Eating Chinese dumplings is a delicious experience. The juice flowing from the filling immediately flows into every corner of your mouth, awakening all your taste buds and sending a euphoric feeling through your senses.
It’s pure love of food, and you know that one bowl of these tender dumplings will never be enough!
The preparation of Chinese dumplings is a custom during the New Year in North China. This is the time when all family members are reunited, no matter how far they have come. Each member gathers in the kitchen on New Year’s Eve and takes on the roles grandparents assigned him from childhood: preparing the stuffing, wrapping and shaping the dumplings.
This ritual of making dumplings is a family affair. It is the moment when a young man tells stories of his childhood and of his encounters in a foreign land. Older people will repeat their old advice to their adult children as if they were still three-year-olds in spirit.
What is in this section?
In this article, I explain how to make Chinese dumplings from scratch. I’m going to make this as easy as possible, assuming you make a batch of homemade dumplings. Of course, involve parents, siblings, and children to make a great party, as we did at our New Year’s Eve gathering.
You will read
- Two classic recipes for Chinese dumpling filling, one with pork and Chinese cabbage (Napa cabbage) and the other with onions.
- How to make dumpling wraps. (You can use purchased products to save time).
- That’s a stupid way to wrap dumplings.
- Two ways to prepare the quenelles.
- Here’s how to make the sauce.
Let’s talk about the details.
1. How to make a classic dumpling filling
Pouring the dumplings is easy. Here are the steps:
- Meat (chicken, pork or beef).
- Cut the vegetables (onion, cabbage or shallots).
- Mix the meat, vegetables and spices.
- Mix the filler by swirling it several times in the bowl.
- Let the oven dish rest in the refrigerator.
Pork is the most commonly used meat for the production of Chinese dumplings, followed by chicken and beef. If you don’t eat pork, any pork-based stuffing can be substituted for chicken in a pork-free recipe.
How to make a juicy filling?
Here are some tips for you:
- If you use pork or beef, choose meat that has at least 20% fat.
- If using chicken, increase the fat content by adding 1 to 2 tablespoons of chicken fat per 250g of chicken to the filling.
- Add water to the filling. You may be surprised to learn that ground beef can absorb five to six tablespoons of water per 250 grams if you dump the meat into the bowl a few times.
This pitching process is called Da Xian (打馅) in Chinese, which means whipping the filling. By whisking the meat mixture against the bowl, you can break up the egg whites and rearrange them to achieve an elastic texture. It also helps to absorb more moisture so it becomes juicier. A well pounded meat should end up as an elastic and sticky mass. This also causes the meat to partially disintegrate, giving a melt-in-your-mouth patty feeling.
Is there a special treatment for vegetables?
If you use legumes like shallots and chives, just chop them coarsely. However, there is a unique process when using kale, which contains a lot of water. Here’s how:
- Roughly chop the leaves of the cabbage.
- Chop the stem, as it is heavier.
- Add two teaspoons of salt to 250 g of grated cabbage and mix well.
- Set aside for 15 minutes. By osmosis, the salt will draw the water out of the coal. (Watch the video in this article – lots of water!).
- Wring out the cabbage to remove the water before mixing it into the mince. Otherwise it will be too wet to form a good filling.
- Don’t forget to adjust the salt content of the filling!
I use the pork-onion stuffing in the recipe below and have added an alternative with cabbage and shallots in the recipe notes. (I know, Chinese chives are not necessarily available everywhere).
2. How to make a gnocchi wrap
The production of dumpling casings is simple, it only requires flour and water.
But the process is cumbersome, which is why many people prefer store-bought pellet packs.
The choice is yours. But even if you decide to use ready-made grit packs, it’s worth doing at least once. You will find that there are significant differences. Homemade wraps are softer and stickier. It should be used immediately after being rolled out into a thin sheet of dough, as it tends to dry out. The dough is stickier and seals well when you pinch and fold the balls.
Commercial products contain cornstarch to prevent them from sticking together. Therefore, the device should be moistened with a little water to make it sticky. Otherwise, it will not close and open properly during cooking.
You can see how to make dumpling casings here:
a. Kneading dough
- Accurately measure the amount of all-purpose flour and hot water. For 100 g of flour, I use 50 to 53 ml of water. It is extremely important not to get it too wet, or the skin of the dumplings will be too soft to use for the wrap.
- Mix the water and flour in a large bowl until they begin to clump together.
- Transfer the loose dough to a work surface. Knead the dough until it is smooth and shiny. Kneading will take some time, usually seven to ten minutes. You can use an electric mixer with a dough hook to do the hand work. Stop as soon as it is smooth and shiny.
- Cover the dough and let it rest for at least two hours.
b. Divide the dough into small portions
- After two hours, place the dough back on a work surface.
- The dough should already have softened and can be stretched without breaking. If not, knead it for a few minutes, cover and let it rest for half an hour.
- Roll out the dough in the shape of a rolling pin. Divide it into three parts. Work with one section at a time and cover the rest with a catch basin.
- Roll out each piece and divide it into ten equal pieces. Each serving should weigh between 12 and 14 grams. Sprinkle the dough with flour so it doesn’t stick to the work surface.
v. Roll out the dough into a thin circle
There is no set way to roll out the dough. The goal is to roll it into a perfect circle for the quenelles. You can watch me do it in the video for more details. In short, that’s it:
- Sprinkle the surface of the dough firmly so that it can rotate freely when rolled out.
- Roll it into a ball and then flatten it with the palm of your hand into a disk.
- Roll out the dough with a rolling pin on one side of the disk. Turn the dough a little after each stroke. Eventually the dough becomes a thin round piece when I make several small, light strokes parallel to the circumference, with a slight twist in between.
