Chinese Dumplings

It’s high time for a few updates on this recipe. While the ingredients for the original version have remained pretty much the same, we’ve streamlined a few preparation steps, been shown a vegan filling option, discovered a video about folding and stumbled on a really efficient way to cook them. Time consuming, but worth every moment!

Filling
6 leaves Napa cabbage
5-6 dried Chinese mushrooms, rehydrated in boiled water for 20-30 minutes, squeezed and quartered
1 clove garlic, very roughly chopped
1 in/2.5 cm fresh peeled ginger, very roughly chopped
2/3 lb ground pork or mixed beef and pork (meatloaf mix)
1 egg white
2 t dark soy sauce
1/2 t white ground pepper
1/8 t Chinese chili powder
1 t salt

Dough
About 2 c flour
About 1/2 c water

*Homemade dough is delicious, but if you can buy wrappers (gyoza or wonton, doesn’t really matter), do it! The whole thing will go so much faster.

Dipping Sauce
1 t black vinegar
2 T light soy sauce
1 t Shao Xing wine
½ t sugar
A few drops chili oil

  1. After washing cabbage leaves, tear each leaf into pieces. Put into food processor with rehydrated mushrooms, garlic and ginger. Chop to fine in food processor. Place in medium mixing bowl. Add ground meat, egg white, soy sauce, pepper, chili powder and salt to mixing bowl and mix all ingredients well. Once filling is mixed, make dumpling dough. If you’re using store-bought wrappers, skip to step 4.

  2. In another medium mixing bowl, combine flour and water. Knead together with hands, adding more water or flour as needed. Dough should be slightly sticky, yet firm and pliable. Or, use a food processor with a blade attachment and a feeder tube. Put the flour into the food processor bowl, turn it on and add the water through the feeder tube. The dough nearly assembles itself.

  3. Place finished dough on floured surface and roll with hands into a long, cylindrical shape (you might have to break dough into halves and roll out two separate cylinders), about 11/2 inches in diameter. Using a sharp knife, cut cylinder into 1-11/2 inch pieces, turning roll with each cut so that you don’t squish the roll on one side. Press each dough piece with heel of hand to flatten, then with a floured rolling pin, roll each dough piece into a round flat shape. THIS PART IS TRIAL AND ERROR!! The rounds of dough should ideally be about 4-5 inches across and thickest in the middle.

  4. Put a dollop of meat mixture in the center of each dumpling wrapper (about 11/2 t). Seal the edges of the dough around the meat filling and place on floured surface. Check the video above for dumpling wrapping help.

  5. To steam, place in steamer basket lined with cabbage leaves and don’t let the dumplings touch (they’ll stick to each other). Steam for 20-25 minutes. To steam-fry (suggested!), heat a large, deep skillet with an unvented lid and 1-2 T oil (we use sesame, but vegetable is fine) over medium-high. Add dumplings to pan, not letting them touch. Pour 2-3 T water into the pan (it will spit), cover with lid and cook 2-3 minutes (until browned). Turn dumplings and brown on other side, another 2-3 minutes. Cook in batches and add more oil and water as necessary. Always be conservative; you can always add more, but too much could ruin your dumplings.

    Notice the crispy bits!

  6. To prepare the dipping sauce, whisk all ingredients together in a small, deep bowl.

Vegan Filling
5-6 leaves Napa cabbage (large center rib trimmed), torn
5-6 dried Chinese mushrooms, rehydrated w/hot water (30 minutes), squeezed and quartered
1 clove garlic, very roughly chopped
1 in. fresh peeled ginger, very roughly chopped
1 large onion, diced
3 large carrots, peeled and shredded
1-2 T vegetable oil
1/8 t ground turmeric
salt and white pepper to taste

Fit food processor with blade attachment and add first 4 ingredients, chopping until pieces are fairly even in size. Heat a large, deep skillet to medium and add oil. Cook onion until very tender, then add contents of food processor and carrots. Cook, stirring frequently, until well mixed and heated through. Add turmeric, salt and pepper, stir well and taste, adjusting as needed. You will probably need to add salt a few times, just to make the veggies pop. You don’t want them to taste perceptibly salty, just like the most intense versions of themselves. The salt also serves to temper some of the carrots’ sweetness.

Fill and steam or steam-fry as outlined above. The dipping sauce is especially great with this variety.