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

  1. Manggy

    Ooh, yes please. I’ve been lusting after that book for a while now- must save up :) I love these kinds of dumplings- from the filling to the chewy wrapper to, of course, the chili sauce (must always have it!), it just comes together so perfectly.

  2. natalie

    yum! i love making dumplings and am always looking for more recipes! gotta add this book to my wishlist!!
    i totally had to laugh at the chinese soap opera because that is totally my mom sitting at the table, making something, and eyes glued to a vietnamese soap opera!! haha!!

  3. Haley J.

    Oh, MAN, do those look good. I have a terrible dumpling habit, and now it is demanding to be fed. With these. And some of that chili sauce. mrowr!

  4. Sean

    My mom and I usually sit down on a lazy, Sunday afternoon and make these while watching TV. Gets a little tedious after awhile but the end result is so worth it. We usually use egg white to bind the wrap together so I’ll have to give the cornstarch mix a try later!

  5. Kate

    Jaden, this is a gorgeous post — the step by step pictures, the clear as a bell instructions — I have always been too intimidated to make these but now I am going to try — thank you!! (and congrats on the cookbook!) :-)

  6. The Cooking Bride

    I love ordering dumplings when my husband dine at our favorite Asian restaurant. I’ve tried these a home and they turned out “okay.” I am excited to find a new recipe. I’m sure these will be tasty!

  7. Joanne

    Hmm, again the moms win. Mine is a whiz at making dumplings too. Same thing watch a chinese soap while making them. As an adult now, my mom and I sit at the table with all the supplies set out and we chat while we make them. I think in another 10 years of constant dumpling making, I will be as skilled as she is.

  8. Jane

    You make these look much simpler than my meagher attempts! I will try these next week, and the book is on my list of must-haves, along with your new book. Congratulations on finishing!

  9. Kitt

    Might have to get that book. I could live on dumplings. I wish I’d learned some of the fancier pleating techniques I’ve seen. I knew a woman who could pleat a dumpling so the seam looked just like a sheaf of wheat. Very pretty.

  10. Eliot

    Our family has had dumpling nights, where I’ll set up a few plates of assorted diced things–onion, pork, ginger, beets, water chestnuts, snow peas, bell pepper, cilantro, whatever we have around–and eeveryone makes a half a dozen or so dumplings. Then we all stand around and cook them and shuffle off to the table with our custom-made dinners. Fun and delicious!

    GREAT idea! never thought of the ‘make your own dumpling’ party ~jaden

  11. Katie

    Thanks for sharing the book! I’ll have to get a copy for myself as I could eat dumplings until the cows come home. Great step by step post. =D

  12. Lori @ RecipeGirl

    Damn, you made these look mouthwatering (you, you got a gift!). Now I’m gonna have to make some dumplings! Absolutely can’t wait to get my hands on your cookbook. SO exciting!!

  13. Eat. Travel. Eat!

    What a nice and through walk through on making dumplings! Your dumplings have lots of filling in them compared to mine which is great :).

    I have never heard about using the cornstarch slurry for making the dumplings before! I wonder how big of a difference it is compared to regular water.

    The cornstarch slurry is a very common technique to make sure that dumplings remain sealed! Water won’t always keep the dumpling sealed – esp if the wrappers don’t have a lot of excess flour on the surface. ~jaden

  14. Vivian Boroff

    Jaden, your dumplings look delicious! I just got Andrea’s book this week and there are several recipes that I cannot wait to try. I hope they turn out as well as yours :)

  15. Alta

    Mmm, dumplings. Love them so much. Wish I knew of a gluten-free dumpling wrapper. If anyone knows of one, let me know! I’d even consider making my own wrappers!

  16. TexasDeb

    I’d tried fried wontons before but never steamed dumpling- these are healthier, surely, so count me in. And I agree – a make your own dumpling party is genius.

    Ok to make these and then serve them in broth for a bit of a change up? Or is that another recipe for another day….?

    Oh of course! Boil them in broth instead of water and serve with broth ~jaden

  17. Bill

    If you freeze some of these how do you prepare them when they are thawed out?

    Do not defrost, just add them frozen to boiling water and add an additional 3 minutes to cooking time~jaden

  18. Dawn in CA

    These do look tasty. I am in love with dumpling wrappers — not only for dumplings, but for homemade ravioli, too. Although I guess raviolis are just Italian dumplings, right? ;) How do you keep the cooked dumplings from sticking together while you make the last two batches? I usually make them in a broth, so this hasn’t been an issue, but I’d like to try serving them this way…

  19. Andrea Nguyen

    Dawn — You’re spot on about Italian raviolis being a type of dumpling. Dough rolled thin + filling + poaching + sauce = dumpling — or maybe that’s a type of pasta? Nah, it’s a dumpling.

    Jaden’s walk through here is terrific and I’m glad that you are all inspired. Use store-bought wrappers and practice technique. Then step up to making your wrappers from scratch as many Asian folks do. They’re phenomenal and not as hard as you may think!

  20. Kim M.

    These dumplings look AMAZING, Jaden!

    I pre-ordered your cookbook months ago, and received it TODAY! I love the recipes and the step-by-step photos! I also love the quality of your photos and the beautiful pictures of you and your children!

    Please start writing your next cookbook NOW! :-) smile!

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  22. Simone (junglefrog)

    I didn’t know there was a book dedicated to dumpkings… Ever since making the first dumplings for the daring cooks, I’ve been meaning to make them again. Love them and yours look gorgeous!

  23. Diana

    I love dumplings so much! Whether they’re boiled, fried, in soup or anything I’m a huge fan of them. They’re fun to do as a party because you can make a ton and everyone gets lots to freeze.

  24. Tina

    These look fabulous! I’ve made my own ravioli, but it’s never occurred to me to make this type pf dumpling. Just thinking though, being a dessert fanatic, these would be wonderful with a sweet filling! I’ve seen eastern European recipes, but they are much heavier; this technique would produce a much lighter result. I guess I know what I’ll be doing this weekend!

  25. Meme

    I’ve tried to make these a couple of times. I think I was missing the soap opera! :) I was wondering where you get the round wrappers. All I can find is square (wonton) and was thus dumpling challenged. I’ve seen a recipe where they cut the wrappers with a round cookie cutter, but thought that a great waste of material & time. Can I buy them round? I’m certainly up for another try and tour recipe looks great!

    Yes, you can by them round! They are just a bit thicker than the square wonton wrappers. Jaden

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  29. Susan York

    Hsve to try these. They look really great. Tried some this week that were also good so will let you know how they compare. Thanks for the great post!

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