Just another beautiful Sunday afternoon and we are sitting in the apartment with nothing planned… such a luxury to have some relaxing time like this after a busy week of work. We randomly watched a video clip my mother sent me, a video introducing traditional Chinese food and the making of some famous dishes. As we watch them make all the doughy delicacies with all different kinds of fillings, we started to crave something similar. We want to make some dough, too!! We didn’t even finish the clip before we decided to take the challenge and make some Chinese dumplings for dinner, from scratch!
I remember making dumplings with my aunties and grandma in Taiwan when I was still a little kid. The adults would prepare the meat filling and dough wrappers and I would help filling, pinching and, of course, eating! It was easy, fun, and satisfying!
Well, nobody is around to prepare the fillings and wrappers for me but I crave for that old experience, so I am stepping up to recreate this fun and delicious recipe. Base on some memories and some research, this is our Eat.F.G. recipe.
Chinese Pork Dumplings
Makes about 40 dumplings / prep: about an hour, cook time: 10 min
For the dumpling wrappers:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup cold water
- pinch of salt
For the filling:
- 1 lb ground pork (pork is what they use for traditional chinese dumplings, and we like to honor that!)
- 1/4 head (about 1 pound) of cabbage
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 green onions, minced (both white and green parts)
- 1 tb fresh ginger root, grated
- 2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
- 3 tb soy sauce
- 1 tb Chinese rice wine or sake
- 1 tb toasted sesame oil
- salt and pepper to taste
For the dipping sauce:
- 3 tb soy sauce
- 1 tsp white wine vinegar ( or Chinese black vinegar if you can find it)
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced (optional)
- 2 tsp hot chili oil (optional, but have I mentioned that we like it spicy?!)
To make the dumpling wrappers: put the flour in a mixing bowl, add 1/2 cup of water and a pinch of salt into the flour. Slowly mix it with your hands, add the remaining water if it gets too dry. Knead the mixture until it forms a soft dough, place the dough on a lightly floured counter and knead nut ill smooth. Set the dough on the side and let it stand for 10 minutes, (perfect time to prep the filling here). Roll the dough into a long baton-like roll and cut it into 40 small pieces. Use a rolling pin to roll each piece to a thin circle, about 3 to 4 inches in diameter.
To make the filling: finely chop the cabbage into very small pieces, sprinkle the 1 tsp salt and mix well to dehydrate the cabbage. Give it a few minutes and then squeeze out the excess water (it should look like the picture below). Combine the cabbage with ground pork, green onion and the rest of the seasoning and mix well.
To make the dumplings: get a small dish with water. Place about a tablespoonful of filling in the center of a dough circle. Dip your finger in the water and moist the edge of the dough, fold the circle in half, and use index finger and thumb to pinch the edges of the dough on one side of the dumpling into “pleats”, pressing each pleat against the flat side of the dough to seal the dumpling as you go. I usually start from the center to the corner and make about 3 pleats on each side, but any direction would work. Firmly pressed the pleaded side of the of the wrapper against the flat side and make sure the dumpling is completely sealed (we don’t want the dumpling to burst open or have any leakage during cooking). Line up the finished dumplings on a floured surface to prevent them from sticking together.
There are so many ways to cook the dumplings. Most of the time they are either steamed, boiled or pan fried. Pan fried dumplings are also known as pot stickers, it is definitely the most popular kind. Tonight, we are having dumplings, TWO ways!! For the first kind, we’ve decided to make some pot stickers, and for the second kind, instead of boiling the dumplings in plain water, we are making some Chinese Dumpling Soup as we like to take things to the next level!
To make the pot stickers, drizzle about 1 tb oil in a pan and heat it up. Place the desired amount of dumplings flat-side-down in the pan, turn the heat low and fry the dumplings for about a minute, or until golden brown. Add 1/2 a cup of hot water and cover, let it steam for about 6 minutes or until all water has evaporated. Remove the dumplings, now pot stickers, serve hot with dipping sauce!
I know it looks very complicated with the long lists of ingredients and instructions, but it really is not hard. The first few dumplings we made looked a bit funny, but they soon started to look better and almost professional as we got into the rhythm. I must say it is VERY rewarding when we finished and had a whole army of fresh dumplings lined up in front of us. All we needed to do was to decide which way to cook them so we could eat them all up. The dumplings store very well too if you’er not planning on eating all of them immediately. Just separate the dumplings with wax paper so they don’t stick together in the container and tuck it in the freezer. The dumplings should store up to a month or so.
That’s the project of our Sunday, and I’m pretty proud of our end product. And I am also very happy to announce that after all these years, the experience of making dumpling remains the same: it’s easy, fun and very satisfying!
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