- Roll out the dough into a circle of about 6 cm. (See video at 7:10 minutes).
3. How the package is to be packed
The biggest problem in making Chinese dumplings is how to package them properly so they look good. Many of us, including myself, are not packaging experts.
It’s understandable, because we don’t do it often and we clearly don’t have the skills of a landfill salesman to make a living.
After trying different methods, I found an easy way to pack it with minimal requirements. If I can do it with my clumsy skills, so can you. Here’s how:
- Sprinkle the flour on the work surface.
- Place a piece of dumpling paper on top.
- Place a tablespoon of the filling in the center of the papillote. Make sure the peripheral parts of the envelope are free of filling material.
- Fold the envelope in half, hold the two opposite sides and press them together at the meeting point.
- When you attach the center point, press the edges to make a good seal.
- If you know how to do this, you can try a simple pleading method as shown in the video. Posted from 8:03 to 9:43 minutes.
- Because I visually divide the dough into individual portions, they are not exactly the same size. The amount of filling can vary, but should be between 12 and 15 g (about an ounce).
- If you use freshly made dumpling paper, it should seal easily as it is quite sticky. However, starch is added to purchased packages to prevent them from sticking together in the package. Therefore, apply a small amount of water to the edges before you pack the filling to make it sticky.
4. How to make Chinese dumplings
There are two ways to prepare Chinese dumplings: boiling or deep-frying. This meatball recipe is not suitable for steaming. If you’re looking for steamed dumplings, check out my crab dumpling recipe here.
a. Boiled dumplings (水饺)
I prefer cooked dumplings because it is the easiest way to prepare them and the texture is soft and tender.
- Bring the pot of water to a boil.
- Place the dumplings in the water one at a time so they don’t stick together. It is important not to overcook the dumplings so they have enough room to move around.
- Press lightly on the dumplings from time to time.
- After three to four minutes, the pellets begin to float to the surface. Each dumpling will look softer than before. At this point, the meatballs are cooked through.
- Immediately place the dumplings in a bowl to prevent overcooking, sticking or collapsing.
b. Dumplings with pan (casserole dish, 锅贴)
This method is similar to the preparation of Japanese gyoza. It is baked on the bottom, which is why it is called a pan. They are crunchier and softer than cooked dumplings.
- Put a little oil in the pan.
- Arrange the meatballs in the pan.
- Fill the pan with enough water to cover half the dumplings.
- Cover the pan with a lid and cook over medium heat. The steam in the pan begins to cook the meatballs.
- Remove the lid when most of the water has evaporated after a few minutes.
- The oil in the pan will begin to brown the bottom of each dumpling. Do not turn them over, as they should only be baked on the bottom.
- When the bottom is colored, remove the stickers and serve.
Prepare meatballs immediately or freeze
Freshly made Chinese dumplings should be cooked as quickly as possible, preferably within half an hour. The moisture from the filling is slowly released and seeps into the dough, causing it to break apart during baking.
If you don’t cook them right away, place the dumplings in a single layer of paper and store them in the freezer. If they are frozen, put them in a container, as they will no longer be sticky.
You can cook the frozen dumplings directly without thawing them.
5. how to prepare the meatball sauce
Chinese dumplings are usually served with a type of black vinegar made from chinkiang. Here are three easy ways to make the sauce with a few simple vinegar ingredients.
- Add finely chopped ginger to the vinegar.
- Mix a tablespoon of vinegar, a teaspoon of light soy sauce and half a teaspoon of sesame oil to make the sauce.
- For a spicier version, mix a tablespoon of vinegar with a quarter teaspoon of chili from Chechuan oil.
- 250 g (2.8 cups) all-purpose flour
- 140 ml (0,6 cup) hot water
Stuffing (pork and chives) (B)
- Mix A in a bowl, transfer to a table and knead for 10 minutes or until surface is shiny and smooth. Cover and set aside for 2 hours.
- Roll out the dough. Divide it into three equal portions, then divide each portion into ten smaller portions.
- Roll each portion into a ball, then flatten it into a disk.
- Roll each disk into a thin circle.
- Version 1; Add finely chopped ginger to vinegar.
- Version 2 : Mix a tablespoon of vinegar, a teaspoon of light soy sauce and half a teaspoon of sesame oil.
- Version 3 : Mix a tablespoon of vinegar with a quarter teaspoon of Szechuan pepper oil.
Manufacture of cooked dumplings
- Place the dumplings one by one in boiling water over medium heat. Stir from time to time.
- After three or four minutes, the pellets start to float to the surface. Immediately put the meatballs in a bowl and serve.
- Put a little oil in the pan.
- Put the meatballs in the pan.
- Fill the pan with so much water that the dumplings are half covered.
- Cover the pan with the lid and cook over medium heat.
- Remove the lid when most of the water has evaporated after a few minutes.
- The oil in the pan begins to fry the bottom of each dumpling.
- When the bottom is colored, remove and serve.
Cabbage and onion stuffing:
200 g Chinese cabbage, 2 teaspoons salt, 250 g pork, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, 1 teaspoon light soy sauce, 1 A9 1 teaspoon Shaoxing wine, 1/2 teaspoon. pepper, 2 teaspoons oyster sauce, 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic, 1/2 teaspoon minced ginger, 30 teaspoons minced shallots, 1 teaspoon oil
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The amount of the deposit :
Calories : 54Total fat: 1gSaturated fat: 0gOverfat: 0gSaturated fat: 1gCholesterol: 7mgSodium: 49mgCarbons: 7gFiber: 0gSugar: 0g Protein: 3g
This data was reported and calculated by Nutricix as of 18/2021.
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