The trick to a good dumpling is to finely chop all the ingredients so that with each nibble the filling melts in the mouth with the detection of a little ‘bite’ between mouthfuls.
The tedious part is all the chopping and preparation but I promise you it pays: Xia Guo Tieh would be less delicious without the effort. The shortcut here is to use bought wonton wrappers from your local Chinese supermarket. They can be frozen so you can stock up. The dipping sauce is simple and the star ingredient – Chinese black rice vinegar – is aromatically earthy and delicately tangy.
© 2006 Ching-He Huang. All rights reserved.