known as Shou Mai.

Those made with eggless dough wrapper are called Jiaozhi. Depending on the filling and cooking method, ‘Shuijiao’ refers to boiled dumplings, ‘Zhengjiao’ is steamed dumplings, and ‘Guotie’ are pan-fried dumplings or ‘potstickers’.

Both types of ready-made wrappers are available here in square and round shapes. Ready made wrappers make preparing these delicious dumplings a breeze at home. If you’re game enough to make your own wrappers (which is actually not difficult), you can check out these two websites :

http://chinesefood.about.com/od/dimsumwonton/r/wontonwrapper.htm
http://chinesefood.about.com/od/dimsumdumplings/r/jiaozi.htm

Today, I made some boiled wantons as a side dish for dinner. The same can be deep fried for a crispy bite (see Pan-Fried Dumplintons). We like it cooked either way. Snacking on dumplings can be quite additive so I usually have to keep them away from sight before a meal as otherwise they would all be gone in a jiffy!

CHINESE DUMPLINGS – WONTON (云吞 ) & JIAOZI (饺子 )
– for this recipe, you can either use WONTON WRAPPERS or JIAOZI WRAPPERS
– if using wonton wrapper (egg dough wrapper), dumplings can be boiled or deep fried
– if using jiaozi wrapper (eggless dough wrapper), dumplings can be boiled, pan-fried or deep-fried

Ingredients (make about 25 dumplings)

(A) The filling :
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200gm ground pork
200gm shrimps, chopped coarsely
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 stalks green onion, chopped
1 red chilli, seeded and minced
½ teaspoon minced ginger
1 tablespoon light soya sauce
½ teaspoon Chinese rice wine
1 teaspoon sesame oil
¼ teaspoon sugar
some pepper
1 small egg (or 2 teaspoon cornstarch)

(B) 25pcs wanton wrappers or jiaozhi wrappers

ready-made wonton wrappers (egg dough wrappers) available from the supermarket

ready-made wonton wrappers (egg dough wrappers) available from the supermarket

(C) Soy-Vinegar Sauce dressing :
3 tablespoon light soya sauce
2 tablespoon sweet vinegar
½ tablespoon sesame oil
½ tablespoon roasted garlic oil
¼ teaspoon white pepper
1 stalk of coriander, minced
1 chilli, seeded & sliced (optional)
3 tablespoons of ginger, sliced into very fine stripes

Directions :

1) Combine (A) together well.

2) Place a wrapper (I use wonton wrapper here) on your palm or on a flat work surface. Put a heaped spoonful of (A) on it. Dap some water around the edge and fold the wrapper in half diagonally and compress the edges with your fingers (if square wrapper is used, it will resemble a triangle. If round one is used, it will be a semi-circle). For variations, you can pleat the edge of a semi-circle dumpling to make it look like a ‘purse’ or simply pull two ends together to shape it like a ‘pouch’
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3) Bring a large pot or pan of water to boil. Cook wantons in batches, leaving sufficient room to allow dumplings to move freely in the hot water. Boil for 8 mins or until the dumplings rise to the top and the filling is thoroughly cooked. Remove with a slotted soup.
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4) Transfer the cooked dumplings immediately into a bowl of iced water (this will give the dumpling skin a chewy texture). Let it stand for 30 secs then drain and transfer dumplings onto a serving dish.
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5) Dress with soy-vinegar sauce (alternatively, serve the sauce separately). Serve immediately.
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