Jiaozi (Chinese dumpling) is a traditional Chinese food—one of the most widely loved foods in northern China In ancient times. jiaozi, whose shape looks like a horn, was called ‘Tiao” (literally “horn”). It was also called “bianshi” (literally “flat food”) due to its flat shape The name “jiaozi” derives flora the ancient time-counting method in China When the Chinese people eat dumplings stuffed with meat and vegetables at the junction of the end of the old year and the beginning of the New Year, it is right between eleven pm and one am. Since this period is called jiaozi (交子) in Chinese, the dumplings people eat during this time are named after it. Later it became jiaozi (饺子), with a radical added to the left part of the original Chinese character indicating it is a kind of food. As early as the Han dynasty (206 BC-220 AD) eating dumplings became a custom in the capital city of Chang’an (present-day Xi’an in Shaanxi Province).
It is believed that eating dumplings on New Year’s Eve brings good luck and happiness. Furthermore, since the shape of dumplings is similar to that of ancient Chinese gold or silver ingots, they are also believed to bring wealth if you have them that eve. Later, when people got married or gave birth to a child, they usually treated their guests with Chinese dumplings, which gradually become an essential ritual food for special occasions or during holidays in northern China. The Chinese dumpling consists of a wrapper and its fillings. There are two main kinds of dumplings: those with vegetable and those with meat filling. The latter include chicken, pork, beef and mutton, etc; whereas the former are Chinese cabbage, celery, Chinese leek, carrot and cucumber, etc. Seafood such as crab, shrimp and fish can also be used as fillings.
When placing the raw dumplings in preparation for cooking, it is desirable to arrange them in a circle, symbolizing family reunion. When making dumplings for New Year’s Eve, people may hide a coin in one of the dumplings. The person who finds the coin at dinner will likely have good fortune in the New Year. When dumplings are boiled in water, people try their best not to break the skins or wrappers. Even if some are broken, it is best not to say so because it is not auspicious to say “broken” during the New Year season Chinese dumplings can be cooked in various ways boiled in water, and eaten together with mixed flavorings such as vinegar, garlic, sesames oil and light soy sauce or steamed in a steamer or flied or baked in a pan. In Henan and Shaanxi, people usually boil dumplings and noodles together, thus this food is also called “Ingots stringed with golden threads”, while in some provinces in northeastern China and Inner Mongolia, some people boil dumplings with pork and pickled vegetables in a pot, creating a special flavor for the dumplings. Well, that’s all for the story of Chinese dumplings this time.
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