How To Make Dumplings – The Traditional & Authentic Way

by Adam
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Creating Chinese dumplings from scratch is a delightful and entertaining experience! Embark on this journey to discover the secrets of the dough, fillings, folding techniques, cooking methods, dipping sauces, and much more. Immerse yourself in a tutorial video that comes along with it. Chinese dumplings (Jiaozi, 饺子) are pockets of pure bliss made with simple, unleavened dough and savory fillings comprising a medley of minced ingredients such as meat, egg, tofu, or vegetables. These delightful parcels can be cooked by boiling, pan-frying, or steaming. Cherished as a culinary treasure and revered as a symbol of togetherness, Chinese dumplings are the perfect choice for preparing a feast with your loved ones. This comprehensive guide aims to equip you with all the knowledge necessary to achieve a successful outcome. Uncooked dumplings on a tray Navigate to: To make Chinese dumpling dough, you only need two basic ingredients: flour and water. Simple, isn’t it? In China, making dumpling wrappers from scratch is the customary practice. If you’ve never experimented with homemade wrappers, I encourage you to follow my instructions and give it a shot. It’s highly likely that you’ll never again rely on store-bought ones. In this article, I will present the versatile dumpling casing, which serves all purposes. For a more detailed explanation and a range of options, please refer to my Wrapper Guide. For dumpling wrappers, it is highly recommended to use all-purpose (plain) flour. While high gluten bread flour can be used, it may result in wrappers that are overly chewy. If you prefer a smoother texture and a whiter appearance, you can opt for special dumpling flour available at Chinese or Asian stores. This particular flour undergoes extensive processing and bleaching. The Chinese dumpling dough should have a soft consistency that allows for easy rolling into thin discs, yet it should not be too soft or sticky. In general, the ideal ratio of flour to water is approximately 2:1 by weight (not volume). For instance, if you have 250g of all-purpose flour, you will need 125g-130g of water. pouring water into flour If possible, it is recommended to weigh the ingredients using a scale, as it provides the most accurate measurements. If you choose to use a cup for measuring, 2 cups of all-purpose flour would require ½ cup plus 2 teaspoons of water. Ensure that you sift the flour before adding it to the cup and level it properly. Keep in mind that the water absorption capacity may vary among different flour brands, and the humidity in the room can also slightly affect the ratio. Therefore, minor adjustments may be necessary. The creation of dumpling dough can be accomplished using one of two methods: by hand or with the assistance of a stand mixer equipped with a dough hook.

  • By manual means: Combine flour and water until they coalesce into a coarse-looking dough. Allow the dough to rest for a period of 10 minutes, then proceed to knead it until it assumes a smooth and moderately firm texture. Subsequently, allow the dough to rest for an additional span of 30-60 minutes, during which time it will soften.
  • By utilizing a stand mixer: Initiate the process by mixing and kneading the dough on a low velocity for approximately 8 minutes, or until it gives way to a smooth consistency. Give the dough a chance to rest for a gathered timeframe of 30-60 minutes until it assumes a soft texture.

A piece of dough To ascertain its readiness, Chinese culinary experts suggest that the dough should possess a softness akin to that of an earlobe. In the case of amateur dumpling artisans, I surmise that opting for the manual route would prove more advantageous for a debut endeavor. By doing so, one gains the opportunity to assess the dough’s readiness and introduce amendments to the blend if necessary.

  • Once the dough has undergone a satisfactory period of rest, fashion it into a loop or several ropes before proceeding to divide it into equal and diminutive portions.
  • With the aid of the palm of your hand, flatten each piece until it assumes a rounded shape and then proceed to roll them into thin, circular wrappers by employing a rolling pin.

