What’s up, dumpling? (Not harassing ya, promise. I’m talking to the food.)
I had a MOMENT on Chinese New Year, you guys. (Okay, now I’m talking to you.) It was a dumplings-or-bust kind of moment, very early in the day. If there were such a thing as too early in the day for dumplings, it would’ve been too early for dumplings. But I think we can all agree that there’s no such miserable thing as that.
There’s plenty of good Chinese takeout available in my life. A sane person with an insane craving for Chinese dumplings might take the hint. Dumplings are a bit of a project, to say the least, especially when you make the dough. But sometimes a bit of a project is exactly what you need.
That’s one of the beautiful things about food. It isn’t just for eating. It’s for learning and stretching and meditating and healing and loving. (And also for eating, and thank goodness for that — don’t get me wrong. Oh hi there, mortal.) I think I needed a lot from dumplings the other day.
(Wait, is that a takeout pun? Sorry.)
Here’s a quick little video to give you an overview of the dumpling-making process and hopefully make it less daunting. I’ll put together a of couple more detailed ones in the coming weeks to show you more about how the dough should look and how to crimp it.
Talk to you soon.
Chinese Dumplings Recipe with Pork
We cannot get enough of these dumplings. The filling is super-savory, and I'm just gonna leave the word CRAVE here rather than subjecting y0u some horrible adjective Frankenform of that term. It's definitely a project to make your own dough and roll out each little circle before filling and cooking it, but sometimes you want a kitchen project, right? This recommend Dough is lightly adapted from the wonderful Molly Yeh's family recipe on Food52.
For the dough
- 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus plenty more for kneading
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
- 3/4 cup boiling water
- 3/4 cup cold water
For the filling
- 1 pound ground pork
- 8 leaves Napa cabbage
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
- 8 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 tablespoons low-sodium tamari or other good soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 3 scallions, white and light green parts thinly sliced
- Safflower or other neutral-tasting oil meant for high-heat cooking
For the dipping sauce
- 1/4 cup tamari or other good soy sauce
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon hot chili sesame oil
For the dough:
In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the flour and salt. Pour in the boiling water a little at a time and mix with a spoon until incorporated. Then pour in the cold water a little at a time, continuing to mix until you have a very wet, sticky dough.
Sprinkle plenty of flour onto a work surface and your hands. Scrape dough from bowl onto work surface and knead, adding more flour as necessary to prevent sticking, until dough is smooth. (See video above for visual cues here and throughout the recipe.) Place dough in a clean bowl, cover with a clean kitchen towel, and let rest while you make the filling.
For the filling:
Place the pork in a medium mixing bowl. Remove white stems from cabbage leaves and finely shred the green leafy parts with a knife. Add shreds to mixing bowl. Add egg to one side of bowl and lightly beat with a fork. Add ginger, garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil, salt and scallions to bowl. Use your hands to combine the mixture thoroughly without compressing it.
To fill and shape the dumplings:
Pinch off dough by the tablespoon (approximately -- don't stress). Roll into a ball between your palms and place onto a floured work surface. Roll out with a floured rolling pin into a 3- to 4-inch circle. Place a tablespoon of filling into the center and fold dough into a semicircle around filling. Use your fingers to press the edges of the dough together and then to crimp the edges. (Again, see video. It's not hard at all, promise, but a little imagery goes a long way. ) This process takes a WHILE, and it's fun to have help.
To cook the dumplings:
Bring a large pot of well salted water to a boil. Add dumplings in batches of about 8 and boil on medium-high heat for four minutes. Meanwhile, set a large frying pan with two tablespoons of safflower oil over medium heat. After boiling, carefully shake or blot excess water from dumplings and add dumplings in batches to frying pan. Cook for a few minutes until undersides are browned, being careful for splatters. Blot excess oil from dumplings before serving with dipping sauce.
To make the dipping sauce:
Stir together tamari, rice vinegar and hot chili sesame oil in a small bowl.