Chinese meatballs (Jiaozi,) are stuffed packages made of unleavened dough and savory fillings that consist of minced ingredients such as meat, eggs, tofu or vegetables. They can be boiled, fried or steamed. Jiaozi (pronounced jow-zee) are perhaps the most common type of Chinese meatballs. Shaped like a half moon and with an opaque wrapper made of wheat dough, jiaozi are usually filled with ground pork, cabbage, and scallions, and served with a dipping sauce made of soy sauce, vinegar, and sesame oil.
Meatballs aren't just a delicious snack. They have a rich meaning that dates back to ancient China, 1,800 years ago. Also known as Jiaozi, these Chinese meatballs commemorate an interesting incident from the past and are now part of many people's lives. Once you learn how to make meatballs from scratch, not only can you try the hundreds of varieties that are consumed around the world, but you can also create your own recipes and traditions.
Also called gaau ji in Cantonese, these meatballs, unlike jiaozi or Chinese meatballs, are smaller and have a thin but hard shell that does not break. As one of the richest international cities, Hong Kong offers a variety of restaurants with the best jiaozi, as well as a palate that includes light Chinese tea. Influenced by Chinese, Shaanvi and Islamic cuisine, Xi'an has a variety of dining options, the most popular being jiaozi. With their simple and handy preparation method, Chinese meatballs give your tables an aesthetic appearance and never fail to impress anyone's taste buds.
According to legend, during the Eastern Han Dynasty, a famous doctor of traditional Chinese medicine, named Zhang Zhongjing, lived and introduced meatballs. Words cannot describe how affectionate the Chinese are and they admire the meatballs that symbolize love and warmth. As with most styles of Chinese dumplings, siu mai variations abound throughout China and in other regions of Asia. Ground pork and shrimp are typical fillings, although as with all Chinese meatballs, traditional and non-traditional variations abound depending on the region.
Like Har Gao and Siu Mai, Xiao Long Bao is regularly served as part of the traditional Chinese dim sum brunch. Wontons are another generic category of Chinese meatballs, which can be prepared in all kinds of ways depending on their filling and whether they are prepared by boiling, steaming or frying. Chinese meatballs are a universe in and of themselves, and it can be difficult for Westerners to navigate because many types of meatballs are known by several different names: Sichuan name, Cantonese name and Pinyin or Romanized name. In China, the most popular type is called jiaozi () or water dumplings (), meaning that they are traditionally boiled in water, unlike their many well-known and equally delicious steamed cousins.
Since then, most people have started imitating Zhang's recipe with additional ingredients, such as vegetables and other types of meat, to celebrate the Chinese New Year. Although momo is a Tibetan term, it is derived from the Chinese loan momo, which means steamed bread and is made by the Nepalese.