Freshly rolled dumpling wrappers and some dough pieces.   In my personal practice, I employ a technique referred to as “roll & turn,” which demonstrates a level of efficiency and yields wrappers that exhibit a thinner structure at the edges and a slightly thicker consistency towards the center. This feature makes them particularly suitable for the art of dumpling folding. In the event further clarification is desired, I would direct your attention to the instructional video provided in the recipe card below. Rolling a wrapper If you find the task of rolling wrappers individually to be a challenge, here is an alternative approach: Utilize a pasta machine to roll out the dough into a thin sheet. Afterwards, utilize the rim of a wine glass or a biscuit/scone cutter to cut out the wrappers. In this scenario, slightly decrease the amount of water in order to create a firmer dough and reduce the resting time by fifty percent. Four bowls of different dumpling fillings and some dumplings in different shape. It is crucial to always remember to cover the unused dough to prevent it from drying out. Additionally, if the dough sticks slightly to either the work surface or the rolling pin, simply sprinkle a small amount of flour. To gain a deeper understanding of a few fundamental principles, it becomes effortlessly achievable to create a delectable dumpling filling by combining and experimenting with your preferred ingredients. In my piece titled “How to Craft Exceptional Dumpling Fillings,” I have provided extensive information on this topic. Below is a concise summary outlining the desirable qualities of a good filling: This entails achieving a harmonious blend of protein and vegetables. Alongside the carbohydrates present in the wrappers, dumplings become a nutritionally well-balanced all-in-one meal. The protein component can encompass various kinds of meat (such as pork, beef, lamb, chicken, turkey, fish, and seafood), eggs, and soy-based ingredients like tofu. Ingredients for making dumpling fillings Aside from the inherent flavors of the primary components, the filling is enhanced with the addition of condiments and aromatic ingredients. The customary seasonings consist of soy sauce, oyster sauce, ground Sichuan pepper, Chinese five-spice powder, white pepper, sesame oil, salt, sugar, and more. The inclusion of finely chopped scallions and minced ginger also contributes immensely to the flavor profile. To achieve the desired result for meat-based fillings, one can utilize high-fat content meat, introduce a small amount of oil, or incorporate water or stock into the mixture. In the case of vegetarian or vegan dumplings, the challenge often lies in the opposite direction. There are methods that can rectify a “wet” filling: – Remove excess moisture by squeezing the vegetables after chopping them. A half eaten dumpling filled with tofu & vegetables. – Add ingredients that are proficient at absorbing moisture, such as mung bean vermicelli, scrambled eggs, and so on. Do you find the process of folding Chinese dumplings daunting? In reality, it is not as difficult as it may seem and can actually be quite enjoyable, especially if you use homemade wrappers that do not require wetting and are exceptionally pliable, allowing you to create a multitude of shapes. The classic Chinese style dumplings have a charming resemblance to the shape of a half-moon. As you can observe from the captivating visual display above and the informative video presented in the recipe card below, the process to accomplish this is remarkably uncomplicated. To commence, carefully deposit a spoonful of delectable filling right in the center of the delicate wrapper. After this, dexterously fold the wrapper, utilizing skilled fingers to deftly pinch the top perimeter with precision, expertly sealing the contents within. This step ensures the utmost integrity and security of the dumpling. Next, indulge in the artistry of crafting 2-4 meticulously crafted pleats from both ends of the dumpling. Once this is accomplished, press firmly and uniformly around the outer edge to entirely close and seal the dumpling, ensuring that no delectable treasures escape during the cooking process. Dumpling folding demonstration. If you possess an adventurous spirit and have a desire to explore diverse methods of assembling dumplings, I cordially invite you to peruse my enlightening post on the mystical realm of folding techniques. Within this comprehensive guide, you shall discover ten awe-inspiring patterns that cater to all levels of skill, elegantly presented in an easily comprehensible tutorial video. I am confident that the enchantment of this visual spectacle shall captivate and enthrall you, as it has done for many of my cherished readers. Regardless of the method you choose to follow, I implore you to adhere to a few vital guidelines in order to achieve optimal results: First and foremost, if you opt for the boiling method, it is imperative to ensure that the dumplings are meticulously sealed, thus averting any undesirable scenarios such as ruptured exteriors and the unfortunate possibility of filling leakage. Nine dumplings in nine different patterns. Secondly, exercise caution and moderation when applying flour to homemade wrappers. While the process of rolling out the wrappers may necessitate a light sprinkling of flour to counteract any potential sticking, it is crucial to exercise restraint, lest an excess of flour poses hindrances in the sealing process. Lastly, carefully select a pattern that harmonizes harmoniously with your chosen cooking method. Should you embark on the path of pan-frying or steaming, the appearance of the dumplings shall largely retain their original shape and texture post-cooking, thus offering an ideal opportunity to experiment with intricate and elaborate designs. Conversely, if boiling is your preferred technique, it is advisable to embrace simplicity, recognizing that the dumplings are less likely to preserve their flawless aesthetic following the cooking process. uncooked chicken potstickers   By the by, I have also introduced an incredibly easy and foolproof folding technique (check out the image above) in the recipe for Chicken potstickers. This technique works perfectly for pan-fried dumplings. Now that you have assembled all the dumplings, let’s move on to the next step: Cooking dumplings in three different ways. Continue reading to discover how each method is executed. Although not very popular in Western restaurants, boiled dumplings are actually the most common form in Chinese households. It has been my favorite since childhood because I adore its soft yet slightly chewy texture and its non-greasy flavor.

