A few weeks ago, I got a request from Cindy for a dumpling party at my place. I host one every once in a while and it’s always a hit.. This time was even better, especially since I had willing volunteers who happily sat and did all the manual labor.. I mean they made beautiful dumplings all evening long. They’re pretty easy to make as the hardest part is getting the filling right and the rest is just folding the dumplings. The best part is that if you make enough, you have leftovers for the rest of the week.
We started using store bought wrappers, but ended up having an excess of filling, so we improvised and made our own wrappers. In case you want the complete homemade experience, I’ve included the wrapper recipe here as well. We usually don’t follow a recipe, so I’ve included the recipe below from one of our all time favorite Chinese recipe books, The Key to Chinese Cooking by Irene Kuo.
If you are lucky enough, or persistent enough, you may be able to join me one day at a dumpling party!
Note: This recipe makes ~28 small dumplings. Usually for every lb of meat, I’ll buy 2 packages of wrappers. Usually, I will use 2-3 lbs of meat.
1/2 lb ground pork
1.5 tablespoon soy sauce (if you use reg, you can skip the salt below)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon sugar
pinch of black pepper
2 quarter-sized slices peeled ginger, minced (finely chopped)
1/2 cup chopped chives
1/2 cup finely chopped napa cabbage
1 tablespoon cornstarch dissolved in 1/4 cup cooking wine
1 tablespoon sesame oil
Making the filling
1. Using a large mixing bowl, add the meat, soysauce, 1/2 teaspoon salt, sugar, pinch of black pepper, ginger, cornstarch, cooking wine, and sesame oil. Mix thoroughly.
2. In a separate bowl, rinse and drain the napa cabbage. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt, toss, and let sit for 5 minutes. Squeeze lightly to get rid of excess moisture and add to the meat. Add the chives to the meat.
3. Thoroughly mix the meat with the cabbage and chives.
Making the potstickers
1. Dust your work surface with flour and fill a small bowl with water.
2. As demonstrated by Cindy above, take a wrapper and spoon ~ 1 tablespoon of filling onto the wrapper. Dip your finger into the water bowl and circle the edges of the wrapper. Fold the wrapper in half and pinch the middle with your fingers. Then start pinching small overlapping pleats on each half starting from the middle and working your way to the edge. Make sure the dumpling is sealed.
3. As you finish the dumplings, you can put them on a lightly floured cookie sheet and put them in the freezer. Once they’ve been in there for ~10 minutes they can be stored in bags for later use.
4. To cook the potstickers, add vegetable oil to a non stick skillet (with a lid) on medium-high heat. Then place the potstickers (fresh or frozen) into the pan, leaving room in between. Let cook for ~2-3 minutes, until the bottom is browned. Then add ~ 1/4 cup hot water into the skillet and quickly cover with the lid. This will allow the dumpling filling to cook. After the water has evaporated, turn the heat down and cook for another 3-4 minutes until the dough and filling are cooked. Serve with Tao’s Dipping Sauce Recipe (see below) and enjoy!
Tao’s Dipping Sauce
2 parts rice wine
1 part soy sauce
dash of sesame oil
dash of sriracha sauce
finely chopped ginger