Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Chinese New Year Dumplings!

Happy Chinese New Year! CNY is unusually early this year so I wasn't even aware that it was coming up. But never mind that, let's do some dumpling talk. I've had tons and tons of different kinds of dumplings growing up: fish, pork, beef, chicken. There are a billion occasions for eating them. Chinese new year is one, and the other is when someone is about to go on a trip, the family makes "kick-you-out" dumplings the night before.

Although I have participated in the assembling part of the process, I never paid attention to what goes into the actual filling. To make sure I get it right, I called my mommy for her recipe.

My mom said her dough ratio is 2 parts flour and 1 part warm water and it works every time. Somehow it didn't work for me. I started with 2 cups of flour and 3/4 cup of water, but the dough was so sticky that I must have added another 1/2 cup of flour to pull it together. So I'm gonna say my ratio is about 3:1.

Once the dough comes together, knead it for 5 minutes then wrap it in plastic wrap until needed.

4 cups very finely chopped napa cabbage
1 tbsp of oil
1 lb ground pork
2 tbsp soy sauce
1.5 tsp salt
1 pinch sugar
1.5 tsp finely chopped ginger
1 tsp pepper
3 sprigs of green onions finely chopped
1 cup of diced raw shrimp
1 tbsp corn starch

 First, chop up the napa cabbage really well. Take portions of it and squeeze out the water so that the filling doesn't become too watery later. It's difficult to extract the water without salting it first, but we don't want any extra salt in the filling. Pour the oil over the cabbage and mix it well. The oil will act as a barrier against any water that wants to sneak out once the cabbage is mixed with the pork.

Put the pork, onion, ginger, soy sauce, and salt in a large bowl and mix well.

Add the shrimp and corn starch then mix again.

Once both parts of the filling are ready, move onto the dough. Divide the dough into thirds, take a third and cover up the rest. Roll it into a log and cut it into small, equal pieces.

Then take a rolling pin and roll it out to a thin wrapper. As you can see, I don't even have a proper rolling pin so I used a PVC pipe instead. Roll over one edge of the dough and rotate the dough counter clockwise with your other hand. Now a different edge should be facing you. Repeat the rolling and rotating until the dough is than 1/16 inch thick.

Once you have a few of the wrappers rolled out, combine the cabbage and the pork mixture. To assemble, take a heaping tsp of filling and place it in the center of the wrapper. Take 2 opposing sides of the wrapper and pinch it together in the middle. Then pinch the 2 sides close.

Let it cook in boiling water for 3-4 minutes until it floats to the top. Scoop it into a frying pan with oil and fry it on medium until the bottom is golden brown.

My mom loves to serve these with malted vinegar, which is the traditional Chinese way of serving dumplings. I don't remember liking it that way ever, instead I eat mine with soy sauce and hot sauce.


  1. I'm going to have to try your method of dumplings. Every recipe I've seen has you salting the cabbage first and then squeezing out the extra liquid. Hopefully your method will give you a softer, more luscious mouth feel in the cooked dumpling that the other recipes I have tried. Why do you add salt at all to the recipe? Doesn't the soy sauce give you all the salt you need?

    1. I always add in a combination of salt and soy sauce because salt always seem to enhance the flavour in a way that soy sauce cannot. Try the cabbage this way and let me know what you think! It's the way my mom has been doing it for years :)And always combine the cabbage with the pork at the last possible second