Chinese dumplings recipe
Chinese dumplings are thought to have originated over 1,800 years ago during the Eastern Han Dynasty.
Traditionally, Chinese dumplings are eaten throughout the Chinese New Year celebration. This recipe makes 30 – 35 dumplings.
The preparation time is about 2 hours, and assembling and cooking is 1 hour. It is recommended to prepare the dough and filling the night before you want to assemble and cook the dumplings.
Ingredients for Chinese dumplings
For the dough
- 2 cups of all-purpose flour
- 1 cup of warm water
- Extra flour
For the filling
- 1 lb ground lean chicken (meat and veggies can be substituted to your preference. Mushrooms, carrots, snap peas etc. Traditionally ground pork is used)
- 1 medium head Napa cabbage (roughly 1 lb)
- 1 bundle of chinese chives (use 6-7 stalks)
- Small knob of ginger (optional)
- Oyster sauce or soy sauce (if making veggie dumplings)
- Sesame oil
- White pepper (optional)
- Store-bought or use soy sauce or vinegar
Equipment for making Chinese dumplings
- Rolling pin (I recommend using a straight rolling pin)
- Steam basket (metal or bamboo)
- Large pot (basket should fit tightly over)
- Cooking sheet or plates (to place your assembled and cooked dumplings on)
Directions for making Chinese dumplings
1. Combine 2 parts flour + 1 part warm water. I like to create a well in the flour and add warm water and combine. Have a little extra flour on the side in case your dough is sticky. The extra flour can be handy to cover the surface you are working on and the rolling pin.
2. Knead until the dough is no longer sticky. The dough should be mostly smooth. When it’s ready, put into a Ziploc bag, release the air and close. Place in the fridge for at least 2 hours before you are ready to assemble the dumplings (overnight is recommended).
3. While the dough rests, dice your Napa cabbage, Chinese chives and ginger. Chinese chives and ginger have a very strong flavor so adjust to your preference. You can start with a small handful of chives and 1 tablespoon of ginger.
For any vegetable that has moisture or water such as the napa or mushrooms, you’ll need to wrap it in a towel/flour bag to drain the water out. It’s important to have your veggies as dry as possible. This is to avoid making the Chinese dumplings soggy. I usually take a clean towel, add the veggies and then twist it until the water is absorbed by the cloth. If you sprinkle some salt on the veggies, it should draw out the moisture as well. Just be mindful of how much salt you’ve added when seasoning the filling later.
4. Once your veggies are relatively dry, combine with any meat you are using. The flavoring should be adjusted to your taste. Start out with 2 tablespoons of oyster/soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of sesame oil, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1 teaspoon of pepper.
I recommend making it a tiny bit saltier than if you were just eating it plain. Test out the flavoring by placing a small bite of your filling into a bowl of water and toss it into the microwave to cook. If it tastes salty enough for you, then it’s flavored well. If not, add more oyster/soy sauce or salt
5. Place your filling mix into the fridge as well.
6. Fill your pot with at least 3 inches of water and boil.
7. Line your steam basket with the cheesecloth and cover it with oil to prevent the Chinese dumplings from sticking.
8. When you are ready to assemble the dumplings, flour your surface, take a small ball of dough and roll it into a 1-inch diameter cylinder. Cut a quarter-inch (¼) pieces of the dough. Cover the sticky flat surfaces of the dough with some flour, and roll out the dough – try to keep them circular.
9. Once you have rolled out about 12 pieces of dough, take a piece a dough and place in the palm of your hand. Add a teaspoon of filling and place in the center of the circle.
10. Pinch the middle of the dough together like you are folding a teepee. Start from the right or left and create pleats with the dough folding up and pinch the sides together until they come together. You can use the base of your palm to shape the dumpling.
11. Add to the steamer basket. Leave about a quarter of an inch between each dumpling as they will expand slightly when cooked.
12. Fill the basket and add it to the top of the pot. Cover and steam the Chinese dumplings for 12 minutes. When the timer goes off, take a dumpling out and cut it in half to check that the meat has cooked and your veggies are soft.
Once the Chinese dumplings are cooked through, you can either pan fry them in some oil or enjoy with your favorite dipping sauce straight from the basket!
Dumplings can be frozen or refrigerated to be eaten later.