January 23rd is the first day of the year of the dragon! In Northern China, it is common to have dumplings to celebrate the New Year. However, among the many kind of dumplings that Chinese make, “jiaozi” is the one that gets chosen for this special celebration. Usually, the shape of “jiaozi” looks like an oval stand, which is a type of ancient Chinese money. In addition, many different lucky ingredients can be put into “jiaozi”, such as peanuts (which means long life), candy (which means sweet future), and jujube (which means having children early). As a result, having “jiaozi” on the New Year Eve reflects people’s wish to have a better new year...
However, you probably have never seen this epic dragon dumpling (Long Jiao). The dragon is the lucky mascot of China. Have a dragon dumpling in the New Year; isn’t that going to be even luckier than just having regular ones?
How does one make a dragon dumpling? This is going to be patient work!
First of all, you need doughballs. Take a rough amount to make the body, head, and paws of the dragon (picture 1). Then, put the fillings into the body of the dragon (picture 2)––– the filling is usually made of shepherd's-purses and pork, but you can always create your own. The third step is to fold the body of the dragon (Picture 3). Make the head of the dragon with a large doughball, and put a jujube underneath to support it. The squama of the dragon can be done using scissors and toothpicks (Picture 4). Toothpicks are also needed to make the paws of the dragon! Just be careful on their size- they need to match to body (Picture 5). Connect each part! Use scissors to make more detailed patterns (Picture 6)! Now you get a raw dragon dumpling! What is the next step? Cook it!!! Put it into a bamboo steamer or a steam box (Picture 7). Generally “jiaozi” is boiled in the water, but in this case the dragon will be broken apart in the water. However, “jiaozi” is usually served without water, so just be careful not to make the dragon dumpling to dry, or it will taste just as delicious as those water-boiled dumplings!
Have you been following? Here is the cooked dragon dumpling! See Picture 8 and 9 for the complete cooked dragon luck for the New Year!
Zekai, Wei, 2012.