Dumpling Divas

Steamed dumplings – those cooked balls of dough stuffed with meat, fish, vegetables or even sweets – exist throughout the Asian cuisine. To the Chinese, it is called jiaozi – usually boiled or steamed and traditionally eaten on Chinese New Year’s Eve and special family reunions where extended family members gather together to make them.

It was not Chinese New Year, nor are we technically extended family members – but we had reason enough to get together at 11:00AM on the 31st of May to learn just how these dumplings are made from scratch! Nine AWAP ladies gathered at Grace’s splendid kitchen to learn the secret behind these starchy balls. Thanks to the expertise of Grace’s Ayi, Li Jun – who very patiently guided us through the process of kneading and shaping the dough, filling it, sealing it, and finally cooking it!

It was great fun: Chatting while working the rolling pins, proudly showing off any perfected dough shapes, pinching and pressing each dumpling to make sure it stays sealed. Three hours later, we had about 200 dumplings – all lovingly massaged and shaped by each of the nine ladies. We all savored plates of it for lunch, and even managed to bring some home as evidence of our fruitful morning! By 2:00PM, we were all officially Dumpling Divas.

Some pictures to brag about 😉

Li Jun, our jiaozi teacher, kneading the jiaozi dough
IMG_1677Carmela taking notesIMG_1678

Perfecting the art of dumpling making

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IMG_1719First batch of “student dumplings”

IMG_1726Enjoying the dumplings of our labour!



Heartfelt thanks to Grace for organizing the event, for opening her beautiful home and kitchen to us, and for sharing her Ayi’s technical prowess with us! 

Here are snippets of comments received from some participants after the event:

“The kids had their ta pau jiaozi for dinner which saved me from cooking yet another meal!” ~ Eva Wong Nava

“My eldest just left on his 5-day class trip this morning. Have been a bit teary-eyed. Thank goodness I have a few more dumplings to cheer me up!” ~ Eun Hwa Lee

“My husband inhaled the dumplings before I could even tell him of all the effort that went into making them.”   ~ Claire Lo

(L-R) Eva, Eun Hwa, Claire, Li Jun & CarmelaIMG_1724Thanks Carmela for sharing her experience with us!