We’ll be hav­ing chicken and dumplings when she comes, yum!

► For­eign­ers in Shang­hai try their hands at mak­ing Chi­nese won ton

Global Times – Metro Shanghai - - CITY PANORAMA -

How many dif­fer­ent kinds of Chi­nese dumplings are there? This is prob­a­bly a ques­tion hov­er­ing in the minds of many for­eign­ers when they first ar­rive in China. With dif­fer­ent fill­ings and wrap­pers, dif­fer­ent shapes and dif­fer­ent cooking meth­ods, the com­bi­na­tions are end­less.

The Global Times re­cently in­vited two ex­pats in Shang­hai to hand-make three types of dumplings on their own fol­low­ing the in­struc­tions of Anne, a cook with 30 years’ ex­pe­ri­ence in a lo­cal dim sum restau­rant.

Our par­tic­i­pants are Pe­dro from Puerto Rico, work­ing in Shang­hai in busi­ness anal­y­sis, and Tat­jana a from Croa­tia, work­ing in Shang­hai as a lawyer. The cou­ple moved here half a year ago and would like to learn how to make dumplings for them­selves at home.

Shengjian­bao (pan-fried pork soup dumplings)

Shengjian­bao is a round-shaped bun, with a juicy pork fill­ing on top of a crispy crust with a thin dough. It re­quires the most skill to make among all three types of dumplings. Ac­cord­ing to Anne, a qual­i­fied shengjian­bao must have 20 folds on its bot­tom when you seal it.

For prepa­ra­tion you need 250 grams of warm wa­ter, 500 grams of flour, 5 grams of bak­ing pow­der and pork fill­ing.

First, dis­solve the yeast and bak­ing pow­der into wa­ter and stir it un­til it is fully ab­sorbed. Then grad­u­ally pour in wa­ter and stir the mix­ture. Knead the dough un­til the sur­face be­comes smooth. Then wrap it up with a plas­tic film and let it rise for 20 min­utes in room tem­per­a­ture. Then cut the dough into two equal parts. Roll out the dough into an 8-cen­time­ter snake, and cut it into small pieces. Roll each piece of dough into a ball, flat­ten it with your palm or rolling pin.

Place about a spoon­full of pork fill­ing in the cen­ter of the dough. Fi­nally, fold the dough, pleat and pinch the top to seal it. This is also the part where most begin­ners get stuck.

Our two par­tic­i­pants had the most dif­fi­culty fold­ing the dough, as it re­quires a cer­tain ges­ture for each finger. You fold the wrap­per around the fill­ing at the same time. Un­fa­mil­iar with the ges­ture, the fill­ing leaked out when they tried it.

“This is dif­fi­cult,” said Tat­jana, who kept fum­bling with the dough. Af­ter sev­eral at­tempts they fi­nally made a sort of dumpling shape. “Not bad for begin­ners,” laughed Anne.

Guotie (pork pot­stick­ers)

To help our par­tic­i­pants get their con­fi­dence back, Anne taught them how to make guotie us­ing the re­main­ing in­gre­di­ents. Guotie is a com­mon moon­shaped dumpling, usu­ally filled with pork or minced beef.

Place the fill­ing in the cen­ter of the wrap­per, fold it in half to make a half-moon shape and press the edges com­pletely with your in­dex finger and thumb, much eas­ier than shengjian­bao. “This one is much less com­pli­cated,” said Pe­dro.

Won ton (sim­ple or­di­nary dumpling)

Won ton is per­haps the most com­mon dumpling in ev­ery Shang­hainese house­hold. It is of­ten served with soup. The most pop­u­lar fill­ings are ground pork or shrimp. To make a won ton, you need a dough wrap­per, meat fill­ings with veg­etable and a bowl of cold wa­ter.

Put the fill­ing in the mid­dle of the wrap­per and weigh it on a scale to make sure you don’t get too much or too lit­tle fill­ing. Each won ton should be 30 grams. Then flat­ten the fill­ing, fold the lower side of the wrap­per to the up­per side.

Moisten the open­ing part with a wet finger to seal the wrap­pers. Then fold the won ton from bot­tom to top again, pull the two edges to­gether and pinch it hard. Fol­low­ing Anne’s in­struc­tions, both Pe­dro and Tat­jana made two per­fect won tons.

“These stu­dents are too clever,” praised Anne. Af­ter prac­tic­ing, both for­eign­ers gained a much bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of how to make dumplings. “The most dif­fi­cult part was to get the right finger ges­ture,” they both said. “But we are go­ing to prac­tice more at home,” said Pe­dro.

Pho­tos: VCG and Lu Ting/GT

Tat­jana (left), Anne and Pe­dro pose for photo in front of the Chi­nese dumplings they made.

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