Making dumpling the old school way

Discussion in 'Photojournalism & Sports Gallery' started by molested_cow, Mar 6, 2010.

  1. molested_cow

    molested_cow No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2004
    Messages:
    3,628
    Likes Received:
    460
    Location:
    Here N There
    Cowing Around: CNY - Making dumplings the old school way

    [​IMG]

    Chinese New Year here is kind of like "You're on you own!"
    No major celebration or dragon dance or worship ceremonies, just you and whatever you can do in that day. The good thing is, we are lucky that Chinese New Year fall on a weekend.

    A new co-worker from northern China invited me and my other co-worker to dinner at their place. Her parents are visiting and taking care of her new-born, so it was pretty exciting to get a taste of the hand-made dumplings that the northern region of China is famous for.

    [​IMG]
    Making the dumpling skin

    Why dumplings? Actually, northern China is famous for any wheat based food because unlike southern China, northern China is dry and has long and bitter winters. The climate doesn't allow rice paddy. Therefore, wheat is their staple food as opposed to rice. Flour based food from northern China is very popular in Taiwan, brought in by the veterans from the Chinese civil war. Our so-called traditional breakfast is mostly flour based food such as egg-wrap, deep fried dough and so on.

    [​IMG]
    Mom teaches daughter

    [​IMG]
    Dad tries not to screw up

    [​IMG]
    The experts at work

    [​IMG]
    Getting schooled

    With automation and industrialization, it's getting harder to find hand-made fresh flour based food. It's very laborious as well and takes significant skill to do it right and efficient. However it has also become a desire to have. My mom insists on buying fresh hand-made dumplings instead of frozen factory made ones, even though the first thing she does when she buys them is to put them into the freezer.

    Anyways, I suppose Taiwan's dumplings have evolved from its original version after these decade. Like any foreign food in the states, it's probably different, so I was excited to see the original version. How it tastes, what kind of dipping sauce they use and so on.

    [​IMG]
    Just getting started

    [​IMG]
    Don't be greedy! Got to leave enough skin to close the fillings

    [​IMG]

    First think I noticed about these dumplings is that they are smaller than what a typical Taiwanese dumpling will be, about 25% smaller. This means more dough-to-filling ratio, a little more chewy. The filling itself has less herb and spices, but the basic ingredients are the same. The sauce is quite different. I can't really describe the difference, but I think Taiwan's sauce mix provides more flavor. I think it's the difference in soy sauce since every region's soy sauce taste different.

    Over all, I think the main difference is the way wheat based food is appreciated. In southern China, or most parts of Asia, rice is the staple food. Our taste buds are so accustomed to rice that I can just eat plain steamed rice and enjoy the starch turn into sugar in my mouth. I appreciate rice as it is, and different region's rice gives a different type of appreciation. When we eat wheat based food, it's more like the "once a while" kind of food. It's almost like a different cuisine altogether. I don't think I can eat wheat based food for more than a few meals straight. I got to go back to rice. However, people who are used to wheat based food eat it like how I eat rice. There's a special sense of appreciation for it that I don't. I like it, but not as much as rice.

    However, this isn't the point of dumpling making. Dumpling making is a family activity. You sit down together and make the dumplings one by one as a family in the afternoon. Everyone will be molding the dumplings differently with their hands, therefore create a variety of shapes and sizes. You talk about it, laugh about it. Then as you eat it for dinner, you wonder who made the dumpling that you are eating. Dumpling making isn't really about food, but about you and who you care about and what you share with them.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    It's a family business
     
  2. ceige

    ceige TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2010
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Boston area
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    looks like fun!
     

Share This Page

Search tags for this page

old school dumplings