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Jaozi breakfasts are a great way of sharing food. In China the mecca is Hong Kong but just about every significant sized place has their own styles and outlets for jaozi. The most enjoyable jaozi restaurants are in Beijing, Hangzhou, Shanghai, Xi'an, Guangzhou and of course Hong Kong. I was speaking to a director of a company in Beijing who generously was taking myself and another for lunch to a jaozi restaurant. Of course I asked him which jaozi was his favorite and he simply smiled and said, "They're all the same it is just the wrapper appearance that changes" Wow what a market coup they have. Of course what he said is not completely true but how many ways can you package pork, shrimp and a few vegetables into a small dough skin? Yet I still enjoy dim sum every time and don't believe that I will ever get bored with it. It is as much the social thing as the eating.
One time I was in Beijing with a group of 6 or so Irish. They were in culture shock but a pleasant manifestation of it. I walked them some 2 kms to the Tang Dynasty Restaurant and asked them to choose their food. The procedure here is that you choose and the waiters bring it to your table when ready. The table was set with chopsticks. The food arrived quickly and just rolled in and piled the table. One lady in the group called the Maitre de and by sign language asked him if he would show her how to use chopsticks. He sat down beside her and proceeded to instruct her. By this time many of the waiting staff had crowded around the table watching the antics and learning of the lady. Of course in true playful Chinese style they laughed joyfully. The teaching was successful and the maitre de was dutifully thanked. He rose and proceeeded to walk away but the rest of the Irish then grabbed the waiting staff and asked them each for private tuition so at the table there was Irish, Chinese, Irish, Chinese etc. Huge shouts of glee and joyful giggles. How can this style of meal not be enjoyable?

This is a selection of dumplings appropriate for a banquet. I have focused on chicken meat but pork or beef would be as suitable. Generally speaking, fatless meat is preferable for dumplings. 

For wrappers you have a number of options. Make the wrappers yourself which is not difficult but can take a little time. Use frozen wonton or gyoza wrappers available in many Asian sections of a number of supermarkets. I have included a recipe for the dough and description for making the wrappers in this collection.

I have nominated steaming for the cooking process. This can be done with bamboo steamers or other steamer types. The trick here is to separate the base of the steamer from the dumplings. This can be done with the use of lettuce leaves as a base or by greasing the base for each batch of dumplings placed into the steamer. Re-greasing is important to do for every batch. Frying or boiling may be an  alternative to steaming in most cases. Steaming tends to preserve flavours and may retain nutritious aspects but this is a fine line. Flavours can easily be disguised by various dipping sauces and the volatility of many nutritious components would be lost by prolonged steaming.

Notes:

Dried mushrooms reconstituted are the most suitable and most flavoursome funghi to use in jaozi. 


Shanghainese Dumplings 

10 dumplings 
Ingredients

Ingredients:

450 g (1 lb) Chinese cabbage
150 g (5 oz) prawns, chopped finely
50 wonton skins
100 g (3 1/2 oz) skinless chicken or other meat


Seasoning:

1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 tablespoon oyster sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon ginger juice 20 g (2/3 oz) ginger, pounded and mixed with 2 tbsp of water.
Black mushroom sliced thinly and fried with small amount of oil in a non-stick pan.


Sauce:

1 tablespoon sesame oil
6 red chillies, pounded
1/2 inch ginger root
45 ml (3 tbsp) soy sauce
120 ml (1/2 cup) boiling water


Directions:

Blanch cabbage until soft and slice thinly.
Mix meat, cabbage and prawn with seasoning.
Scoop 1 tsp of the mixed ingredients onto the wanton skin.
Apply a small amount of water at the side of the wanton skin, gather up the skin to make a little "purse" out of them, and tie with a chive, or thin layer of a green onion.
Boil water in a pot and cook dumplings for 3 - 5 minutes.
Scoop dumplings and place on a plate.
Serve with sauce:
Combine all ingredients together with boiling water.
10 dumplings


Chicken Pot Stickers


12 dumplings 

Ingredients:

110 gm (4 oz) ground chicken
4 water chestnuts, drained and finely chopped
3 green onions, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ginger root, grated
1/2 teaspoon Chinese five spice powder
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
120 ml (1/2 cup) oil (for frying)

