This traditional Chinese dumplings recipe makes the best homemade dumplings and is surprisingly easy, if a little time consuming.
I learned how to make these amazing Chinese pork dumplings while I was living in Hong Kong. A group of the Chinese moms at my kids' school kindly held a workshop one day to teach us their traditional jiaozi recipe and techniques.
Now I'm not going to lie... making homemade Chinese dumplings is time consuming. This is not a 20-minute meal. There is a lot of preparation involved.
BUT it is not difficult to make dumplings at home at all. And the reward of delicious fresh dumplings is oh so worth the time involved in making them.
And actually I find making Chinese dumplings surprisingly therapeutic. I enjoy the process of rolling out the dough and making up the little parcels.
My kids love getting involved with the dumpling making too, so it's a fun activity you can all do together if you have some time on your hands.
If you are really pushed for time, of course you could also skip over the Chinese dumpling dough recipe and buy store bought wrappers. However, I promise you that fresh homemade dumpling wrappers taste so much better!
Honestly, this is the best Chinese dumpling recipe and I cannot thank the moms from HKIS enough for sharing this with me. I hope you love these pork and cabbage dumplings as much as I do.
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Making the Chinese Dumpling Filling
The first thing to do when you make your own dumplings is to make the filling and set it aside to marinate.
To do this, mix all the ingredients together except the cabbage and set it aside for an hour or two. I usually use my hands to do this but you could also put it in a stand mixer if you prefer.
While the meat is marinating you can prepare the Chinese cabbage. Cut the cabbage across in thin slices, then chop the slices up into tiny pieces.
Next, put the cabbage in a bowl and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of salt and set aside for 30 minutes. Now squeeze out any excess water from the cabbage before you add it to the pork mixture.
Now mix the cabbage into the meat mixture, and your filling is ready to start your dumpling making.
How to Make Dumpling Dough
Flour and water are the only ingredients for this dumpling dough recipe! All you need to do is mix 3 cups of all purpose flour with 1 cup of room temperature water and mix it together to form a soft dough.
Next put the dough onto a floured surface and knead it for around 10 minutes until it is smooth and soft.
How to make Chinese Dumpling Wrappers
Once you have your Chinese dumpling dough, divide it into half and shape each half into a 12-inch long roll.
Next cut the roll into ½ inch pieces. Shape each piece into a ball and then press it flat on your surface with the heel of your hand.
Now it's time to roll out the dough to make the wrappers. Use your non-dominant hand to turn the dough while you use your dominant hand to roll it back and forth with the rolling pin. (Roll, turn, roll, turn)
This ensures the centre of the wrapper is slightly thicker than the edges. Don't worry too much about making perfect circles, you will be folding them up anyway.
How to make Chinese Dumplings
Now you have both the filling and the wrappers ready, it's time to make your dumplings.
Take a wrapper and place it in the palm of your hand. Next take a tablespoon of filling and place it in the middle of the wrapper.
You want your dumpling to be full, but not so full that it oozes out when you fold it. With a little bit of practice you will know what is the right amount.
Next, fold the wrapper over and pinch the edges together to seal it. Now place the dumpling on a tray with the pinched edges facing up and pinch a few pleats in the dumpling to create a pouch.
Remember, they don't have to look perfect! My kids make their own and I promise you they don't look perfect, but they still taste amazing!
How to cook Chinese dumplings
There are three common ways to cook Chinese dumplings: boiled, fried and steamed. Here I'm going to concentrate on boiled and fried.
Boiling is actually the most common method used by Chinese families at home. It is quick and easy and enables you to cook a lot of dumplings at once.
Boiled dumplings are actually my family's favorite too. My kids say they love the texture of the dumpling wrappers when they are boiled.
I also love fried pork dumplings. Also known as pot sticker dumplings or Chinese pot stickers, this is a popular way of cooking dumplings in North America. Because you add water to the pan and cook the dumplings with a lid on, they are actually steamed too - but with the yummy pan fried bottom to them.
Read on to learn how to cook homemade Asian dumplings using these two methods.
Pan Fried Dumplings
To make pan seared dumplings, heat ½ tablespoon of vegetable oil into a large frying pan with a lid.
Place the dumplings in the pan in a single layer, leaving a 1cm gap between them. Put the lid on the pan.
Cook the dumplings for 3 minutes over a medium heat. Then add ⅓ cup of water to the pan and replace the lid. This allows the dumplings to steam.
