Or understand the deliciousness that jiaozi has
February 14, 2012 7:28 PM   Subscribe

You can make jiaozi. But you can't make it like this.

The word jiao zi has a fascinating history where it has taken on different meanings throughout the centuries. The end result is a multi-definitive term which does not simply mean dumpling, but is symbolic of the way money is viewed in the Chinese culture.
posted by Trurl (29 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
Bill Holm, in his book Coming Home Crazy had an excellent essay on jiao zi. I actually use the outlines of the recipe he mentions for mine, but they're no where close to how wonderful my wife's mother's gyoza are. Or, for that matter, the ones the jiao zi cart outside my university sold. 8 for 1.5 yuan. Spicy and wonderful.

Hmm. Hungry now.
posted by Ghidorah at 7:52 PM on February 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

Weell. I know what I'm cooking this weekend. And that dragon is... just crazy!
posted by gemmy at 8:51 PM on February 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

I've been buying them frozen in big bags from the local Chinese grocery stores. They're pretty danged good.

That dragon would be a shame to actually eat. Amazing artistry!
posted by jiawen at 8:56 PM on February 14, 2012 [2 favorites]

clearly i must find a way to serve this to my vegetarian friends.
posted by polymodus at 8:57 PM on February 14, 2012

Holy fucking shit
posted by Jon_Evil at 9:13 PM on February 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'm with Jon_Evil on this one.
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:18 PM on February 14, 2012

Now the SO wants a longcat 餃子.

(appends rainbow trail)
posted by Seboshin at 9:40 PM on February 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

I like them boiled. Jiozi are often refered to as shui jiao when boiled (this is how I was told to order them at least), shui jiao can also mean "to sleep" (it's all in the tones). "I want boiled dumplings" said the actress to the bishop. (In mandarin)
posted by proneSMK at 9:45 PM on February 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

Don't tell me what I can't do.
posted by Deathalicious at 10:36 PM on February 14, 2012

OK. Step one, make the filling. Step two, make the dough. Step three, roll out a long sheet of dough and put a streak of filling on top. Step five, close the sheet of dough to make a tube.

OK, I can do this.

Step six, make an awe-inspiring dragon head from the dough and attach it to the tube.

Uh. This is where I get stuck.
posted by Joe in Australia at 10:42 PM on February 14, 2012 [8 favorites]

I just

posted by DoctorFedora at 10:52 PM on February 14, 2012

this is literally so great
posted by DoctorFedora at 10:53 PM on February 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

lol...BF and I were out at the thai place around the corner last night and got a huge laugh out of the misspellings on their new menu... Steamed Dumpings, anyone?
posted by sexyrobot at 11:38 PM on February 14, 2012 [3 favorites]

sexyrobot, one of the joys of teaching ESL in Japan (or China for that matter) is using badly written menus to explain why proofreading is so important. Nothing brings that home like explaining the awful meaning of flied lice.

Ugh. Throat is sore. Mayhap coming down with something. A big bowl of ramen with a side order of gyoza should do the trick.
posted by Ghidorah at 12:46 AM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

clearly i must find a way to serve this to my vegetarian friends

My vegetarian jiaozi filling:

Shitake mushrooms
Choy sum
Hard tofu
Soya sauce
Shaoxing wine
Sichuan peppercorns

The dragon, I can't you help with.
posted by embrangled at 1:08 AM on February 15, 2012 [3 favorites]

Jiaozi are awesome, but I'm all about the xiaolongbao myself...
posted by markkraft at 5:35 AM on February 15, 2012

Well, this jiaozi is almost like a xiaolongbao...

(Not just tones are important! The long2 in xiaolongbao, which means a cage/basket, is pronounced exactly like the long2 which means dragon.)
posted by kmz at 5:51 AM on February 15, 2012


At Chinese New Year, I was severely disappointed to find out that none of the local stores carry vegetarian 饺子。 Dunno if that means no one makes them anymore, or what. embrangled, that looks like a good recipe.

proneSMK: "...shui jiao can also mean 'to sleep' (it's all in the tones)."

That's like saying sht can mean the linens you put on your bed, or the solids you deposit in the toilet. Tones aren't optional; they're an integral part of Chinese, no less important than vowels are in English. Plus, 睡觉 and 水饺 are totally different characters. FYI.
posted by jiawen at 6:31 AM on February 15, 2012 [5 favorites]

jiawen, that's a fucking brilliant analogy. I'm going to steal it.
posted by IAmBroom at 7:34 AM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

Fell free! :)
posted by jiawen at 8:14 AM on February 15, 2012

Damn easy to make too. I've been using the recipe from Andrea Nguyen's Asian Dumplings cookbook with a lot of success.
posted by jgaiser at 8:28 AM on February 15, 2012

I've never had luck with store-bought vegetarian jiaozi. They always seem to fall apart in the boiling process.

(jiawen, I'm seeing ?s where I'm assuming there's supposed to be Chinese characters. Looks like something got lost in the encoding. I have Chinese Unicode fonts and other pages look fine. Test: , .)
posted by kmz at 9:10 AM on February 15, 2012

Well, shit, looks like something's wrong with multibyte character handling. I know it's worked fine in the past.
posted by kmz at 9:13 AM on February 15, 2012

And now it looks like it's been fixed! 太好了

And I feel like I'm muttering to myself in this thread.
posted by kmz at 9:33 AM on February 15, 2012

I was about to write about the same thing. Looks like encoding went through a little glitch there, and Metafilter was giving me "server could not be found" messages in Firefox for a little bit, too. So it's not just you.
posted by jiawen at 9:55 AM on February 15, 2012

There was a little problem with characters, but pb reached into the guts of the machine and yanked it straight. All hail. :)
posted by taz at 10:09 AM on February 15, 2012

posted by jiawen at 1:14 PM on February 15, 2012

That is an awesome dumpling! I like jiaozi, but my favourite dumplings are the pan-fried cousins called 锅贴 (literally means "stick to the pan/wok")....yum...
posted by Alnedra at 12:37 AM on February 16, 2012

"feel" arg.
posted by jiawen at 10:13 AM on February 18, 2012

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