Authentic Chinese Dumplings Step by Step Process
Authentic Chinese dumplings are a big hit around the world, not only in Asia. To celebrate the Chinese New Year we have decided to share an authentic Chinese dish that is enjoyed all around the world. Each region in China makes dumpling in different styles and below are two methods: boiling or fried dumplings.
Step 1: Make Dumpling Dough
2 cups(about 10 oz) unbleached all purpose flour (plus extra for flouring kneading surface)
3/4 cup of water at room temperature
if it is your first time making dumplings from scratch, increase the dough amount by at least 30%, that will give you room to practice and reduce the pressure to make perfectly thin wrappers.
Step 2: Prepare the fillings
While the dough rests, we start by finely chop 6 sprigs of scallions and grate about 2 tablespoons of ginger since these ingredients will be shared by both types of fillings.
Step 3: Chicken and Napa (Chinese) Cabbage Filling
For the delicious chicken and Napa cabbage filling (recipe makes about 30 dumplings)
- 2/3 lb ground chicken, or any type of ground meat you like
- 5 cups of loosely packed finely chopped Napa cabbage, about 1.5 lb ( I like more veggie in dumplings, some recipes only use 2-3 cups, experiment and see what you prefer. The volume will shrink by 50% after you salt it.)
- 2 tablespoons light soy sauce – Pearl River Bridge Light Soy Sauce is one of the most delicious and it’s non-GMO. It’s sold in bottles at some Wholefoods, or in bigger containers at Asian markets. Be careful not to get the dark soy sauce, as it has a strong medicinal taste.
- 1/4 cup water or stock, which makes the filling extra juicy
- 1 tablespoon Chinese rice cooking wine( also called Shaoxing cooking wine, not the sweet Mirin!) or dry sherry. Find the amber colored kind instead of the clear white kind.
- 2 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt (to salt the cabbage)
- 1 tablespoon grated ginger, and 3 chopped scallions, from step
Clean the Napa cabbage leaves and finely chop them. Food processor can be used, but for leafy greens hand chopped tastes much better- it retains the crunchy texture, greens gets mushy in a food processor.
Toss the chopped cabbage in a bowl with 1/2 teaspoon salt, set aside for 15 minutes. Water will start pooling at the bottom of the bowl. Squeeze out as much water as you can, and the cabbage will be reduced to half the volume from before.
Next add soy sauce, cooking wine and sesame oil to the ground chicken, keep stirring in one direction as you add water, ginger and scallion. The filling should be shiny, fragrant, and it should hold together. Next add the napa cabbage and stir until everything is combined.
Step 4: Roll Out the Wrapper
Pre-made wrappers can be used to save time. When you want to indulge yourself and loved ones, hand made fresh wrappers are worth a try.
Step 5: Filling and Shaping Dumplings
Although this entire step is on shaping dumplings, the truth is, dumplings can be clumsy looking and still taste divine. So just have fun !
This graceful classic shape is well loved for its resemblance to fat little golden treasures of China. Some books call it ‘Pleated Crescent’, but I like the name my dear friend Elaine uses – ‘ little couch’.
Step 6: Cook the Dumplings
Boiled dumplings taste more refreshing, and fried ones taste richer.
To fry the dumplings, place a non stick skillet over medium high heat, add 2 tablespoons of oil and swirl. Place the dumplings in, try not to have them touching each other. after 1 or 2 minutes, you will hear a sizzle sound starting to happen, add 1/2 cup to 2/3 cup of water and cover the lid. Lower the heat to medium and let the dumplings steam for about 5 minutes. By now the water will have evaporated. Remove the lid, check if the bottom of the dumplings have formed a nice golden crust. If not, let them cook uncovered a little longer.
To boil the dumplings, bring a big pot of water – about 3 quarts, to a rapid boil, drop the dumpling gently into the pot, keep the high heat, stir gently so the dumpling don’t stick to the pot, and wait till the water comes back to a boil. Now pour a cup of cold water (0.5 cup if you are using a smaller pot with less water) into the pot and let it come back to boil again. This gives more time for the filling to steam inside, while not over cooking the wrapper. Repeat this step one more time, and when the dumplings float to the surface, and 5 to 7 minutes have passed, scoop them out onto a strainer and transfer to a plate.
Authentic Chinese dumplings are fun and satisfying, and they bring so much joy and laughter to friends and family gatherings. You may add any filling of your choice when you try this recipe at home.