Chinese dumplings

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Disappearing dumplings

For our May 2016 program, Gui-Lan and her daughter-in-law came to show us how to make dumplings.

Dumpling dough

6 cups all purpose flour

In a big mixing bowl, slowly add 2 cups of cold water (room temperature) in the center and stir clockwise (or counterclockwise, choose one and keep that direction) and knead the dough until the bowl is clean. The water amount is approximate because it will vary depending on the weather and humidity. As you’re kneading the dough, add little bits of water as needed to incorporate any remaining dry flour. If it’s too dry or wet, the bowl will still have bits of dough. Knead until the bowl is clean–that’s when the dough is ready to rest. Cover the dough with a damp cloth and let it rest for 1-2 hours.

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See how the sides of the bowl are clean? The dough is ready to rest!

While the dough is resting, prepare the filling.

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Pork dumpling filling
(with cabbage or Chinese chives)

5 lbs. ground pork
2 Tbsp. minced ginger
8 cloves garlic, minced
8 stalks green onion, chopped fine
3-5 lbs. Chinese (napa) cabbage (white part only)*
1 bunch Chinese chives, chopped
1/2 c. soy sauce
1/3 c. sesame oil
1/2 tsp. white pepper
2 eggs, beaten

In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients and stir in the same circular direction until well mixed.

*If using napa cabbage, prep it using one of the following methods:

  1. Finely chop cabbage. Mix 1/2 tsp. salt into chopped cabbage, let rest until wilted, and squeeze the water out.
  2. Dip cabbage leaves in boiling water for 2-3 mins. Chop the cabbage and squeeze the water out.
Pork and chive filling

Pork and chive filling

After resting for 1-2 hours, the dumpling dough looks like this. There are no dry spots and it’s dense and heavy like clay. To test the dough for readiness, remove a small piece, and stretch it. If it breaks easily (like Play-doh), it’s not ready. When the texture is elastic and soft, it’s ready to use.

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Roll the dough into 1″ diameter log and cut in into 1″ pieces. Roll the pieces into small circles with a wooden rolling pin to prevent sticking.


Rotate the circular piece of dough as you thin out the edges. The edges of the dough should be thinner than the middle. Place 1 heaping tsp. of pork filling onto each skin, fold and close the edge (crescent fold). Set dumplings aside on a lightly floured surface until ready to cook.


Set dumplings aside on a lightly floured surface until ready to cook.

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To cook the dumplings, boil a big pot of water. Drop 20-30 dumplings into the boiling water. When the dumplings float to the top and the water boils again, add a cup of cold water to the pot and bring it to a second boil. Add another cup of cold water to the pot and bring it to a boil a 3rd time. When it boils the 3rd time, use a slotted spoon or spider strainer to remove the dumplings from the water. The 3x boiling action ensures the filling is cooked thoroughly and creates the chewy skin.

Keep a pot of cold water nearby for the thrice boiling action

Keep a pot of cold water nearby for the thrice boiling action

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And last but not least, serve the dumplings with various accompaniments and condiments such as slivered ginger root, chili oil, chili sauce, and/or a dipping sauce.

Dippin0515161351g sauce

1/4 c. soy sauce
1/4 c. rice vinegar
1 Tbsp. sugar
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. chopped green onion and cilantro
1 1/2 tsp. minced ginger
1 Tbsp. sesame oil
Chili sauce (optional)

Mix all ingredients together and serve!


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