First things first. I am beyond obsessed with dumplings. When I was little, my parents went out of town for a week (to celebrate my mom’s PHD, go mom!), and my grandparents came to stay with my brother and me. One day, we ordered Chinese food from my favorite Chinese place, which has since moved. My grandma asked me how many dumplings we usually order, and I said 8. She ordered 8 cartons (64 total!!) of dumplings because she thought they sold by the dumpling. This continues to be one of my prouder moments. I ate dumplings for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the next few days, and was a happy kid.
Dumplings can be tricky. I have struggled to make them at home like they are in the restaurant because all I want to do is indulge and eat as many dumplings as I want. It can be difficult, and I have yet to perfect it. But these are pretty close, and you know exactly what’s in them!
There are many different ways to make the dumpling wrapper. This is the method that I prefer to use. It requires no planning ahead, and it holds up well to boiling, pan-frying, or steaming. You can also buy wonton wrappers from the store and use those. I think my mom would prefer that I do that because it’s easier, but these wrappers are chewier.
The filling is pretty simple. It is ground pork, a few veggies, ginger, and garlic.
Difficulty: 5/5 if you’ve never made dumplings before. Folding is hard to get right. I would suggest watching a YouTube video. I am still not great at folding, but as long as you seal the dough, the taste will be divine!
For the wrapper:
- 3 cups flour
- 1.5 cups boiling water
For the filling:
- 2 cups cabbage
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1/2 cup carrots
- 1/2 medium onion
- 1 tablespoon ginger
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons garlic
- 1 pound ground pork
- To make the flour: Mix flour and water. This is easiest to do in a mixer, with a kneading attachment. Alternatively, you may use a wooden spoon and a large bowl.
- Knead dough: Knead the dough until it is smooth, and allow it to cool, covered with a wet paper towel. If mixing by hand, use a spoon until the dough comes together, and then wait until it is cool enough to handle and then knead.
- Start the vegetables: In a food processor, combine the cabbage and salt. Mince. Place onto a clean kitchen towel. Allow to sit for 10-15 minutes, then wring out the water. While the cabbage is sitting, mince carrots and onions in the food processor. Add the ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil, and garlic and mince, then transfer to a bowl.
- Finish the filling: Add the pork, and mix until combined. Stir in one direction and mix thoroughly, until you get a paste consistency. You may be tempted to throw the pork into the food processor and mince it, but then the pork gets too small and the dumplings get tough. Set the bowl to the side.
- Make the wrappers: Cut the dough into 6 equal pieces, and roll pieces into 1-inch logs, then cut into 1 inch pieces. if you have a kitchen scale, these pieces should be between 12-15 grams. Cover the dough you aren’t working with a wet towel so that it doesn’t dry out.
- Roll the wrappers: Roll out the pieces with a rolling pin, until they are about the thickness and size of a CD.
- Fill the dumplings: Place about a tablespoon of filling on the dough. Fold the dough around the filling to seal it, starting in the middle and working out to the ends. Pinch the middles of the dough together, and then work out. You may want to look on YouTube for videos about folding. They are really helpful.
- Repeat: Repeat with remaining dough and filling, covering the filled dumplings with a wet towel, again so they don’t dry out.
- Choose: Now you have a choice. You can boil, steam, or pan-fry.
- To boil, place a large pot of water on the stove over high heat. Allow to come to a rolling boil. Place a few (depending on the size of your pot) dumplings carefully in the water. Stir gently, so that the dumplings don’t stick to the bottom of the pot. Cook until dumplings rise to the surface, and then cook a little bit longer.
- To steam, you can use a bamboo steamer or any kind of steamer. Place a layer of parchment paper in the bottom of the steamer. Bring water to a boil, and then place the dumplings on top. Steam for about 10 minutes.
- To pan-fry, heat about a tablespoon of oil in a cast iron pan. Add a layer of dumplings. Cook for 3-4 minutes, then CAREFULLY add 1/2 cup of water and then put a lid on it. Allow to steam until the water boils off. Cook until the bottoms are crispy again, then plate and serve. Make sure the pork is fully cooked. It helps if you have a meat thermometer.
- Optional: You can also fry the wrappers after boiling or steaming the dumplings. This is my favorite method because it seems to work best and you can make sure the meat is fully cooked without burning or tearing the wrappers. Follow the directions above to boil or steam.Allow them to dry a bit, and then heat a pan of oil on the stove. Add dumplings, and then cook until crispy.
- If you make dumplings a lot, get a tablespoon sized ice-cream scoop. It allows for precise measuring and easy release.
- Serve with soy sauce or dumpling vinegar sauce.