The ultimate to Chinese dumplings including dumpling dough, how to roll wrapper from flours, how to prepare Chinese dumpling fillings, how to cook dumplings and the popular dipping sauces. As one of the most symbolizing food on Chinese table, Chinese dumplings are the most popular food for Chinese New Year all over the country. Chinese dumplings can be further divided into three types based on the cooking method.
Boiled dumplings (水饺): for Chinese, dumplings are boiled dumplings in most cases, not pot-stickers and steamed dumplings. We have special name for those two types. Boiled dumplings are soft, juicy and moist. In northern provinces, are considered as the staple food all year around.
Pan-fried dumplings (potstickers, 锅贴) are crispy and chewier than boiled dumplings. Pan-fried dumplings are popular across the country mainly as street foods or side dishes.
Steamed dumplings (蒸饺): steamed dumplings are less famous compared with the two types above. In China, they are mainly served as side dish, dim sum or breakfast.
Making dumplings (either boiled dumplings or pan-fried version) with family members is one of the most important family activities for celebrating Chinese New Year in Northern provinces. All family members contribute to a healthy, well-balanced and rich in flavor dumpling dish. The older generation with more experience in making dumplings makes the most of the preparation works including making well flavored dumpling fillings and a dumpling wrapper dough with an appropriate hardness. When the dumpling party begins, someone starts to roll the wrapper and all of the others help to wrap them. Team work is always funny and rewarding. Everyone is get involved and everyone express their blessings to other family members. Everyone is enjoying the precious family reunion time and looking forward to the next “get together” dumpling party.
Make Juicy &Flavory Fillings
It is really a long store if we want to explain possibility of fillings for dumplings. But there are rules. Dumpling fillings are well-balanced nutritionally with ground meat (might be pork, beef, shrimp, mutton and sometimes chicken) and chopped vegetables (carrot, celery, cabbage, mushrooms and radish), so dumpling itself is a perfect one dish meal. Here are some tips to make your dumpling filling with running juice and rice flavors.
Fat content should be guaranteed|If possible, choose ground meat with at least 30% fat content. Most of Chinese dumplings use ground pork or sometimes ground lamb. Both of the two types of meat can provide enough oil after cooking, and avoid the filling becomes tight and dry. If other leaner meats are used as the main ingredients for filling, including chicken, beef and shrimp, a common technique is to add some extra fat. This is well proofed in famous Har Gow, extra pork fat is added to make the shrimp filling juicy.
Marinate the ground meat a few hours prior to folding|Longer marinating time help the meat to absorb the seasonings. Firstly add all the seasonings, light soy sauce, oyster sauce, white pepper, salt, ginger, cooking wine, sesame oil, egg and chopped scallion. Then heat for around 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil and drizzle the hot oil on the top of the scallion. Stir the meat mixture for 2-3 minutes in one direction until getting a paste texture. Then set aside and marinate for 1 hour or cover with plastic wrapper and fridge overnight.
Apply appropriate treatments to fresh vegetable| the treatments of the vegetable including, stir-frying, blanch, salt marinating and oil mixing. If you use vegetables have a higher water content for example cabbage, chop them firstly and then marinate with salt for 10-15 minutes. After marinating, slightly squeeze the extra liquid out. This can prevent the filling becomes watery and spoil the dumplings wrappers. For vegetables with lower water content (like chive in this recipe), chop firstly and then coat with oil before mixing with ground meat. This prevents the vegetables from dewatering due to the salt.
Mix vegetables with ground meat just before wrapping. If the vegetables are added too early, the dewatering process happens, making the filling watery and hard to handle.
After cooked, the chive is still green.
How to make dumpling wrapper from scratch
We have full access to store-made dumpling wrappers now but a “real dumpling” better starts from flours.
- 300g all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting (for around 45 to 50 dumpling wrappers)
- 150ml to 160ml water
- a small pinch of salt (around ½ tsp, 2g.)
