Dumpling and Christmas (3)

previously on Dumpling and Christmas: (1), (2)

Physics in dumpling stuffing making

stirring dumping stuffing

My little sister, Annie, stirring the dumpling stuffing

When you minced the meat and vegetable and want to mix them together, every experienced dumpling maker will give you the same tips: stir it in only one direction, don’t revise. Otherwise the stuffing won’t stick together.

Do you know why?

The stickiness comes from the protein molecule in the meat. The protein are long, chain-like molecules. When you stir the stuffing in one direction, you are unfolding the molecules into strings. They will then tangle with each other to give you the stickiness feeling.

If you stir in clockwise for a while and change to counterclockwise for a while, you will fold the protein molecules into ball-like form.

wool balls

wool balls will not tangle

tangled wool - cat's hell

tangled wool – cat’s hell

Let’s put it this way: imagine the protein molecules as wool threads. If you wind the threads into balls or yarns, they will remain separated.

tangled wool - cat's heaven

tangled wool – cat’s heaven

But if you let the threads stay as loose strings and put some together, well, they call it Cat’s heaven, or hell.

Now, exactly the same thing happens on a microscopy level with the protein molecules.

So, remember to keep stirring your stuffing in only one direction, to make a molecule-tangling-sticky-delicious-dumpling-stuffing, and enjoy the meal!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, everyone! 🙂


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