Chinese dumplings are little parcels of deliciousness. Since I was a little girl, my parents made dumplings for special occasions such as birthdays or Chinese Lunar New Year. And I always look forward to them. The significance of Chinese dumplings in our culture is pretty simple – their shape, the half-moon crescent, represents the dazzling light of the moon and the hope of a prosperous year ahead.
Chinese dumplings come in all different shapes and sizes, but at the heart of it, too, is sharing them with family and friends. Combining lots of different dumplings with an assortment of fillings, they symbolise togetherness and good fortune. So even more reason to eat them as much as possible.
Easy-peasy Chinese pork dumplings recipe
When I asked my parents for a recipe for Chinese dumplings, they just rattled off several ingredients and told me they threw this and that in and mixed it up. That’s the thing with Chinese recipes, they’re stored in the recesses of the brain and handed down via the generations. But they always work – and this recipe for Chinese pork dumplings will work for you, too. The dumpling filling is simple to make, it’s just a matter of combining the ingredients together. And once the dumplings have been made, crisping up the bottoms in hot oil, then adding water to steam them.
Can I make the dough for Chinese dumplings?
Absolutely. I have made the wrappers by mixing 300g plain flour with 200ml of boiling water and a pinch of salt. But I’ll be honest, after letting the dough rest, then cutting and rolling each piece (I can never quite get a perfect round), I think it’s much much easier [and quicker] to buy ready-made dumpling wrappers or won ton wrappers. Admittedly, the density of shop brought wrappers aren’t as thick as homemade wrappers but this blog is all about simplicity and ease, and I would say if you want less hassle go to the Asian supermarket and pick yourself up a few packets of wrappers. You can freeze them and use them when needed.
How to fold Chinese dumplings?
Okay, so while making the filling for Chinese pork dumplings is super easy, it’s just a matter of combining all the ingredients together, it’s the folding that is the tricky part – but only when you first begin. There are so many ways you can fold dumplings – but I like the crescent shape pleat, as it’s one of the simpler shapes to make.
The key when you first begin is to not overfill the wrapper with too much dumpling mixture. It will be hard to fold without the filling oozing out of the seams and for the dumpling to be sealed properly. So make sure you start off small first and you will become more confident.
The video below in the recipe shows you exactly how to do it – but all you have to do is fill the middle of the wrapper, and fold it over. Now you could just press the edges together and leave it like that and honestly, they will still taste amazing! If you want to try the one-way pleat method, hold the wrapper in one hand, pinch the wrapper at one of the corners, then take the side of the wrapper closest to you, keep pinching to create a pleat towards the corner you have already sealed. Keep doing this until you have a crescent shape and seal the dumpling well.
What can I use for a dipping sauce?
Plain soy is tasty enough, but you can add chilli sauce and a touch of sesame oil and rice wine vinegar, or even add crushed garlic and ginger. My personal preference is chilli sauce and soy mixed together.
Can I freeze the dumplings?
Yes, you can. You can freeze them cooked or uncooked. But to avoid them sticking together or for freezer burn to occur, lay the dumplings separately and put them on a tray and freeze them for two hours before popping them in a container or freezer bag together. You can steam them or put them in soups and they will be ready to eat, or cook them in exactly the same method below – by crisping up the bottoms in hot oil and then steaming them by adding water and covering with a lid.
Fantastic Chinese pork dumplings
- 300 g minced pork
- 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1 tsp corn flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- pinch of white pepper
- 3 tbsp of cold water
- 1 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine
- 1 tbsp light soy sauce
- 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 2 tbsp sesame oil
- 2 cloves of garlic finely diced
- 2 tsp of fresh ginger finely diced
- 2 spring onions finely sliced
- 200 g pak choi finely chopped
- 1 pack of won ton/ dumpling wrappers
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 100 ml water
- Combine the pork mince, bicarbonate of soda, cornflour, seasonings and liquid ingredients together. I find chopsticks are great for stirring the pork until all the liquid has been absorbed.
- Once this is done, stir in the spring onions, ginger, garlic and pak choi.
- Grab the wonton wrapper and with the other hand, dip your finger into some water and moisten the edges of your wrapper. Then place a heaped teaspoon of filling into the centre of the wrapper Be careful not to fill it with too much or the filling will just come out of the sides.
- (Make sure to keep the rest of the wrappers under a damp tea towel or cloth as they can dry out easily)
- Fold over into a half moon. Holding the wrapper in one hand, pinch the wrapper at one of the corners, then taking the side of the wrapper closest to you, keep pinching to create a pleat towards the one you have already sealed. Keep doing this until you have a crescent shape and seal the dumpling well. Try not to get filling on the outside as it will be hard to seal. You may also need a touch more water to keep the pleats closed.
- Watch the video below to see how you seal a dumpling with a one-way pleat. This is the method I find easiest. However, you may find a technique that suits you better – the more you practise, the easier it gets.
- Cook the dumplings in two or three batches. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Fry the dumplings flat side down for about 2 minutes until a golden crust forms on the bottom. Make sure not to burn them, they will crisp up quickly.
- Add the cold water and cover with a lid (or a plate that is big enough). The steam will cook the dumplings in 8 minutes, or until all the water has evaporated. Remove the lid and let the dumplings cook for a further minute until they lift off from the bottom of the pan easily. You might need to loosen them with a fish slice if they are sticking slightly. Repeat with the next batches.
- Serve the dumplings immediately with a chilli dipping sauce on the side