Directions


Tibetan Momo (see recipe in the listing)


Shrimp Shau Mai 

24 dumplings 
Ingredients
230 gm (1/2 lb) shrimp, raw and peeled
1/2 tablespoon cooking wine
1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
120 ml (1/2 cup) chopped water chestnut
3 tablespoons coriander
2 tablespoons ground pork fat or lard (or solid vegetable oil)
24 medium shrimp (raw, peeled, whole with tail)
48 wonton skins


Directions:

Chop shrimp coarsely.
Combine wine, sesame oil, cornstarch, sugar, salt and pepper.
Chop coriander and combine with chestnuts and lard/pork fat.
Mix all together with the chopped shrimp.
Place a tablespoon of the filling on top of a wonton skin. Place a shrimp on top of the filling (tail up to the sky).
Wet the edges of the wonton skin, and then cover shrimp with another wonton skin letting the tail stick out between the two skins. Wrap around the filling, making sure the edges are sealed (use little more water if edge is to dry. Do this till all are done.
Place the finished shau mai in a steamer for 8 minutes over high heat; serve alone or with your favourite dipping sauce.


Steamed Chicken with Lemongrass and Ginger


Serves 2
Ingredients:

2 stalks lemongrass
1 garlic clove, finely sliced
1 teaspoon fresh gingerroot, grated
1 pinch salt & freshly ground black pepper
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
250 g broccoli florets
1/2 teaspoon corn flour, mixed with
2 tablespoons cold water
60 ml (1/4 cup) toasted almond


Directions:

Mix the lemon grass, garlic and ginger together, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and rub over the chicken. Leave to marinate for 20 minutes.
Put just enough water into a steamer or pan and place the rack or steamer basket on top. Place the chicken and seasoning inside, cover and steam for 15-20 minutes.
Scatter over the broccoli florets and cook for another two minutes. Remove the steamer tray and set aside.
Whilst cooking the fragrant chicken juices should have dripped down into the water to make a stock and evaporated to leave approximately a glass full of liquid (about 80-100ml - if you find you have too much liquid, bring to a fast boil and reduce).
Thicken the stock with corn flour and season if necessary.
To serve, arrange the chicken on a plate and scatter over the broccoli, and toasted almonds then drizzle with the sauce. Serve with steamed rice.


Shrimp Pot Stickers 

18 dumplings 
Ingredients


Filling:

250 ml shrimp (1 cup)
250 ml (1 cup) bamboo shoots or hearts of palm
2 tablespoons chopped chives
2 tablespoons lemon zest
2 tablespoons soya sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 pinch salt
1 pinch pepper


Sauce:

75 ml (5 tbsp) soya sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
lemon zest (optional)


Directions:

Chop the shrimp; combine all the ingredients for the filling.
Lay out 6 dough circles, place a spoonful of filling on each side, lightly moisten the edges; fold in half, pinch the edges together well to seal securely.
Place onto a plate. Cover with a cloth (the dough dries out quickly) and repeat the procedure with the remaining dough circles.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a skillet over high heat; reduce the heat to medium and add the dumplings.
Pan fry until the bottoms becomes crisp and brown. Add 125 ml (1/2 cup) water. cover and let simmer about 6 minutes, until the liquid has completely evaporated.
transfer to a plate with the "stuck" side showing. Serve warm with the sauce on the side.


Steamed Lemony Shrimp Dumplings


45 Dumplings
Ingredients:


Sauce:

45 ml (3 tbsp) soy sauce
45 ml (3 tbsp) water
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon Asian fish sauce
1 scallion, thinly sliced


Jaozi:

680 gm (1 1/2 lbs) medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch, plus more for dusting
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 large egg, beaten
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
120 ml (1/2 cup) diced peeled jicama (1/4-inch)
2 scallions, thinly sliced
45 gyoza skins (see Note)
green leaf lettuce leaf, for steaming
Directions

Prepare the dough for the wrappers if doing yourself: 

Prepare the sauce: 
In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce with the water, lemon juice, fish sauce and scallion.

Prepare the jaozi: 
Very coarsely chop two-thirds of the shrimp and transfer to a food processor. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of the cornstarch, the soy sauce, lemon juice, egg, lemon zest, salt and pepper and process until very finely chopped. Scrape into a large bowl. Cut the remaining shrimp into 1/3-inch pieces and add to the bowl. Mix in the jicama and scallions.



