Winter Solstice and Jiaozi (Chinese Dumplings)

It’s winter solstice (or mid-winter day) today and, for many Chinese who mind their traditional culture and calendar, it is the second most important holiday after the Lunar New Year (for many Cantonese, it’s even more important than the Lunar New Year). This important day must be celebrated with good food. For northern Chinese, the must have good food is jiaozi, or boiled dumplings.  A dumpling generally consists of minced meat and finely chopped vegetables wrapped into a piece of dough skin. Then it is cooked in boiling water and served with vinegar sauce.

There are many stories about the origin of jiaozi. One of them dates the origin back almost 2000 years to East Han Dynasty (25-220AD), when it was invented by Zhang Zongjing, a good doctor who, in his concern about people’s suffering of frost bite on their ears in the harsh winter cold, popularized a frost-bite fighting recipe which consisted of minced mutton and some herbal medicines wrapped in ear-shaped dough skin.

Anyway, jiaozi is the most popular food on dinner table every year today in China. With no exception, my wife made jiaozi today. And, being Danny Xu with camera, I took a few photos of the process.

1. Wrapping up a dumpling


2. The beautiful raw products


3. Cooking the dumplings in boiling water


4. Served with vinegar and spice sauce for dipping




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