Jiaozi / dumpling 饺子 （jiǎo zi）
Make dumplings 包饺子 （bāo jiǎo zi）
Jiaozi (饺子), a kind of dumpling, is a favourite food of Chinese people. It is usually a semicircular wheaten food with stuffing. In most areas of China, jiaozi is made when people celebrate the Spring Festival or other festivals and entertain relatives and friends.
The earliest jiaozi known was made more than 1,300 years ago and was found in a tomb of the Tang Dynasty unearthed in Turpan, Xinjiang in the 1970s. The semicircular jiaozi was about five centimeters long. The wrappers were made of flour and the stuffing was made of vegetables. It was almost the same as the jiaozi of today.
The Chinese love jiaozi not only because it has a great variety of tastes. The main reason is that over the centuries it has become a kind of food implying the auspicious.
The jiaozi wrapper is “yuan” (circular). The Chinese hope for “团圆tuán yuán” (reunion) and “圆满yuán mǎn” (perfection). Jiaozi is oblate, similar in design to a shoe-shaped gold or silver ingot in ancient times. When a family gets together to bid farewell to the old year and usher in the new, they enjoy reunion and eat jiaozi to imply that they will acquire more wealth and have a better life in the new year. Jiaozi are filled with stuffing to contain various auspicious messages.When a couple get married, the jiaozi are filled with peanuts and chestnuts to express the hope that they will soon have a baby.
Jiaozi is probably not the representative of delicious Chinese food, but the psychological enjoyment is just as important, if not more so. This aspect cannot be displaced by any other food. Jiaozi has been with the Chinese people over so many auspicious occasions and it has become the most representative example of Chinese cuisine.
The History and Recipe behind Chinese Jiaozi