Feature Recipe | Homemade Dumplings
Thursday Jan 27th, 2022
Next week is the Lunar New Year, marking the start of the Year of the Tiger. Dumplings are usually enjoyed as part of the celebration, as they represent fortune and prosperity in the New Year. Whether you call them dumplings, wontons, potstickers or gyoza, many cultures have their own versions of dumplings and they all differ by the type of filing, type of wrapper, and method of cooking. Although they may seem complicated, I am here to show you how simple they are to make and how versatile they are to suit your tastes. You can literally throw all of the ingredients into a food processor, scoop the filling into the wrapper and seal. To elevate your dumpling game, you can substitute filling ingredients, make your own wrappers, try different wrapping styles, and add your own dipping sauces. Prepping, wrapping and eating dumplings are typically a multi-generational family activity that are part of many family traditions in many parts of the world, especially around this time of year.
1 lb ground pork
1 lb raw shrimp, peeled, deveined, finely chopped
3-4 cups of bok choy, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp ginger, minced
1 tbsp Shaoxing wine (optional)
1 tbsp Soy sauce
1 tsp Sesame oil
2 tsp Sugar
1 tsp Salt
½ tsp White pepper
1 package of pre-made wrappers
- Wash well and stir fry bok choy in pan with your choice of oil and season with salt until softened, about 8-10 mins. Using a cheesecloth or strainer, squeeze out as much of the liquid as possible. And then squeeze some more. As dry as you can! Finely chop.
- Add all ingredients together and mix well (or you could skip the chopping in the previous step as well as the prep for shrimp and put all ingredients into a food processor). Some recipes say to mix for 10 mins, some say to mix with your hands, some say to use a wooden utensil, some say to keep going until your arm falls off! Either way, mix or process until you have a paste-like consistency…..a little chunky is fine too, but everything must be well combined.
- Add the filling into the centre of the wrapper (1 tbsp if you are using square wrappers and a generous tsp if you are using round wrappers). Moisten the edges of the wrapper with water and fold together, pushing the filling towards the centre and pressing all of the air out. Seal using whatever style you want (lots of great YouTube videos with tutorials on many different styles!).
- To cook, bring a pot of water to boil and add dumplings (do not overcrowd) until the dumplings float to the surface. Once they’ve come up to the top, cook for another 2 minutes and then drain or remove from pot. To fry, place the raw dumpling in a heated pan with oil at medium to medium-high heat. Fry until the bottom is crispy and golden. Add 1 cup of water and cover with a lid. Cook until the water has evaporated and the bottoms are crispy again.
- You can substitute the meat for ground chicken, all shrimp, all pork, or tofu.
- You can omit the bok choy, substitute for another leafy Asian vegetable, or use napa cabbage (add 1 tbsp of salt to 1 lb of shredded cabbage and let it sit for 15 mins and then squeeze out the water. No need to pre-cook).
- When using the wrappers, they can dry out so be sure to keep them sealed until they are needed or underneath a damp cloth.
- These can be frozen in a single layer (try to ensure they are not touching each other or they will freeze together) and cooked straight from frozen at a later date.
- You can prepare the filling in advance to reduce the workload from making the filling and wrapping the dumplings in the same session.
Happy Lunar New Year!