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Chinese Boiled Pork Dumplings

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My mom is a Chinese dumpling wrapping queen. She can mix up a batch of filling ingredients and fold them into perfect, little half-moon dumplings faster than the time it takes me to set the table. Mom will usually sit at the breakfast table facing the television and while watching her favorite Chinese soap opera, she’ll be pleating those suckers without once looking down. The problem is that during emotional moments of the dramatic soap, her dumplings would look, well, sad. So, the lesson is, watch happy shows, get happy, fat dumplings!

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There’s a brand new book out written by my friend Andrea Nguyen and it’s called  Asian Dumplings. With full color photos, step-by-step illustrations on how to wrap over 75 Asian dumplings from samosas to spring rolls, it’s definitely a book I’d recommend. I’ve adapted her Chinese water dumpling recipe for you to try. The folding technique is simple enough for you master while watching a light-hearted, happy show on TV.

How to Fold Chinese Dumplings

Step 1: Place about a tablespoon of filling in the middle of the wrapper. Dip your finger in the cornstarch slurry and paint the top half’s edge. If you put too much slurry on the wrapper, it will get soggy and make it difficult to fold. So just the top half– along the edge.

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Step 2: Bring the bottom edge up to meet the top.

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Step 3: Pinch the center.

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Step 4: Now pinch the rest of the edges together – use the meaty part of your thumb to really pinch and seal good, while pushing any extra air out of the dumpling.

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I go over the edge, pinching one more time, to ensure there are no holes. If you have a hole, dumpling filling will leak out.

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There should be no air bubbles in the Chinese dumplings – the middle is all filling. Air bubbles will cause the dumpling to rupture when you boil them.

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Step 5: Lay them flat out on a plate or baking sheet, keep them covered with a barely damp towel or plastic wrap. Try to give each dumpling space – so that they don’t stick to each other.  Cook the Chinese Dumplings (see recipe below) or cover and refrigerate if you are cooking same-day. Freeze as-is on the plate/baking sheet if saving for another day. Once frozen, you can gather them up and put them in a freezer bag.

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Chinese Dumplings: Boiled Pork and Cabbage Dumplings

adapted from Asian Dumplings by Andrea Nguyen

Salting and squeezing the water out of the cabbage is essential. It prevents your dumplings from being too soggy!

Makes 50 dumplings

12 ounces napa cabbage leaves, roughly chopped (or regular cabbage)
1 teaspoon kosher salt (or 1/2 teaspoon table salt)
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger (use microplane grater)
1/4 cup minced Chinese chives or green onions (white and green parts)
2/3 pound ground pork
1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper (or freshly ground black pepper)
1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine (or dry sherry)
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 package frozen round dumpling wrappers (gyoza/potsticker wrappers), defrosted at room temperature for 30 minutes
for the slurry: 1 tablespoon cornstarch + 1/2 cup water

1. To make the filling, put the cabbage in a food processor and process until cabbage is finely minced. Remove the cabbage to a large bowl and sprinkle with the salt. Let cabbage sit for 10 minutes. In the meantime, return the food processor bowl to the stand and add the ginger, chives, pork, pepper, soy sauce, rice wine and sesame oil. Pulse 4 times to mix the ingredients well. Set aside.

2. Use your hands to grab a handful of the cabbage and squeeze and discard the excess moisture out into the sink. You can also spoon all of the cabbage onto a cheesecloth and then squeeze all the water out. Place the dry cabbage back into the large bowl and add the pork mixture. Fold the cabbage into the pork mixture.

3. Mix together the slurry. Take one dumpling wrapper, spoon scant 1 tablespoon of the pork mixture onto the middle of the wrapper. Dip one finger into the slurry and “paint” the edges of the dumpling wrapper. Bring up the bottom side of the wrapper, fold up and press to shape into a half-moon shape, encasing all of the filling. Place on baking sheet, cover loosely with plastic wrap and repeat with rest of dumplings. Make sure that the dumplings do not touch each other on the sheet.

4 When all dumplings assembled, you can cook immediately or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to several hours. To cook, half-fill a large pot with water and bring to boil. When boiling, and gently slide in 1/3 of the dumplings. When water returns to a boil, turn heat to a simmer and gently cook for 6-8 minutes. Remove with slotted spoon and repeat with remaining dumplings. Serve with hot chili sauce.

Comments 85

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  3. coolmama

    I just tried your dumpling recipe. It was easy to follow with all the beautiful pictures and step by step directions. I was skeptical about my own skills but when I took the first bite, I almost cried b/c it brought back memories of my Granama’s recipe from when I was a little girl in China. THANK YOU!!!!

  4. Sharon

    Hi Jaden,

    I’m loving your site,… so helpful and exciting even for a “beginner” in Asian cooking like myself :) Could you tell me a brand name of wonton wrappers that you use? I am looking for the best quality with no artificial ingredients, I don’t have a Asian Supermarket close enough to shop at, looking to order off a internet store. Thanks for you time,

    Sharon

  5. Isabella

    Tried these this evening for Chinese New Year here in New Zealand. I was worried my skills weren’t high enough but they came out perfectly! And soooo yummy! Thank you!

  6. Frederieke

    This recipe looks fab. I live in Rome and we (believe it or not!) can’t actually buy the frozen wrappers for these dumplings, do you have a recipe for them? Are they easy to make?

    Thanks!

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  8. Jennalyn

    I literally just made these, using this tutorial on my iPad in the kitchen, and am thrilled with how easy everything was.

  9. Patricia rucker de bassi

    We are brazilians and lived in Taipei-Tw for 3 years. We used to have dinner at
    DinTaiFun. Now we are back to Brazil and we try this dumpling recipe. It is really great. We remembered the good times spent there. Thank you very much!

  10. Handwriting analyst

    Making dumplings require a lot of precision as you need to be really careful with the dough and also the folding. These pork dumplings seem to be really palpable. Thank you for sharing the recipe and that too with such detailed explanation.

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  12. Angie

    These look so yummy and easy to make. Do you have any tips on making a batch of them and freezing 1/2 of the portion? I don’t want them to end up sticking together after they are frozen. Thanks!

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  15. cindy

    “Freeze as-is on the plate/baking sheet if saving for another day. Once frozen, you can gather them up and put them in a freezer bag”

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  23. Kat

    That is just not how one folds Jiaozi, or any Asian dumpling for that matter. The dumplings once folded should sit up on the tray, not lie down, and should have several folds in their tops. Otherwise your dumpling runs a high risk of overheating, which leads to the dumpling breaking apart at the top and often the sides. This is a solid video that explains very well dumpling folding basics: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1o9-82qizc . Fresh dough also helps, since you can make it the thickness you want. Plus it has more of that wonderful chewiness once boiled :)

    1. Post
      Author
      Jaden

      Kat – Thank you for your input, I fold dumplings many ways and have been folding dumplings since I was 3 years old. My intention for Steamy Kitchen is to provide simple, delicious recipes that are easy enough for tonight’s dinner, whether you are a beginner cook or otherwise. My cookbook has step by step photos and there are other dumpling posts on Steamy Kitchen with also step by step fold where I use multiple folds on the dumplings. This particular recipe, I chose the easier method.

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