Continue cooking until the water has evaporated and the dumplings are golden brown on the bottom.
Repeat with the remaining dumplings.
Boiled Chinese Dumplings
Half fill a large saucepan with water. Bring the water to the boil, then add in as many dumplings as you can fit in a single layer, so this will depend on the size of your pan.
Use a slotted spoon to stir the dumplings, to ensure they don't stick to the bottom of the pan.
Add in a drop of vegetable oil to the water to help prevent the dumplings sticking together and put the lid on the pan.
As the water comes back to the boil and the dumplings start to float, add 1 cup water to the pot and replace the lid. Repeat this one more time. (If you are cooking dumplings from frozen, then repeat this two more times).
Remove the dumplings from the water with a slotted spoon and serve as soon as possible.
Repeat with the remaining dumplings.
Can you freeze dumplings?
Yes you can! This Chinese pork dumpling recipe makes a lot of dumplings, so it is ideal for freezing half for later.
To freeze dumplings, place them on a tray lined with parchment paper and place the tray in the freezer.
Once the dumplings are frozen, transfer to an airtight freezer bag. They will keep in the freezer for up to two months.
To cook them from frozen, just follow the same methods as above.
Chinese Dumpling Sauce
To enjoy these dumplings, I make up an easy dumpling sauce to dip them in.
To make a homemade dumpling sauce, just mix together the following ingredients:
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons Chinese vinegar (black vinegar)
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon chili sauce or chili oil
You could also add some shredded fresh ginger to the oil.
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Chinese Dumpling Wrappers
- 3 cups all purpose flour (plain flour)
- 1 cup room temperature water
Chinese Dumpling Filling
- 1 lb ground pork
- ½ cup green onion, finely chopped
- 1 tsp finely chopped ginger
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp salt
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 large egg
- 1 lb Napa (Chinese) cabbage
- 1 tsp salt extra
- Vegetable oil
To Make the Filling
- In a large bowl, mix the pork, green onion, ginger, sesame oil, salt, soy sauce, vegetable oil and egg. (I use my hands for this but you could also use a stand mixture if you prefer). Make sure it is well mixed. Set aside to marinate for 1-2 hours.
- Meanwhile, cut the cabbage across into thin strips. Now chop the strips into very small pieces.
- Place the cabbage in a bowl and sprinkle with the extra teaspoon of salt. Set aside for 30 minutes.
- Now squeeze out any excess water from the cabbage before you add it to the pork mixture.
- Mix the cabbage into the marinated pork.
To Make the Dough
- In a large bowl, mix the flour and water until a soft dough forms. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for around 10 minutes until the smooth.
- Divide the dough in half. Shape each half into a 12-inch long roll and cut the roll into ½ inch pieces.
- Take a piece of dough and roll it into a ball then press the ball flat with the heel of your hand.
- Now use your non-dominant hand to turn the dough as you roll it out with a rolling pin using your dominant hand. (Turn and roll, turn and roll) This will help make the centre of the wrapper thicker than the edge.
- Repeat with all the dumpling pieces until you have made all the wrappers.
To Make the Dumplings
- Take a dumpling wrapper and place it on the palm of your hand.
- Place a tablespoon of filling into the centre of the wrapper - you want it to be full but not so much that it oozes out.
- Fold the wrapper over and pinch the edges together.
- Place the dumpling flat on the table with the pinched edges facing up, and flatten the bottom slightly. Now pinch a few pleats into the dumpling to create a pouch.
To pan-fry Dumplings
- Heat ½ tablespoon vegetable oil in a large non-stick frying pan with a lid.
- Place dumplings in a single layer in the frying pan, leaving 1cm space between them.
- Cook with the lid on over a medium heat for 3 minutes.
- Add ⅓ cup water to the pan and replace the lid. Continue cooking until the water evaporates and the bottom of the dumplings are golden brown.
To Boil Dumplings
- Half fill a large saucepan with water and bring to the boil.
- Add 20-25 dumplings (depending on the size of your pan) to the water and stir them to ensure they don't stick to the bottom.
- Add 1 tbsp vegetable oil to the water to help prevent sticking and put the lid on the pan.
- As the dumplings start to float, add 1 cup of water to the pan and replace the lid. Repeat this one more time (two times if you are cooking the dumplings from frozen).
- Use a slotted spoon to remove the dumplings from the pan and transfer to a serving dish,
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 67Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 13mgSodium: 131mgCarbohydrates: 6gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 4g