Know Your Dumplings: Learn About The Different Types Of This Popular Chinese Delicacy


Dumplings are a staple in Chinese cuisine, particularly in Northern China. In ancient times, Northern Chinese were particular to dumplings due to lack of inexpensive local fresh vegetables in the cold climate, and the durability and ease of dumplings, which are filling and keep well in the cold. Do you know that most dumpling wraps are made with either plain flour or with eggs? Dumpling wraps made with eggs are called egg dumplings. Most are served with soy sauce, chili oil or paste and sometimes, black vinegar. Here are some popular and tasty dumplings everyone should know.

Shui jiao
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This boiled dumpling is a staple in many Chinese homes, especially in the winter. Families often sit together to wrap shui jiao before major holidays. Made with a ground pork and vegetables filling and wrapped in sticky flour, this dumpling is easy to cook – just boil it in water.

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Known as guo tie, or literally, potstickers, these are the crusty, thicker skinned cousins of the shui jiao. They are named due to their preparation – they are pan fried, and the flour tends to make the dumplings stick to the pan if not enough oil is used. They are usually made with ground pork mixed with bokchoy, leeks or cabbage.

Sheng Jian
TYM-article-month4-mandarin-3Sheng Jian is a Shanghainese breakfast dumpling filled with pork and gelatin, and wrapped in a sesame and green-onion studded flour wrapper. It is sprayed with water while being pan-fried for that tasty combination crusty bottom and soupy filling. Sheng jian is often enjoyed with vinegar.

TYM-article-month4-mandarin-4Momo are larger, hearty dumplings that resemble a jiao zi. They are most commonly found near the Tibetan border. The name literally means steamed bread, and gives you an idea of the most popular method of cooking momo. Fillings vary, and are always spiced. They can be filled with meat, meat and vegetables, or completely vegetarian. Though often steamed, fried momo is also available. The dumpling is often served with chili sauce.

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Author: Catrine Carpenter

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