Jiaozi is a Chinese dumpling, which consists of a ground meat or vegetable filling wrapped into a thinly rolled piece of dough, which is then sealed by crimping. The jiaozi should not be confused with the wonton : the jiaozi dumpling has a thicker skin, is shaped slightly like a tiny turnover, and is usually eaten with a soy-vinegar dipping sauce; while a wonton has a thinner skin, is shaped like a comet, and is usually served in broth.
Chinese dumplings may be divided into various subclasses. Steamed dumplings are called zhengjiao. Boiled dumplings are called "water dumplings" or shuijiao. Fried dumplings are called "pot stickers" or guotie , also referred to as "dry-fried dumplings" or jianjiao. Dumplings that use egg rather than dough to wrap the filling are called "egg dumplings" or danjiao.
Dumplings are one of the major foods eaten during the Chinese New Year. For the New Year"s feast, one of the dumplings is deliberately wrapped with a coin embedded in the filling; another is wrapped with a date embedded in the filling. Whoever gets the dumpling with a coin supposedly will get good fortune for the year. A female who gets the dumpling with a date will be supposedly be blessed with giving birth to a child for that year.
Popular dumpling meat fillings include mutton, pork, beef, fish, and shrimp which are usually mixed with minced vegetables. Popular vegetable fillings include cabbage, scallion, and Chinese chives. Dumplings are eaten with a soy sauce-based dipping sauce that may include garlic, ginger, rice wine, hot sauce, and vinegar.
Jiaozi are also standard fare in dim sum. The jiaozi in dim sum are smaller, wrapped in a translucent skin, and usually steamed. Dim sum jiaozi come in a great variety of fillings, including shrimp, scallop, chicken, tofu, mixed vegetables, and others. The most common type is shrimp dumplings. Many types of fillings exist, and dim sum restaurants often feature their own house specials or innovations. Dim sum chefs often use ingredients in new or creative ways, or draw inspiration from other Chinese culinary traditions, such as Chaozhou, Hakka, or Shanghai.