Peking Dumplings

In Olympic news yesterday, the US women’s football (soccer) team defeated Japan to win their third consecutive Olympic gold medal.  Jamaican runner Usain Bolt took gold in the 200m sprint event, just days after winning his third consecutive gold in the men’s 100m event.  Bolt is now the first man to ever win the sprint double back to back.   The US women’s water polo team won their first gold medal , beating Spain 8-5.  Jade Jones won Great Britain’s first ever Taekwondo gold medal, and Chen Ruolin from China won gold in the women’s 10mm platform diving event.

Most people remember the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics, with the spectacular Opening Ceremony, and Michael Phelps winning a record-breaking eight gold medals.  The Beijing Summer Games had the largest television audience in history.  Nine new events, including open water swimming and BMX, were added.  There was a controversy over the ages of China’s women gymnastics team members, with critics arguing that the gymnasts appeared to be too young to compete (and, in some cases, did not provide proper documentation to the contrary).  All accused gymnasts were exonerated and went on to win the team all-around gold medal.

Jiao zi are a dumpling popular in Northern China.  Some call them a “Peking ravioli,” and it’s easy to see why.  These are pretty simple to make, even considering the time it takes to fill and press the wrappers.  A simple filling of pork and cabbage really goes a long way, these were very flavorful.  The original recipe did call for round wrappers, which I’m sure are the more authentic way to go.  Authenticity be damned, my local stores only seemed to have square wrappers, so I made them work.  Whatever shape wrapper you use, make sure you seal them tightly before boiling.  I served these with some rice and a dipping sauce made from mixing sriracha and soy sauce and this was a great dinner.  If you don’t need to make 32 dumplings, I advise making 32 dumplings anyway, boiling what you’re going to serve, and freezing the rest individually on a wax paper lined baking sheet.  Once frozen, store them in resealable bags.

Peking Dumplings

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. napa cabbage
  • 1 ½ tsp. salt, divided
  • ¾ lb. ground pork
  • 1 ½ Tbsp. dark soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. dry sherry
  • ½ tsp. sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 Tbsp.  sesame seed oil
  • 1 pound round (or square . . .) dumpling wrappers

Directions:

Wash and drain cabbage and chop very fine, sprinkle 1 teaspoon of the salt over the cabbage as you chop.

Place the chopped cabbage in a cloth bag or on a clean dish towel, squeeze to remove water (you want roughly one cup of water), and discard the water.

Put all ingredients, except the wrappers, into a large bowl and add the cabbage.

Mix well (I used my hands and found this to work best).

Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

To assemble the dumplings, place a heaping teaspoon of the filling in the center of a wrapper.

Fold the wrapper in half and brush the edges with a little water and pinch edges together to seal tightly.

Place formed dumplings on a floured plate until ready to cook, keeping them covered with a damp cloth to prevent them from drying out.

To cook the dumplings, bring 5 quarts of water to a boil in a stock pot.

Gently place the dumplings into the boiling water, being sure there is enough room for them to move around freely.

Cover and cook over medium high heat until water boils again, watching the pot because it can boil over and foam up quickly.

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 the pot from the heat and let stand, covered, for 2 – 3 minutes, until the mixture inside the wrapper is completely cooked through.

Remove dumplings with a wire strainer and drain in a colander.

Transfer to a plate or shallow platter and serve immediately.

Makes 32 dumplings.

Source: Helen Chen

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