  • Take a large pot and fill it with an ample amount of water. To determine how many dumplings to cook at once, here’s my trick: if the dumplings are placed in a single layer, they shouldn’t be much larger than the surface of the water.
  • Do not add the dumplings until the water is fully boiling. Keep the heat high.
  • How can you tell if they’re cooked? Use the traditional Dian Shui (点水) method: Once the water returns to a full boil, add a small amount of cold water to calm it down. Repeat this procedure two more times (remember to cover the pot with a lid each time after adding water). Then, your dumplings will be fully cooked!
  • Drain and briefly rinse the dumplings under cold water. This removes excess starch and reduces the chances of them sticking together (skip this step if you are serving the dumplings in a soup dish).

boiled dumplings with chili oil The shining star of pan-fried dumplings lies in their magnificent, crisp foundation. It is a remarkably easy dish to prepare by following the “fry-steam-fry” technique.

  • First, heat a small amount of oil over high heat and place the dumplings in the pan. Gently shake the pan back and forth to ensure each dumpling makes contact with the oil.
  • Once the bottom of the dumplings turns golden, add cold water (enough to cover ⅓ of the dumplings) and quickly cover the pan with a lid. Allow the dumplings to steam over high heat.
  • When the water completely evaporates, continue cooking for an additional 30-60 seconds to achieve a delectable crispness (be cautious not to burn them).

Pan-fried dumplings Among the three methods, steaming requires the least attention and effort. In Cantonese-style dim sum establishments, steamed dumplings rank as one of the most beloved dishes. Here are some helpful tips for this cooking method.

  • To prevent the dumplings from sticking to the steamer baskets, I prefer placing a thin slice of carrot beneath each dumpling. Alternatively, you can use parchment paper or lightly brush some oil if using metal or plastic steamers.
  • Bring a pot or wok of water to a rolling boil, then place the steamer baskets inside. Feel free to stack 2-3 baskets and cook multiple batches simultaneously.
  • Count 10 minutes from the moment the steam begins to rise, and your dumplings will be ready to enjoy.

steamed dumplings   While waiting for the dumplings to cook, it’s possible to create a delectable sauce to accompany them. I’ve written a separate blog post that showcases six unique approaches to seasoning dumplings. As an alternative, you can simply combine Chinese black rice vinegar and a hint of Homemade Chili Oil (If you haven’t whipped up a batch of this yet, I highly recommend giving it a try!). Having a sauce on the side is not obligatory at all. Sometimes, I prefer to savor the dumplings in their pure form to fully appreciate the flavor of the filling. Maybe you’ll enjoy it this way too. My freezer is always stocked with Chinese dumplings, as they are my ultimate go-to food. They are incredibly convenient to have on hand, so I strongly encourage you to make a large batch if you have the time. Here’s the proper method for freezing them: – Place the uncooked dumplings on a tray (lightly coated with flour or lined with parchment paper) in a single layer, ensuring that they do not touch each other. Six dumpling dipping sauces. – Leave them in the freezer until completely frozen, then transfer them into airtight plastic bags. Consume within three months. Regardless of how you choose to cook them, there’s no need to defrost frozen dumplings in advance. If you’re boiling or pan-frying them, follow the same instructions mentioned above. For steaming, simply extend the cooking time by a couple of minutes. Q: I prefer dumpling wrappers with less chewiness. How can I modify this recipe? A: You have a couple of options: You can replace about ¼ of the flour with corn starch or prepare a hot water dough (instructions can be found in the recipe for Soup Dumplings).

