Jiaozi are gorgeous little stuffed dumplings that are either steamed, as in this recipe, or fried until crisp. They are a traditional part of a Chinese New Year feast, but so popular that they are also heartily consumed all year round, be it for breakfast, lunch, dinner or just general snacking. Jiaozi freeze really well and can be steamed from frozen.
you will need a large bamboo steamer (a regular steamer set over its own saucepan would be fine) For the wrappers, weigh the flour into a bowl and gradually pour in 125ml cold water, stirring all the time, until you have a stiff dough, rough around the edges but with no loose flour. Turn on to the worktop and knead for 5 minutes until smooth. Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
In a large bowl, mix together the pork mince, cabbage, egg, chives, ginger, soy sauce, shaoxing wine, salt and white pepper. Leave to marinate for at least 30 minutes, or longer if possible; both the dough and the filling can be made and stored in the fridge for up to 24 hours.
Once the dough has rested, take it from the fridge and cut in half. Re-wrap one half and set aside. Take the other half of the dough and roll it into a long, thin sausage shape about 1cm in diameter. Cut in half, then cut in half again to give you 4 even-sized pieces. Take each piece and cut it into 5 even pieces, re-rolling each one briefly into a little ball as you go. Repeat with the other half of the dough to give you 40 balls in total.
Place a generous tablespoon of flour on a plate and have an empty plate ready alongside this. Take one ball, dip it in the flour and start to roll out into a circle, turning the dough through a quarter turn each time you roll to maintain its shape. You want to roll the dumpling wrappers as thin as you can, about 1– 2mm, and approximately 9–10cm in diameter. Dip both sides of the wrapper briefly into the plate of flour again, then set aside on the second plate. Repeat with the rest of the dough balls, replenishing the flour as necessary.
Lay 10 wrappers out on the worktop in a couple of rows and have a little dish of cold water handy. Spoon a generous teaspoon of filling into the centre of each wrapper. Slide one into your hand and, using a clean finger, dab a little water around the edge of one half only. Begin to pleat and fold the unwatered side up and over the filling, pressing into the wet side as you go to stick it together. It will take a little practice and your first few might look a bit rough and ready, but they’ll still taste great so stick with it! As long as the filling is completely enclosed it doesn’t matter too much what it looks like.
Once it’s all sealed, turn it crimp side pointing up, squeeze into a crescent shape and rest on a lightly floured baking sheet. Repeat with the other 9 wrappers, then lay out the next 10 wrappers, top with filling and repeat. Keep on going until you have used up all the filling and wrappers. You can freeze them at this point: space them out on a baking tray to freeze initially, then pack them into a bag or tub and leave in the freezer until ready to cook.
Make the dipping sauce by adding all the ingredients to a small bowl and stirring together. When you are ready to cook, line the base of a large bamboo steamer with a circle of baking parchment, and tuck all the jiaozi inside, snugly but not touching each other. You may need to cook in 2 batches depending on the size of your steamer. Set over a wok of simmering water, making sure the water is lower than the bottom of the steamer, and cover with the lid. Steam for about 5–6 minutes, until the dumpling wrappers look translucent. If cooking from frozen, add 2–3 minutes to the cooking time. Allow to cool for a couple of minutes before tucking in – but watch out as the filling gets mighty hot. Serve with the dipping sauce alongside.