Who doesn’t enjoy eating a dumpling? It’s hard to stop at one, and you can eat it in so many ways – pan fried, steamed, deep fried, they are great in soups, and there are so many different types of fillings you can put in them too.
There are lots of great dumpling restaurants on offer here in Melbourne, Dumplings Plus, Hutong Dumpling Bar and Shanghai Street Dumpling, just to name a few. I always go for the won ton dumplings with chilli sauce – I do love my chillies!
So after many years of buying dumpling wrappers but never actually following through with my plan of making them – I finally did it! So here is a recipe that I’ve adapted from a couple of dumpling recipes that I found online*. It’s a pretty good version if I do say so myself!
Yes, there are a lot of ingredients in this recipe, but don’t be alarmed. You can find most of these items in your local supermarket these days and it will be well worth it. It’s also what makes dumplings so delicious – they’re little parcels packed full of gorgeous flavours!
Note: You can substitute the pork mince for chicken or prawns or for a healthier version leave out the meat altogether and add more tofu for a vegetarian version.
400g Shredded cabbage (approx 2 cups)
2 tsp salt
500g Pork mince
4 cm ginger, peeled and grated
2 Spring onions (Scallions)
125g firm tofu
3 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp oyster sauce
2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar or Chinese cooking wine
2 Tbsp sesame oil
1 1/2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp chicken stock powder
1 packet of store bought dumpling/gyoza wrappers
1/4 Cup water or 1 egg white to seal the dumpling wrappers
Water and Peanut oil for steaming and frying the dumplings
Soy sauce, chilli and garlic dipping sauce
3 Tbsp Soy sauce
2 tsp Castor sugar
1 tsp Sesame oil
1 tsp Rice wine vinegar
1 Crushed garlic
1 Tbsp spring onion chopped
1 Red chilli finely chopped (optional)
Combine the soy sauce and sugar, stir this until the sugar has dissolved. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Set aside for the dumplings.
Step 1 – Soak the cabbage.
Shred the cabbage and place this in a medium sized bowl. Add the salt and mix until combined and set aside for at least 15 minutes. While the cabbage is soaking, start preparing the rest of the ingredients.
Note: This step is optional. If you don’t have time you can skip this step, just add the cabbage to the pork mince with the rest of the ingredients at step 3. But do give this a go, it makes a difference to the pork mixture and you don’t really do anything, it just soaks in the salt while you chop up the rest of the vegetables!
Step 2 – Chop, slice and dice the vegetables.
Peel and grate the ginger, dice the onions, thinly slice and chop up the carrots, chop up the spring onions and dice the tofu. Put aside.
Note: For the carrots, I use a slicer type device (bought from a local Asian store for $6). It’s great for shredding vegetables and its easier to chop up into smaller pieces to add to the pork mince.
By the time you’ve chopped, diced and sliced the vegetables, it’s time to drain the cabbage. Using clean hands, squeeze out the excess water from the cabbage. I have tried using other methods to drain out the excess water, but I found that using your hands was the most effective.
Step 3 – Pork mince mixture.
Put the pork mince in a large size bowl, add the ginger, onions, carrots, spring onions, tofu and the cabbage. Now add the sauces and rice wine vinegar, sugar and chicken stock powder. With a wooden spoon, mix well until all ingredients are combined.
Step 4 – Now it’s time to wrap the dumplings.
If you have time you can make your own dumpling wrappers, but today I used store bought wrappers as it’s cheap and convenient. There are 60 dumpling wrappers per packet.
Let the fun start….
Put the water or egg whites into a small bowl. Place a wrapper in the middle of your palm, with your index finger smear some water all the way around the edges of the wrapper. Place approx one tablespoon of the pork mixture in the middle of the wrapper. If you like your dumpling to be fuller, you can add more. But start with one tablespoon first to get the hang of the wrapping.
Fold the wrapper over the fillings, seal the top of the edges but leave the sides open. See below.
Pinch the top part of each side, leaving the bottom part still open. This will form the back of the dumpling.
With your thumb and index finger, make a pleat with the open, give the pleat a little pull towards the middle and pinch this in place. Repeat on the other side. And there you have it, a beautiful dumpling ready to be cooked.
Line the bottom of a tray with baking paper or sprinkle a little corn flour on the bottom of the tray to prevent the dumplings from sticking.
Continue wrapping the dumplings until you have used up all the mince mixture.
Step 5: Pan fry the dumplings.
Place the dumplings onto a frying pan and put this on the stove on a medium-high heat. Make sure you space them out so the dumplings don’t stick together.
Add half a cup of water to the dumplings then put a lid on the frying pan. Let this steam for 5-7 minutes or until the water has evaporated. You will need to keep an eye on this.
Once the water is nearly all gone, add 2 tablespoons of peanut oil to the pan and cook for about 3 minutes or until the bottom of the dumplings are golden and crispy. You can take them out of the pan after this and serve immediately. Or if you are like me, turn them over and fry the other side of the dumplings so all sides are golden.
Note: If you see a brown like film starting to stick to the bottom or sides of the frying pan, it’s the residue from the starch of the wrapper but it’s quite normal. Simply wipe this with some paper towel so it doesn’t over burn the dumplings.
Serve with the soy sauce dipping sauce and enjoy!
Note: You can steam the dumplings instead of frying them in a pan for a healthier option.
Some serving suggestions below.
Happy cooking, happy eating!
* This recipe was adapted from the following websites, http://damndelicious.net/2013/02/20/shrimp-dumplings/, http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/9373/pot+sticker+dumplings