As a child I remember going to my maternal grandmother’s house on Sundays to wrap Chinese dumplings. As southern Chinese people, we don’t usually eat a lot of dumplings and are not very skillful in making the dough from scratch. So I can’t quite understand why we make dumplings on a fairly regular basis. My mother says it’s because my maternal grandfather’s friend (who we call great uncle) is an expert dumpling maker who used to own a dumpling shop. What a treat for me as a child! To witness my great uncle transforming flour and water into dough and then into dumpling wrappers was like magic.
Northern Chinese are known for their expertise in dumpling making. As southerners, we are not, hence we recruit other family members for the task to make the process go faster. Plus, it’s a great social event and gives us a chance to talk and bond. It’s like spending quality time and making something delicious to eat at once—a two for one deal!
While I was making these dumplings, my boys were eager to help. (I think they just wanted to play with the dough 😉 .) I told them they could help next time. My mother and I were making very “slow progress”, as quoted by my second son, and any interference would make the process even slower. We are not skillful dumpling makers but I must say I am looking forward to making this Memorable Dish again soon. The more I make it, the better I will become and in no time I will be as fast as the dumpling makers I see at the Chinese dumpling shops! (Yeah right! But I can’t wait to make it again soon. I’ll see how long the boys will last and see if they will actually finish making the dumplings from start to finish 🙂 .)
- Dumpling Dough
- 2 cups All Purpose Flour
- 1 cup Boiling Water
- 2 cups Napa Cabbage, julienne
- 3 tsp Salt (2 tsp for cabbage and 1 for pork)
- 1 pound Lean Ground Pork
- 1/4 cup Green Onions, thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp grated Ginger
- 1 tbsp minced Garlic
- 1 tbsp Chinese Cooking Wine
- 1 tsp Cornstarch
- 1 tsp Sesame Oil
- 1/8 tsp White Pepper
- Dipping Sauce
- 2 tbsp Soy Sauce
- 2 tbsp Vinegar
- 1 tsp Sesame Oil
- Water for boiling dumplings
- 1 1/2 tbsp Vegetable Oil
- In a medium bowl, mix 2 teaspoons of salt into the napa cabbage. Set aside for 5 minutes and squeeze out the excess moisture with a paper towel.
- In a large bowl, mix the napa cabbage, pork, green onions, ginger, garlic, wine, cornstarch, sesame oil, white pepper and the remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, mix the flour and 1 cup of boiling water together. Mix until a soft dough forms. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth, about 5 minutes.
- Divide the dough in half and shape each into a roll approximately 12 inches long. Cut each roll into half inch slices.
- Roll 1 slice of dough into a 3-inch circle. The dough shouldn’t be too thin nor too thick.
- Place 1 tablespoon of pork mixture in the center of the circle.
- Lift up the edges of the circle and pinch into pleats to create a pouch. Pinch the top together. Repeat with the remaining slices of dough and filling.
- Heat a large pot with water. Once the water is boiled, put approximately 12 dumplings at a time to boil.
- Once the dumplings float to the top, boil for another 2 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- Heat a nonstick wok or skillet until very hot. Add 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil
- Place 12 dumplings in a single layer in the wok and fry 1-2 minutes, or until the bottoms are golden brown.
- For the dipping sauce, mix the soy sauce, vinegar and 1 teaspoon of sesame oil in a small bowl. Serve with the dumplings.
Note #1: You can make and store extra dumplings by freezing them on a tray lined with parchment paper. Put them into bags after they’re frozen. You don’t need to defrost them when boiling. Just boil them a little longer since they are frozen.
Note #2: If you cannot enclose the dumplings by creating pleats mentioned above, just pinch the dumplings tightly closed so the filling doesn’t leak out.