Dumplings, or 饺子 jiǎozi, a staple of Chinese cuisine, is among the type of Chinese food that, whether someone has been to China or not, one would definitely have had or at least heard of. A Chinese restaurant overseas is almost certain to offer steamed dumplings or panfried pot stickers, with pork or vegetarian fillings. Some families have retreated to buying already made dumplings for the Chinese New Year and other occasions. During the Spring Festival, many Chinese families still keep the tradition where family members all gather around to make dumplings together to celebrate the new year.
Making dumplings is not as difficult as one would imagine, although it would be time consuming to make everything from scratch. Instead of mixing water and flour, waiting for the dough to rise, and rolling the dough into 50 or 100 wrappers, many people choose to buy wrappers from the grocery store or market vendors to save time. That is why the real challenge lies in sticking the fillings into the wrappers and folding them in a way both aesthetically pleasing and practical so that they would not break apart when boiled. Rather than simply putting fillings in the center of a wrapper and pinching the edges together, there are a lot more ways and tricks to make your dumpling look nice. On Baidu Experience, a post titled “7 Ways to Wrap a Dumpling” demonstrates each way of folding a dumpling in four steps.
This is the common shape of dumplings, and the most common wrapping method: pinch the edges together, and make folds both to strengthen the sealing and create pretty ruffles.
Pyramid shaped dumpling with ruffles:
Tote bag shaped dumpling:
Gold fish dumpling:
Simple two-folds dumpling:
Of course, the most important thing, is to seal the edges of the wrapping firmly. Otherwise, you will end up with a pot of soup with dumpling fillings and cooked wrappers!