Growing up, we made dumplings often enough that it became a semi-regular thing in my household.
Sometimes, my mother would invite her few Chinese friends over and we’d spend an hour or two making dumplings, then eating until our stomachs hurt. Their children, my sister, and I pressed the edges of the wrappers together carefully, using a fork sometimes to create the ridges. My mother and her friends, chatting absently, were ten times faster than the rest of us. My aunt, who I see once every few years when we take the trip to my mother’s hometown, uses one hand to fold dumplings, a skill I have yet to acquire or understand.
I’m better now than I was when I first started out, even to the point that I can teach my German friends how to plop the right amount of dumpling filling into the wrapper, open on your palm, and carefully tuck the sides in. It’s become a tradition for my group of friends here for Lunar New Year; my girlfriend has even mastered the perfect fold. I use my mother’s recipe, which she typed up and sent to me in an email a year after I moved out and requested while feeling homesick. It’s one of the most concrete, tangible things from Chinese culture I can share.
Anya’s Mom’s Dumpling Recipe
- 2 cups of flour
- 1 cup of lukewarm water (estimated)
- You can also use store bought wrappers.
Making the dumpling wrappers
- Mixing flour with lukewarm water in a big bowl so that you can
- Knead the flour into a smooth ball. The kneading is done if the flour does not stick to your hands (about 15 minutes). If too sticky, add more flour. If too dry, add a little bit more water (small amount of water at a time).
- Let the dough rest for half an hour.
- Then, you can roll the dough into a one inch thick string and tear the dough into small pieces (one inch long).
- Roll the piece into a small round ball and squish it with your palm.
- Roll the small piece with a rolling pin so that it becomes a thin and round piece.
- one pound of ground pork (beef, chicken, vegan);
- one egg (if making vegan, mix cornstarch and water),
- a small piece of ginger (minced),
- Small amount of ground pepper,
- four stalks of green onions (minced),
- one table spoon of soy sauce,
- one teaspoon of sesame oil, one table spoon of corn starch, and
- Shake of salt
- (You can add in a little bit of spicy pepper or some cabbage or
other soft vegetables).
Making the dumpling filling
- Put the ground meat and all ingredients in a big bowl.
- Add a small amount of water and mix everything thoroughly by stirring them vigorously in one direction. (Don’t change the mixing direction. If the mixture appears to be too stiff, add a little bit of water and mix again until the filling looks well mixed.)
Making the dumplings
- Use a wrapper and put an appropriate amount of filling in the middle (about one teaspoon, not too much that the wrapper doesn’t close).
- Fold one side of the wrapper over the other side and fold both sides together so that the filling is sealed tightly in the middle.
Here's a video example from Crazy Rich Asians
Pan frying the dumplings
- Put a small amount of oil into a pan and line up the dumplings neatly in the pan.
- Turn on the stovetop to medium heat and cover the pan.
- Wait for four minutes or so and pour one full cup of water into the pan.
- Cover the pan again and wait for about 10 minutes or until all of the water evaporates from the pan.
- Wait for a couple of more minutes until the dumplings are crispy at the bottom.
- Now the dumplings are ready.