Chinese Dumpling : Jiaozi

Ni Hao! Today I want to share this article to you guys! I’m going to share about Chinese’s traditional food, Jiaozi. Enjoy reading! Xie-xie.

In Chinese homes, dumplings (or jiaozi in Mandarin) are a traditional must-eat food on New Year’s Eve; families wrap them up and eat them as the clock strikes midnight. Dumplings symbolize longevity and wealth; their shape resembles gold shoe-shaped ingots, an early form of Chinese currency.

Traditionally, jiaozi were thought to be invented during the era of the Eastern Han (AD 25 – 220) by Zhang Zhongjing who was a great practitioner of traditional Chinese medicine. Jiaozi were originally referred to as “tender ears” (Chinese: 嬌耳; pinyin: jiao’er) because they were used to treat frostbitten ears. Zhang Zhongjing was on his way home during wintertime, when he found many common people had frostbitten ears, because they did not have warm clothes and sufficient food. He treated these poor people by stewing lamb, peppers, and some warming medicines in a pot, chopped them, and used them to fill small dough wrappers. He boiled these dumplings and gave them with the broth to his patients, until the coming of the Chinese New Year. In order to celebrate the New Year as well as recovering from frostbitten ears, people imitated Zhang’s recipe to make Jiao’er.

Jiaozi may also be named because they are horn-shaped. The Chinese word for “horn” is jiao (Chinese: ; pinyin: jiǎo), and jiaozi was originally written with the Chinese character for “horn”, but later it was replaced by the specific character , which has the food radical on the left and the phonetic component jiāo () on the right.

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Chinese dumplings (jiaozi) may be divided into various types depending on how they are cooked:

  • Boiled dumplings (Chinese: 水餃; pinyin: shuǐjiǎo; literally: “water dumpling”)
  • Steamed dumplings (Chinese: 蒸餃; pinyin: zhēngjiǎo; literally: “steam dumpling”)
  • Pan fried dumplings (Chinese: 鍋貼; pinyin: guōtiē; literally: “pan stick”, also referred to as Chinese: 煎餃; pinyin: jiānjiǎo; literally: “dry-fried dumplings”).

Dumplings that use egg rather than dough to wrap the filling are called “egg dumplings” (Chinese: 蛋餃; pinyin: dànjiǎo; literally: “egg dumpling”).

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