The dough is the trick—the right combination of flour and water. The dough is in turn kneaded and rested, making it perfect for the dumpling shell. The dough first takes the form of a large ball and is further divided into smaller portions to make it more manageable. The smaller portions are worked and become long cylinder shapes, ready for cutting segments. Those segments are then rolled into balls and then pressed out with the palm of the hand and further flattened and thinned out by the Asian rolling pin. A small amount of the meat and vegetable mixture is added to the center of the round dumpling and then it is folded in half and sealed by crimping the edges together. The process requires patience and skill.
Josi made her first dumplings this past week. Yin (Josi’s Mandarin teacher) thought cooking would be great to do with her weekly Mandarin lesson. Josi respectively paid attention as Yin’s mother (who speaks no English) showed her the finer points of making Chinese dumplings. Yin’s mother cooked a few while we were still there. They were very good. What wasn’t cooked and eaten was frozen to be enjoyed later this month.
Chinese tradition is to eat dumplings at midnight on New Year’s Eve. Doing this represents a smooth transition from one year to the next. I view Josi making the dumplings as another step towards embracing her birth culture. To those of you who celebrate the Spring Festival, Xin Nian Kuai Le!