Folding Chinese Dumplings
Only this morning I learnt that I should say ‘roll the dumpling up’, instead of ‘fold it’ or ‘wrap it’ — I am still learning English. :)) But in Chinese, we literally say ‘wrapping’, as the pastry sheet wraps the filling.
The classic shape of a Chinese dumpling is … how should I describe, like a boat? The beautiful part of a dumpling is the folding on the edge, which normally can be seen on the back. And it can stand upright.
Ok, let me try to explain the actual folding… in English. Now, I am getting really worried that my English won’t be good enough; hope my pictures could just make up for my English and clarify things. Anyway, if you understand the process, but have a better way of describing it in English, plz help me here. :)))
1) Place one dumpling pastry sheet flat on your hand.
2) Put a tea spoon of the filling in the middle of the pastry sheet. The amount of filling depends on the size of the pastry sheet. I normally use a serving knife for this, but I also found that a long handled stirring spoon for tall cappuccino can also come handy.
3) Fold the two sides together, nip them tightly.
4) Use your index finger to push the edge on the right end in, nip it together with the front edge. (Above right photo)
5) Push the remaining part on the right side from the back towards the front, then nip it together with the front edge. Now, the back would show a nice fold.
6) Swap the dumpling to your other hand, then do the same with the left hand side.
— One is done —50 to go :))))
|Chinese ready to boil dumpling|
However, the most important part is not whether the folding is beautiful; what really matters is whether the edges have been tightly nipped up, so that the dumpling won’t break during boiling (or frying).
If you want to go the easy way, just fold up the two sides tightly whichever way you like, the shape doesn’t matter then. There is a Chinese saying about this: ‘what makes a dumpling beautiful is not its delicate shape, but its filling’. The saying compares the shape of the dumpling to people’s appearances and the filling to what there is in the inside. :))))
Put the prepared dumplings on a plate or on any clean surface (traditionally, we use a bamboo ‘board’). The material is not important, but make sure that you dust some flour on the surface before placing the dumplings on to prevent the dumplings from getting sticked to the surface. Since the flour could be softer if the dumplings are left for a long while, (especially now with the liquid coming out from the fillings), get ready to cook them as soon as you get enough of them to boil or fry. If you’ve got lots of extra ones, leave them in the frizzer before boiling or frying to keep them fresh.
The best dumpling is the one that looks full, but whose pastry is really thin. So, put enough fillings in, but without stretching the wrapping too much. :))
Continue here to see how to boil the dumplings.