Question: How can I fix my dough if it’s too sticky or too firm?

Answer: If your dough is sticky, you can solve the issue by incorporating more flour and kneading it until well blended. In case the dough is too firm, gradually increase its hydration by kneading it with wet hands. Alternatively, you can allow it to rest for a longer period of time. Over time, the dough will become progressively softer. uncooked dumplings

Question: Is it possible to make semi-transparent, dim sum style wrappers using this dough?

Answer: Unfortunately, it is not feasible. Semi-transparent dumpling wrappers are created using wheat starch. For a detailed explanation of the technique, refer to my recipe for Har Gow (Crystal shrimp dumplings) and Steamed Dumplings in Two Ways. You can find it here.

Question: Are there gluten-free wrappers available?

Answer: Yes, gluten-free wrappers do exist. Specific wheat starch labeled as gluten-free can be purchased to make the aforementioned semi-transparent dumpling wrappers.

Question: What type of rolling pin do you utilize? A soup dumpling (Xiao Long Bao)

Answer: For my preparations, I employ a Chinese rolling pin that lacks handles and has a diameter of approximately 3cm (1.2 inches). The length of the pin is not overly significant, but it should not be excessively long, hindering the working process. The pin can have a straight shape or be moderately tapered.

Question: What should be the size of the wrappers?

Answer: The average diameter of regular dumpling wrappers is typically around 8cm (3.1in).

Question: Is it possible to create wrappers in different colors? Har gow, crystal shrimp dumplings in steamer baskets

Answer: Yes, it is possible to utilize natural ingredients like spinach, carrot, or purple cabbage to add color to the dough. Instructions for achieving colorful dumplings can be found in my post titled “Colourful Dumplings” [link].

Question: Why does my wrapper keep shrinking when I attempt to roll it out?

Answer: This occurs when the dough hasn’t been given enough resting time or has been excessively handled just before rolling. To solve the issue, simply allow the dough to rest for an additional 10-20 minutes and then retry.

Question: Can I prepare the wrappers in advance?

Answer: It is necessary to use homemade wrappers immediately. However, if needed, you can freeze them in air-tight bags (dusted with flour or with parchment paper placed between them) and thaw them in the refrigerator prior to use.

Question: Is it necessary to cook the filling before assembling?

Answer: No. In most cases, the filling is added to the wrappers without any prior cooking. However, there are exceptions such as the Chinese Chive Pockets, where the eggs need to be scrambled before being mixed with the vegetables. Lines of dumplings in white, green, orange and purple colour

Question: Can uncooked dumplings be left on the counter/in the fridge for a few hours?

Answer: No. Uncooked dumplings should be cooked immediately. If not, they can be frozen following the instructions provided in the recipe card below.

Question: How can I prevent my dumplings from sticking to the work surface before cooking?

Answer: There are a few tips to prevent this issue: Always sprinkle some flour on the surface before placing the dumplings on it; Ensure that the filling of the dumplings isn’t too wet; Avoid leaving uncooked dumplings sitting for a prolonged period.

Question: I’ve seen pan-fried dumplings with a delicate, lacy skirt. How can I achieve that?

Answer: To achieve a crispy skirt, you must use a starchy slurry instead of water for pan-frying. Detailed instructions for this technique can be found in my recipe for Chicken Potstickers.

Q: What is the ideal serving size for dumplings?

