Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Bite me: 饺子 Chinese dumplings

Freshly wrapped dumplings ready to boil
Let's have a quick vocabulary lesson: A Caribbean dumpling is a tight dough of flour, water and salt that is boiled and served with salted fish, stewed chicken or steamed provision. Shapes vary from island to island and include long rods, table tennis balls or flat pancake. A Chinese dumpling uses a flat, thinner dough which is wrapped around minced meat or vegetables with a sophisticated, decorative close. Like Caribbean dumplings, technique is of paramount importance, and a skilled master can fold as many as 100 dumplings in 15 mins.
Boiled dumplings, best eaten hot.
The name is said to come from the Chinese word for horn (Jiǎo, 角) because of its shape, until it was eventually given its own character (Jiǎo,饺). Pork, beef, cabbage, and mushrooms  are common and delicious fillings. Dumplings can be boiled, steamed or fried and trust me, they taste AH-MUH-ZING.  They are mainly served with soy sauce and in Chongqing you gotta add that chili. Although enjoyed all year round, they are the must-have of Chinese new year, especially in northern China..sort of like salted ham is to Caribbean Christmas.
Steamed dumplings eaten fresh from a bamboo basket
I'm not sure why the dumpling lost its filling when it got to the Caribbean but I am grateful for both versions. So whether it's fighting over the last dumpling from a pot of Grenadian oil down or finishing a bamboo basket of steamed pork dumplings all by myself, you can ALWAYS count me in.