Chicken and Green Onion Dumplings W/ Balsamic Soy Dipping Sauce

32 dumplings (change servings and units)
Ingredients
900 gm (2 lbs) ground chicken (dark meat is good)
10 large shiitake mushroom caps, minced
2 teaspoons minced ginger
2/3 bunch scallion, chopped fine
1 tablespoon cilantro, minced
to taste salt and pepper
1 x 340 gm (12 oz) package dumpling wrappers
4 savoyed cabbage leaves, blanched
SAUCE
60 ml (1/4 cup) balsamic vinegar
60 ml (1/4 cup) soy sauce
60 ml (1/4 cup) mushroom soy sauce
1 tablespoon grated ginger
30 ml (1 fluid ounce) Worcestershire sauce

Directions

make the dipping sauce:

Combine all ingredients and allow to stand for 30 minutes.

Prepare the jaozi:

Remove the stems from the mushrooms and dice the caps very small. Sauté in a drop of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. After the mushrooms are cool, combine the remaining ingredients in a bowl and mix until the mixture becomes sticky.
Lay the wrappers on a clean work surface and spoon one heaping teaspoon of the filling onto the centre of the wrapper. Spread the filling out to the edges then pick the wrapper up and fold the edges in toward each other. Push the dumpling down onto the work surface to Flatten the bottom. Repeat for all wrappers. (they have an open top).
Place the dumplings into a steamer, the kind that goes over a wok works well, on a cabbage leaf to prevent them from sticking. and steam for six minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked. Serve on a platter with the dipping sauce in a small bowl.


Steamed Chicken and Coconut Shumai

40 Dumplings

Ingredients:

450 gm (1 lb) ground chicken
60 ml (1/4 cup) unsweetened coconut milk
60 ml (1/4 cup) coarsely shredded carrot
2 Thai chills, minced
2 tablespoons chopped basil
2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1 garlic clove, minced
1 large egg, beaten
1 small shallot, minced
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
40 wonton wrappers
green leaf lettuce leaf, for steaming
Sriracha chilli sauce, for serving

Directions

In a large bowl, combine the ground chicken with the coconut milk, carrot, chills, basil, fish sauce, sugar, lime juice, garlic, egg, shallot, ginger, salt and pepper. Using your hands, mix thoroughly.
Hold a wonton wrapper in the palm of your hand; keep the rest covered with plastic wrap. Place a rounded tablespoon of filling in the centre of the wrapper and pinch the edges all around to form a cup that is open about 1 inch at the top. Keep the shumai covered with plastic wrap. Repeat with the remaining wonton wrappers and filling.
Fill a wok or a very large skillet with 2 inches of water and bring to a boil. Line a double-tiered bamboo steamer with lettuce leaves and arrange the shumai in the steamer without crowding. Cover and steam over moderate heat until cooked through, about 10 minutes. Repeat with the remaining shumai. Serve right away, passing the chilli sauce at the table.


Wrappers:
Dough

150 gm (1 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
45 ml (3 tbsp) vegetable oil
boiling water.

Mix to make a consistent dough and knead it well.  Let stand aside for 10 minutes. Knead again briefly. Roll the dough on a floured board and cut circles about 10 to 13 cm diameter (3 - 4 ins)



Using Gyoza Wrappers:

Dust a baking sheet with cornstarch. Lay 4 gyoza wrappers on a work surface; keep the rest covered with plastic wrap. Moisten the edges of the wrappers with water. Place a level tablespoon of filling on one side of each wrapper and fold in half to form half-moons. Press all around the filling to release any air pockets and to seal. Lift each dumpling by the sealed edge, transfer it to the baking sheet and press down lightly to flatten the bottom; the dumpling should be standing with the sealed side up on the baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining wrappers and filling.

Cooking by steaming:

Fill a wok or a very large skillet with 2 inches of water and bring to a boil. Line a double-tiered bamboo steamer with lettuce leaves and arrange half of the dumplings in the steamer without crowding. Cover and steam over moderate heat until firm and cooked through, about 12 minutes. Steam the remaining dumplings. Serve the dumplings right away.