- Mix a small pinch of salt with flour, dig a hole in center and then stir the water in. Mix the flour with water with chop-stickers during the process so you can adjust the water amount if necessary. Then knead the dough for 8-10 minutes with a stand mixer or by hand until the dough is almost smooth. Cover and rest for 15 minutes. Then re-knead the dough for 2-3 minutes so we can get a very smooth dough. Cover and continue resting for 1 hour.
- When the dough becomes soft and smooth, cut into halves and knead each half into a round ball. Take one half and dig a small hole in center. Then shape it to a large circle round. Cut so we will end up a long log. Shape the log around 3cm in diameter. Divide the long log into small dumpling dough pieces (each around 10g). Dust each of them so they will not stick together. Press one down and then roll it into a wrapper around 10cm in diameter. You can refer to the video for the technique.
- Get your assistants here and begin to wrap the dumpling at the fastest speed, because the wrappers will get dried out soon and become harder to seal together.
Tips for easy to roll dumping wrappers
Tougher dough is better for softer dough. It is quite important to use harder dough if you want to make thin papers. If the dough is too soft, it is hard to roll the wrappers and the dumpling cannot keep a nice shape. If you feel your dough is slightly too hard to work with, you can slightly lengthen a resting time.
If you plan to make steamed dumplings, use hot boiling water to make the dough so the dumplings will be much softer and easy to steam. We call this dough as hot water dough (烫面).
How to cook dumplings
Boiled dumplings (水饺) : heat a large pot of water to a boiling, add a small pinch of salt. Then cook the dumplings in batches. Slightly move the dumplings with a large ladle or scoop so they will not sticky to the bottom. Then the water begins to boil again, add around ¼ cup of cold water. Repeat once. When the dumplings become transparent and expand because of the air inside. Transfer out.
Pan-frying (potstickers): brush 1 tablespoon of oil in a pan (nonstick pan recommended for beginners), place the dumplings in. Pleats side up. Heat over medium fire until one side becomes browned. Swirl around ½ cup of water and then cover the lid immediately.
Continue heating until all of the water is evaporated.Slow down your heat and heat until the bottom becomes crispy and golden brown.
By the way, if you want to get more assembling ways, check my post: how to fold dumplings.
How to Make Chinese Dumplings (Jiaozi)
- 300 g all-purpose flour ,plus more for dusting
- 155 ml water ,room temperature or hot boiling, see tip3
- 2 g salt
Pork and chive filling
- 400 g Ground pork ,at least 20% fat (you can replace ⅓ pork with shrimp)
- 200 g Chive ,hard ends removed
- 1 tsp.salt
- 1 tbsp. cooking wine
- ½ tsp. white pepper
- 1 tbsp. light soy sauce
- 1 tbsp. oyster sauce
- 1 tbsp. minced ginger
- 2 large eggs
- 3 tbsp. sesame oil ,divided
- ⅓ cup chopped scallion
- 2 tbsp. hot oil
- 2 tbsp. vinegar
- 3-4 ginger shreds
- In a mixing bowl, add ground pork, a small pinch of salt, egg, light soy sauce, white pepper, oyster sauce grated ginger and salt. Then place the green onion on top and drizzle hot oil on green onions. This helps to improve the aroma of the green onion.
- Stir the filling in one direction for 2-3 minutes until getting a paste texture and the filling becomes quite sticky. Set aside for 1 hour or cover with plastic wrapper and overnight.
- Finely chop chives and mix with 2 tablespoons of sesame oil or other vegetable oil. Mix chive with pork before wrapping.
- Brush 1 tablespoon of oil in a pan (nonstick pan recommended for beginners), place the dumplings in. Pleats side up.
- Heat over medium fire until one side becomes browned. Swirl around ½ cup of water and then cover the lid immediately. Continue heating until all of the water is evaporated.
- Slow down your heat and heat until the bottom becomes crispy and golden brown.
Boiled dumplings (水饺)
- Heat a large pot of water to a boiling, add a small pinch of salt. Then cook the dumplings in batches. Slightly move the dumplings with a large ladle or scoop so they will not sticky to the bottom. Then the water begins to boil again, add around ¼ cup of cold water. Repeat once. When the dumplings become transparent and expand because of the air inside. Transfer out.