Ingredients for about 30 jiaozi
250g plain flour (high gluten is preferable)
150ml cold water
Pinch of salt

For the filling
150g minced pork
1 tsp Chinese cooking wine
1 tsp finely chopped minced ginger
1 tsp finely chopped spring onion
100g Chinese cabbage
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp Chinese cooking wine
1 tsp soy sauce
Salt to taste

Gradually add the water to the flour, mixing to a stiff dough. Knead for a few minutes and roll into a ball. Cover with a damp tea towel and leave to rest while you make the filling.

Chop the cabbage very finely; sprinkle with  a little salt, wrap in a towel and squeeze out the excess liquid.  Put the meat in a bowl and mix in the seasonings and lastly the finely chopped vegetable.

Flour a flat surface. Take half of the lump of dough, roll it into a sausage of about 2 ½ cm diameter. Break off a small ball, then using a rolling pin, roll it out into a circle with the edges thinner than the middle. Take this circle into the palm of your hand and put a tsp of the filling in the centre. Fold into a little crescent shaped purse by first pulling the  two opposite edges together, then pinching and pleating each side. Arrange the dumplings on a lightly floured tray.  When the first half of the dough is finished repeat the process with the other half.

Cook the jiaozi in the large saucepan of boiling water. Add them carefully to ensure that they do no break up and stir very gently. When the water comes back to the boil add a small cup of cold water: do this three times, after which the jiaozi should have floated to the top of the pan and their skin will be puckered indicating that they are cooked.

Jiaozi are eaten dipped in rich black vinegar. In Beijing the Shaanxi variety is prized and many households flavour it with garlic. If the garlic is added to the vinegar on the day of the La Ba festival (see Winter in Beijing) it turns a translucent green colour in time for the New Year.

NB A vegetarian filling for jiaozi can be found in ‘Why the Chinese don’t Count calories’.