How to Make Chinese Dumplings at Home
I recently wrote about a couple of cookbooks I borrowed from our local library. One of them was Susanna Foo’s Chinese Cuisine and last night we thought it would be a fun family project to try her Pork Dumplings with Soy-Ginger Sauce. And it turned out to be great fun.
One of the reasons we chose this recipe is because it looked easy enough for all of us to get involved in preparing and my youngest daughter loves dumplings. She lives on those Pot Stickers you can find in the frozen section at Costco. We thought this might be a nice change of pace and if she helped make them, she might even try eating some. We were right again.
This recipe should be listed under “Shortcut Meals” because we didn’t make the dumpling wrappers from scratch. Instead we purchased square wontons that my oldest daughter transformed into round wontons with a cookie cutter.
After transformation, the wrapper went to my youngest daughter in charge of filling the dumplings with the pork mixture. She stood there with her spoon and proudly added a dollop of ingredients to each one asking, “Daddy, is this the right amount?”
I then sealed them up and did my best to add a little pleat to the sides and turned them over to my wife who was in charge of boiling some and frying the rest. When done, I thought there would be no way we were going to eat all these dumplings. We went through two packages of wonton wrappers, but in the end there were only a few left for someone’s lunch the next day.
There was a ton of pork mixture left so we plan to buy more wrappers, set up the assembly line again and prepare a bunch more for freezing. It is a great family cooking experience and the dumplings are the best I’ve ever eaten”¦as good as Susanna Foo’s.
How to Cook Dumplings Like Suzanna Foo
I have posted how to boil fresh dumplings, frozen ones and how to pan-fry them on my web site. Click here to learn how to cook dumplings.
1 pound pork, coarsely ground
1 cup scallions, finely chopped
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon Asian sesame oil
1 tablespoon ginger root, peeled and grated
½ pound Chinese Napa cabbage, finely chopped
1 one-pound package round dumpling wrappers
How To Prepare At Home
Prep the Ingredients
You want the pork to be coarsely ground. You can buy ground pork at most supermarkets these days just like you can buy ground beef, but I suggest using a food processor and grinding it yourself.
Why? - You can pick what cut of meat you want to use as well as the size of the grind. The store bought prepackaged ground pork is ground too finely and will dry out.
Finely chop the scallions, peel and grate the ginger root and finely chop the cabbage.
Have the other ingredients ready including your dumpling wrappers and you are ready to go.
How to Make Pork Dumplings at Home
1) Combine the ground pork, scallions, soy sauce, sesame oil and ginger root in a large bowl and mix together well so all the ingredients will blend.
2) Add the cabbage and mix again. Susanna Foo says don't try mixing all the ingredients together at one time or the filling will "not taste right".
3) Now lay a bunch of the wrappers on a clean dry surface, plate, or cutting board with room to work. The cookbook says to add a "scant tablespoon" of pork mixture to the center of each wonton but depending on the size of the wrappers, that might be too much or too little. We used 3-inch diameter wrappers and a little less than a tablespoon worked just fine.
4) Have a glass of water handy to dip your finger in so you can moisten the edges of the wrapper. This will help the wrapper stay closed. Also, have a baking sheet lined with wax paper standing by to store the dumplings.
5) Fold the wrapper in half to form a half-moon shape and then pinch the center together. "Stand the dumpling up on its base and pleat one of the sides of the half-moon twice, halfway between the other edge and the center."
6) Repeat the pleats on the other side and leave the dumpling standing up. Place it on the baking sheet standing up being careful not to let the dumplings touch or they will stick together.
Repeat with the rest of the wrappers and pork filling.
These dumplings can be cooked right away or frozen for up to 3 months. You can boil or pan-fry them. We cooked them both ways but the pan-fried ones definitely had more flavor.
We served these dumplings with Susanna Foo's recipe for Soy-Ginger Sauce and so will you.
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