Dumplings remind me of the holidays...maybe it's because we tend to make them around this time of year. The multi-step process lends itself well to having many hands helping in the kitchen - as kids, we would smash the dough disks but several years and hundreds of dough disks later we've finally proven ourselves worthy of the meatball-wrapping step. Seriously, why do grown ups get all the fun?
These are filled with lamb. The recipe is very inexact: a bunch of ground lamb, a smaller bunch of jiu cai (chives I think), some shaoxing jiu (Chinese rice wine), some salt, sugar (?), ginger, soy sauce, water, shrimp. I don't know why we never follow a written recipe - maybe it's to create that intense moment of anticipation right before you bite into the first dumpling, since every time the dumplings are different.
Or maybe it's just because we're lazy.
Cutting the dough. The trick is to turn the rope 90 degrees every cut so you don't end up with flatter disks each time.
Rolling the dough disks. The trick is to make the edges thinner than the middle. I did this job for a while too before graduating to the elite meatball-wrapping step.
The filling. According to our mom you have to mix it vigorously in one direction with chopsticks and a little water to loosen up the meat.
A tablespoon of meat is how much we usually put.
The pinching step!
I like to enter my dumplings in beauty contests with the other dumplings on the plate. See that one in the upper right? Isn't she beautiful?
They're ready after they float and boil two more times.
My dad made the garlic sauce with a makeshift mortar and pestle. Other ingredients: Chiakang (?) black vinegar and soy sauce.
Dinner is served! Happy holidays. :)