Jiaozi

Chinese dumplings come in a huge variety of styles (see page 107 for a guide to different dumpling shapes). Vary the filling of these jiaozi (say: jyaoww-dzrr) with chopped raw prawns instead of pork. We’ve steamed these but you can make ‘potstickers’ by frying the base in oil for 2-3 minutes, until golden, then adding a little water to the pan, covering and steaming for 10-12 minutes.

  • Preparation time: 1 hour 30 minutes, plus resting
  • Cooking time: 40 minutes

Serves: as a starter (makes about 20-25 dumplings)

Ingredients

1 Chinese leaf lettuce

5 salad onions, finely sliced

250g pork mince

1 red chilli, finely chopped (deseeded, if liked)

2 garlic cloves, chopped

25g fresh root ginger, finely grated

11⁄2 tbsp light soy sauce

11⁄2 tbsp Waitrose Cooks’

Ingredients Chinese rice vinegar (or sherry vinegar)

1 tsp Waitrose Cooks’

Ingredients shaoxing rice wine (or dry sherry, such as Amontillado)

1⁄2 tbsp caster sugar

1⁄2 tbsp cornflour

1 tsp toasted sesame oil

 

DUMPLING DOUGH

200g plain flour, plus extra for dusting

1⁄4 tsp salt

groundnut oil, for greasing

 

SOY-VINEGAR DIPPING SAUCE

15g fresh root ginger, grated

11⁄2 tbsp light soy sauce

11⁄2 tbsp Waitrose Cooks’

Ingredients Chinese rice

vinegar (or sherry vinegar)

1⁄2 tbsp Waitrose Cooks’

Ingredients shaoxing rice

wine (or dry sherry)

1 tsp sesame oil

1 tsp caster sugar

Method

1. Start with the dumpling dough. In a bowl, mix the flour and salt with 110ml just-boiled water; using a spoon, bring together to a dough.

Cool for a few minutes, then knead for 5 minutes, until smooth. Coat with a little groundnut oil, wrap in cling film and rest for 30 minutes.

2. Remove 6 leaves from the Chinese leaf lettuce; set aside. Finely shred the rest; toss with a big pinch of salt. Set aside for 20 minutes. Rinse well; squeeze out the excess liquid. Reserving the salad onion tops, mix the lettuce with the remaining ingredients; cover and chill.

3. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface as thinly as you can, thinner than 0.1cm if possible; it may be easier to do in batches, or using a pasta machine. Using a 9cm cookie cutter, stamp out as many small circles as you can, layering them up between squares of baking parchment, before covering with a tea towel. Re-roll any scraps; you should get about 20-25 wrappers in total.

4. Place a heaped teaspoon of filling into the centre of a wrapper. Fold in half, crimping one of the edges to create a pleated effect, before pressing firmly together and expelling as much air as possible from around the meat. (Dampen the inner edge with a little water if it doesn’t stick naturally.) Repeat with the remaining ingredients, setting the dumplings on a flour-dusted tray as you go.

5. Prepare a steamer with simmering water and put 2-3 lettuce leaves (or circles of baking parchment) on the bases of the steamer layers. Steam the dumplings, in batches, for 10-12 minutes, until piping hot.

6. Mix the sauce ingredients and serve with the dumplings, scattered with the reserved salad onion tops, and toasted sesame seeds, if liked.