A: While it varies based on individual appetites, I would estimate that the average adult-size serving consists of approximately 15 dumplings.

Q: How can leftover boiled dumplings be reheated?

A: To reheat leftover boiled dumplings, simply pan-fry them with a small amount of oil. Flip them over a few times to ensure even heating. Prepare the dough: In a mixing bowl, gradually add water to the flour. Mix with chopsticks or a spatula until all loose flour is incorporated. Knead the mixture until it forms a dough. Pan fried flat dumplings filled with Chinese chives and egg Allow the dough to rest (covered) for 10 minutes, then knead it again until it becomes smooth. Cover the dough and let it rest for an additional 30-60 minutes until it reaches a soft consistency (Chinese cooks often describe it as “as soft as an earlobe”). If using a machine: Alternatively, you can use a stand mixer with a dough hook to make the dough. Knead it on low speed for approximately 8 minutes, or until it becomes smooth. Cover the dough and let it rest for 30-60 minutes. Prepare the filling: While waiting for the dough to rest, prepare the filling according to the recipe’s instructions. Roll out the wrappers: Divide the dough into three parts. Take one part and roll it into a rope, then cut it into 10 equal sections (cover the remaining dough to prevent drying out). Flatten each piece into a small disc using the palm of your hand. Using a rolling pin, flatten the disc into a thin wrapper (refer to the tutorial video below for guidance). Dust with flour if it sticks. Repeat this process with the rest of the dough. Assemble the dumplings: Place a spoonful of filling onto each wrapper. Seal the wrappers using your preferred technique (refer to the tutorial video below or the methods shown in “Ten Ways to Fold Dumplings”). Chicken potstickers Cooking option 1: Boiling Bring a pot of water to a full boil over high heat. Gently slide the dumplings into the water (you may need to cook them in two batches if using a small pot). Stir them with the back of a spoon to prevent sticking, then cover the pot. uncooked dumplings on a tray Once the water comes back to a full boil, add approximately 120 ml/0.5 cup of cold water and cover the pot again. Repeat this procedure two more times. When the dumplings are fully cooked, they should appear plump and float on the surface. Transfer the dumplings to a colander. Rinse them briefly under drinkable tap water, then drain and serve immediately. Cooking option 2: Pan-frying Heat a small amount of oil over high heat. Place the dumplings in the pan (move the pan back and forth to ensure each dumpling touches the oil). Once the bottom part of the dumplings turns golden brown, add cold water to the pan (enough to cover about ⅓ of the dumplings). Cover the pan with a lid and keep the heat high. Uncover the pan once the water has completely evaporated. Cook for another 30 seconds or until crispy. Cooking option 3: Steaming Place carrot slices in the steamer baskets, then arrange the dumplings on top (this prevents sticking; alternatively, you can use parchment paper or lightly grease the steamer). Bring a pot or wok of water to a full boil, then place the steamer baskets inside (you can stack up to 2-3 baskets and cook them all at once). Cover with a lid and steam over medium heat for 10 minutes. Freezing uncooked dumplings: Arrange the assembled, uncooked dumplings on a tray lined with parchment paper or dusted with flour. Place them in the freezer. Once completely frozen, transfer the dumplings to an airtight plastic bag or container. Use them within three months. Cooking frozen dumplings: There’s no need to defrost them before cooking. If boiling or pan-frying, follow the same methods described above. If steaming, increase the cooking time by an additional 2 minutes. 1. If using a cup to measure the flour, sift it first and ensure it is properly leveled. Please note that measuring flour by cups is less accurate than measuring by weight, so it’s advisable to use a scale if possible. 2. The flour-to-water ratio may vary depending on the flour brand and humidity of your kitchen. Adjust the ratio slightly if necessary. The initial dough should be medium-firm and will become softer after resting. Share your dish or ask questions on NUTRITION DISCLOSURE: The nutritional information provided on this website is an estimate and should be considered as such. Reader are encouraged to use their own brand’s nutritional values or their preferred nutrition calculator to double-check against these estimates.

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