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Homeschool Chinese: Cooking Lesson – Jiǎozi

When we first began working with Teacher Shawn  / Lǎoshī  老师, he explained that he planned to incorporate monthly cultural and cooking lessons as well. We were delighted to hear it!  One of the first cooking lessons we undertook was learning how to make dumplings /  jiǎozi 饺子. Jiaozi are one of the major foods eaten during the Chinese New Year and year round in the northern provinces. They look like the golden ingots yuan bao used during the Ming Dynasty for money and the name sounds like the word for the earliest paper money, so serving them is believed to bring prosperity.

How much filling should I put into each wrapper?

Jiǎozi typically consist of a ground meat and vegetable filling wrapped into a thinly rolled piece of  dough, which is then sealed by pinching the edges together.  Meat fillings include pork, chicken, beef, fish, and shrimp mixed with chopped vegetables, particularly cabbage, green onions, and garlic. The moon-shaped dumplings are eaten with a soy-sauce based dipping sauce that may include vinegar, garlic, ginger, rice wine, and sesame oil.  After the dumplings have been prepared, there are various ways they can be cooked:

  • Boiled dumplings: (shuǐjiǎo 水餃) literally “water dumpling”.
  • Steamed dumplings: (zhēngjiǎo 蒸餃) literally “steam dumpling”.
  • Pan fried dumplings: (guōtiē (鍋貼) literally “pan stick”, known as “potstickers” in North America.

Use a little corn starch and water to seal the edges

We had a great time learning how to make jiǎozi 饺子.  To this day, it is one of our favorite recipes.  We found that we most enjoy jiǎozi 饺子 boiled, and then pan fried.


Eva Varga

Eva is passionate about education. She has extensive experience in both formal and informal settings. She presently homeschools her two young children, teaches professional development courses through the Heritage Institute, and writes a middle level secular science curriculum called Science Logic. In addition to her work in education, she is an athlete, competing in Masters swimming events and marathons. In her spare time she enjoys reading, traveling, learning new languages, and above all spending time with her family. ♥

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