Chinese Dumplings, or 饺子, are nearly as ubiquitous as rice in Chinese cuisine. One of the major foods eaten during the Chinese Spring Festival, they look like the golden ingots (Yuánbǎo) used during the Ming Dynasty for money. Coupled with the fact that the name sounds like the word for the earliest paper money, serving them is believed to bring prosperity.
As a dish prepared at home, each family has its own preferred method of making them, using favorite fillings, with types and methods of preparation varying widely from region to region. This recipe is for the basic wrapper and filling, as well as our favourite dipping sauce — but definitely be bold and experiment with flavours. There’s no end to the types of dumplings that can be made.
- 500 g all purpose flour
- 3/4 cup water
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 200 g flour (for dusting)
- 250 g ground pork
- 200 g chives
- 3 scallions
- 1 thumb-sized piece of ginger
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp + 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp Chinese cooking sherry/wine
- 1 tsp + 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp chicken stock or water
- 2 tbsp black vinegar
- 2 tbsp light soy sauce
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 5 cloves minced garlic
- 1 finely chopped scallion
- On a flat surface, mix salt into 500g flour, slowly stir in water, adding as much as is necessary to form a smooth dough. Don't add all the water at one time. Knead the dough into a smooth ball. Cover the dough with a tea towel or some plastic wrap and let it rest for at least 30 minutes.
- While the dough rests; add ground pork, Chinese cooking wine, sesame oil, salt, soy sauce, minced ginger, finely chopped scallions and 2 tbsp chicken stock in a large bowl -- stirring in only one direction. When ingredients are combined, add finely chopped chives, stirring in the same direction, and mix well.
- Dust a clean surface with reserved flour, and turn out the dough. Roll the dough into a long cylindrical shape with a diameter of about 3 cm.
- Divide the dough into roughly 40 pieces. Use a sharp knife to maintain cylindrical/round shape. Turn each piece on its flat side, and press to flatten into a small disc shape. Roll each piece out into a thin round sheet with a roughly 6-7 cm diameter.
- Place a small portion (~1 tbsp) of the filling into the middle of each wrapper. Wet the edges of the dumpling with water. Fold the dough over the filling into a half moon shape and pinch the edges to seal. Repeat.
- Add a pinch of salt to a large pot of water and bring to a boil. Add half the dumplings into the boiling water, giving them a gentle stir so they don't stick together. Bring the water to a boil again, and add 1/2 cup of cold water. Cover and return to a boil. When the dumplings come to a boil for a third time, strain and place them on a serving plate, serve immediately.
- Heat 2 tbsp oil in a non stick skillet on medium to high heat. Place dumplings in, sprinkle 1/3 cup water evenly over the dumplings. Cover with a lid and let steam 5-6 minutes.
- When the water evaporates, remove the lid, check if the bottom of the dumplings have formed a nice golden crust. If not, let them cook uncovered a little longer. Place them on a serving plate, serve with dipping sauce.
- When waiting for the dumplings to cook, prepare your dipping sauce. Divide the dipping sauce ingredients into two small bowls, mix well and set aside.
- Cook a little bit of the filling before wrapping them in the skin. Adjust seasoning as needed.
- Uncooked dumplings freeze well. It is easiest to place on a tray in the freezer until frozen, and then ziplock for fresh keeping. Cook frozen dumplings a couple minutes longer than fresh ones.
- Many vegetables are great for dumplings, like zucchini, cabbage, and carrot. Salt watery veggies and leave for several minutes. Squeeze the water out before mixing them with meat.
- When stirring ingredients for the filling, stir in a single direction so that the meat stays somewhat bound together and doesn't lose its texture. Do not over-mix.