Making dumplings at home means that the filling is juicier, the wrappers are starchier, and each one tastes fresher, crunchier (if frying), and more delicious. You can make a large batch using the recipe below which makes about 140 dumplings that you can freeze and use for meals or appetizers throughout the year. You could also divide the recipe and make a quarter which is about enough for one large meal.
When we lived in Colorado, our friend Ling shared this recipe with us. She and her family would set aside a block of time to make these dumplings together. Once the dumplings were all assembled they would divvy them up and they would each pack some away in their freezer to pull out later for a meal.
We tend to only make this once or twice a year, usually in January or February. It’s a nice indoor winter activity. We pack them away in quart size freezer bags of 10-12 each. Then we pull out one to two bags at a time and fry them up either on their own or served with some rice and vegetables. These are one of the staples that we have in our freezer that we can pull out in case we need a quick and easy meal. It’s reassuring to know that in case we don’t have a meal planned and things are getting late that we can pull these out and dinner is ready in about 15 minutes.
- This makes about 140 dumplings.
- We use Shanghai Dumpling wrappers, but you may also find Hong Kong Style Dumpling wrappers at an Asian grocery store. See the two pictures above with the different style wrappers. The Hong Kong Style wrappers are much much thinner. They have more of a yellow color, and have a really nice starchy texture. I prefer the Shanghai style (whiter in color and thicker) rather than Hong Kong style for these pork dumplings since they are heftier and hold up well. They are more manageable (less frustrating than the thin ones) when making a huge batch.
- I do, however, like using the Hong Kong style wrappers for making Vegetable Dumplings for a single meal, which is actually quicker to throw together than you would expect (30+ minutes for a meal).
- I have not mastered the art of sealing these dumplings, so I just fold them in half and press to seal to simplify the process for myself.
- You can find the dumpling wrappers in an Asian grocery store. I find ours in the freezer section. See the pictures above for details so you know what to look for.
Chinese Pork Dumplings
- 2 lbs ground pork
- 1 head of cabbage, diced
- 6 oz green onions, thinly slice (1 package at Trader Joe's)
- 5 pieces of ginger (about ¼ cup), peeled and grated
- 6 tbsp soy sauce
- 1½ tbsp salt
- ½ tbsp Chinese black pepper
- 2 tbsp sugar
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 140 Shanghai Style dumpling wrappers (3 packages: see note and picture)
- 1+ cups flour
- Combine the pork, cabbage, green onions, ginger, soy sauce, salt, black pepper, sugar, and vegetable oil in a large mixing bowl.
- To make the dumplings, place about 1 tbsp of the mixture in the center of a round dumpling wrapper. Lightly brush the outer edge of the wrapper with water. Pick up the wrapper and fold it in half around the filling. Press gently to seal.
- To Freeze: Lightly flour each dumpling and lay flat on a large baking tray. Place in the freezer for 1 hour. Remove and place the dumplings in freezer bags. Do not thaw before cooking.
- To Fry the Dumplings: Add a few tablespoons of vegetable oil or olive oil to a large sauté pan at medium heat. Working in batches, add the floured dumplings (either frozen or fresh) to the pan, being careful not to overcrowd the pan. Cook, turning as needed until golden brown and crispy on all sides, about 10-15 minutes. Cut into one to make sure it is fully cooked.
- To Boil the Dumplings: Bring a pot of water to a boil, add the dumplings one at a time and stir gently to prevent them from sticking to each other. When the pot returns to a boil add one cup of cold water and allow to return to a boil. Repeat. When the water comes to a boil for the third time, remove the dumplings and serve. Do not skip the step of adding the cold water and just boiling them because they will get gummy and not have the right texture.