Green Dragon Dumplings have added a new variety to seasonal treat

Tan Weiyun
The Green Dragon Dumplings in Zhangze Village, Yexie Town, have added a new meat-filled variety for this year's seasonal delicacy.
Tan Weiyun
Green Dragon Dumplings have added a new variety to seasonal treat

Hailed as one of the three gems of Shanghai traditional snacks on the southern bank of the Huangpu River, the Green Dragon Dumplings in Zhangze Village, Yexie Town, appear as a seasonal delicacy every winter solstice.

The town's busy workshop has added a new meat-filled variety this year, giving the typically sweet dumplings a savory twist and adding even more warmth to the chilly days.

Gourmets congregate around the steaming, warm ancient clay ovens, excitedly awaiting the first batch of the day. The town's lone heir to this special dumpling-making method, 73-year-old Xu Guihua, is at the center of this business.

Xu's very methodical procedure for making the dumpling wrappers is impressive to watch. She combines the green vegetable liquid with glutinous rice flour expertly, kneading the mixture until it becomes a cohesive, smooth dough. A dusting of flour completes the dough's final texture, a subtle harmony of wetness and flour that gives it a slightly green hue.

"Whether a Green Dragon dumpling is delicious or not depends as much on the filling as on the wrapper," explains Xu. Her meticulously crafted red bean paste is renowned for having the ideal sweetness and dense structure. Every dumpling is meticulously packed, formed into the classic "silver ingot" shape, and then expertly steam-cooked over high heat in the clay ovens.

After they are cooked, the glossy green dumplings are visually appealing as well as delicious. As you bite into these steaming treats, you'll discover a soft, sticky wrapper full of sweet red bean paste, with a faint, grassy scent permeating every bite.

The variety of dumplings has significantly expanded this year with the addition of a meat version. Quickly gaining popularity, the meat filling provides a wonderful contrast to the original sweet form and is wrapped in the same ingot-shaped wrapping.

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