Dumplings are a family favourite and one of the special food-related ways that I show my boys how much I love them. Even when the toddler is trying to climb my leg like a (very short and stumpy) tree, and my school boy is asking me about scientific concepts that make my brain fall to pieces, I can still fill and fold these within half an hour for dinner.
You get this style of dumpling in Shanghainese restaurants as well as your Cantonese style yum cha, and they are super easy to make. You could make your own wrappers too, but let’s face it that’s more of a weekend project.
If you want a really authentic sauce, get yourself some black vinegar and some soy and combine. This vinegar is dark, rich and potent and is traditionally eaten with this style of dumpling. Otherwise a little soy and some chilli sauce are just as good.
Pack of white, round dumpling wrappers, should be 50 in the pack
300g pork mince
2 cups very finely shredded white cabbage or Chinese cabbage (remove the tough ribs)
2 coin size pieces of ginger finely chopped
1 cup of finely sliced spring onions
Pinch of white pepper
1 ½ tablespoons light soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons water
- Combine all the ingredients except the wrappers in a large bowl and mix thoroughly with your hands to combine
- Fill a small bowl with a bit of warm water. This is to assemble the dumplings.
- If you have the space, lay out all your wrappers and put just less than a tablespoon of meat filling in the centre of each. Sometimes you end up with leftover mixture and sometimes you don’t. Even when I follow my own recipe, from day to day it turns out a little different.
- To fold the dumplings, dip a finger in the water and run it around half of the wrapper edge. As in, don’t run it around the full circle, only half or it will be too wet. Fold the dumpling in wrapper in half but don’t seal it yet. To seal the dumpling, you pleat one side and press it to the unpleated side behind it, causing the dumpling to curl into the crescent shape.
- Repeat folding and sealing with the rest of the wrappers and filling. Dumplings can be frozen at this point. Lay them out on a flat baking sheet and allow to freeze before putting them in zip lock bags. Frozen dumplings should be cooked from frozen and never defrosted. Use the same cooking method as below, just that they will need an extra minute or 2 to steam.
- Take a large deep pan (or pot) with a lid and place it on high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of neutral cooking oil. When hot, reduce the heat to medium and line the dumplings flat side down in the pan. You will probably only have room for 1/3 to ½ of the dumplings so cook them in batches.
- Allow the bottoms of the dumplings to brown for a couple of minutes and then add ¼ cup of water to the pot. It will immediately start to spit and steam so put the lid on. Allow the dumplings to steam for 3-4 minutes before removing the lid. Allow the water to evaporate and then let the dumpling bottoms re-fry for 1 minute until crisp.
- Remove dumplings from the pan and place on a plate. Repeat cooking process with the rest of the dumplings.
- Serve immediately.
Cooked dumplings will keep for up to 2 days in the fridge and make an easy handheld school lunch too. As stated above, uncooked dumplings can be frozen. Lay them out on a flat baking sheet and allow to freeze before putting them in zip lock bags. Frozen dumplings should be cooked from frozen and never defrosted. Use the same cooking method, just that they will need an extra minute or 2 to steam.