For the Love of Dumplings
My fortune cookie this evening said that I would be eating dumplings in the near future. So I thought that this would be a good time to prepare for some dumplings and learn as much about them as possible, including their history. But, what I stumbled up were some fun facts about dumplings, and I thought that our readers would appreciate reading about those rather than some dry history lessons. Please let me know if I was right.
Chinese dumplings are eaten on the 5th day of new year in China to resemble good wealth and prosperity.
Wonton, or Chinese dumpling, is a staple food popular throughout China.
In Chinese, wonton means “swallowing clouds”.
The Cantonese wonton has a yellow wrapping (made from flour and egg: think pasta sheet) typically filled with minced pork and shrimp.
Shanghainese Dumplings – This type of Chinese dumpling has a white, thicker wrapping (made from flour only) and the filling includes minced pork and Shanghainese bok choy.
Szechuan Dumplings – Known as “Chao Shou” (crossed hands), they also have a white, relatively thick wrapping. Chao Shou is boiled and served in very, very spicy sauce, as in almost all Szechuan cuisine.
A Dumpling by any other name…
- Shuijiao – literally means water dumpling; boiled dumplings
- Zhengjiao – steamed dumplings
- Guotie – Shallow fried dumplings
- Danjiao – dumplings that instead of dough, uses an egg skin
Dumplings are eaten in various forms around the world:
- Chinese wonton
- Italian ravioli
- Jewish kreplach
- Polish pierogi
are all types of dumplings filled with meat, cheese, or vegetables.
For Chinese New Year, serve jiaozi (dumplings boiled in water). Place coins in the center of the dumplings. Whoever bites into the dumpling with a coin will have an exceptionally lucky year. And possibly a chipped tooth.
Perhaps this was a history lesson after all. But, if you thought upfront I was going to talk about history, you might have fallen asleep; Now I hope you were entertained.
But, all I know now is that all this talk about dumplings is making me hungry!
Submitted for your consumption,
—Mee Magnum (“Chop! Chop!”)