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Chinese Pork Dumplings

CindyJ Jan 9, 2010 06:13 AM

I'm looking for a recipe for Chinese pork dumplings, either steamed or fried, and a dipping sauce to go with them. Also, I need a bit of instruction about how to form the dumplings. I'll be using pre-made dumpling wrappers. Thanks for your help!

  1. todao Jan 9, 2010 11:04 AM

    Fried Chinese dumplings are typically known as "Pot Stickers". They're similar to Gyoza (which is an adaptationof the Pot Sticker) from Japan.

    http://www.wonderhowto.com/how-to/video/how-to-make-authentic-chinese-dumpling-pork-filling-160057/

    and

    http://www.wonderhowto.com/how-to/vid...

    33 Replies
    1. re: todao
      f
      fourunder Jan 9, 2010 11:22 AM

      More Information...

      http://userealbutter.com/2007/10/04/chinese-dumplings-and-potstickers-recipe/

      The noticeable differences between the two sources from my perspective is:

      * Coarse Chopped as opposed to Finer Chopped Ingredients

      * The video shows more of a soup/won ton wrapped dumpling. while the pictures show a Fried or Steamed Potsticker wrapped dumpling fold...Although the pictures show fresh made dough for the instruction, you would use the same method with a commercially bought ROUND dumpling wrapper, not a square one as in the video.

      Personally, I do not sweat the vegetables and cool before making my dumplings, as I prefer to use the finer chopped or shredded vegetables for my fried dumpling. If you intend to use more vegetables like a cabbage or spinach, you may want to pre-cook your vegetables to get the water out. Here's another perspective...

      http://www.worldfoodieguide.com/index.php/how-to-make-chinese-boiled-dumplings-shuijiao-by-pang-wu-yui-yi/

      Last, if you decide to try the potsticker fold......you only pleat one side, you don't pinch both side together for a proper fold, but either way, they will taste the same for your first attempt.

      Boiled dumplings...

      http://www.teachabroadchina.com/how-t...

      1. re: todao
        ipsedixit Jan 9, 2010 11:28 AM

        Gack!! Please do not fold your dumplings as shown in that second video. Dumplings should be carefully pleaded, not just squeezed like it's some ragdag pouch.

        1. re: ipsedixit
          k
          KTinNYC Jan 10, 2010 06:54 AM

          Squeezing is fine. I've known home cooks that do it this way.

          1. re: KTinNYC
            ipsedixit Jan 10, 2010 10:55 AM

            Squeeze, and you're making won tons, not dumplings.

            Dumplings, pleat and fold, striving for a crescent fan shape.

            1. re: ipsedixit
              k
              KTinNYC Jan 10, 2010 12:17 PM

              A won ton isn't a dumpling?

              1. re: ipsedixit
                Chemicalkinetics Mar 5, 2010 08:58 PM

                ipsedixit,

                My mom, my grandmother and everyone in my family pleat the dumplings are you mentioned, but I also know other people simply fold/squeeze the dough/skin. Oh yeah, they definitely do this to pork dumpling and not wonton.

          2. re: todao
            CindyJ Jan 10, 2010 05:54 AM

            I was never aware of the distinction between "dumplings" and "pot stickers"; I always thought the terms were interchangeable. Thanks for that tidbit of info.

            1. re: CindyJ
              f
              fourunder Jan 10, 2010 06:50 AM

              All Potstickers are dumplings, however, not all dumplings are Potstickers. There's also the following for steamed and boiled Chinese dumplings made with a round wrapper.:

              Shumai
              Siu Gow

              Har Gow are made with a rice flour, never wheat flour, as are most seafood varieties of Dim Sum Dumplings.

              There are also many Dim Sum Varieties for dumplings with other proteins such as shrimp, beef and chicken. A true Chinese Potsticker uses a dough wrapper that does not contain egg and is thicker skinned than the typical wonton wrappers. Xaio Long Boa, also known as *Soup Dumplings* are also made with a thick or thin flour wrap and then steamed.

              Korean dumplings are called ManDoo

              1. re: fourunder
                ipsedixit Jan 10, 2010 10:40 AM

                Technically, neither shumai nor sui gow are dumplings.

                1. re: ipsedixit
                  f
                  fourunder Jan 10, 2010 10:51 AM

                  Technically, are you claiming dispute by definition or semantics?

                  1. re: fourunder
                    ipsedixit Jan 10, 2010 10:54 AM

                    By definition.

                    1. re: ipsedixit
                      f
                      fourunder Jan 10, 2010 11:04 AM

                      By whose definition? Please provide your source for reference that states claim neither shumai or sui gow are not dumplings, to put this to rest and no further debate.

                      1. re: fourunder
                        ipsedixit Jan 10, 2010 11:36 AM

                        Chinese dumplings, strictly speaking, are 餃子 and are of Northern Chinese origin.

                        Shumai (and hargow) are a Cantonese creation from the southern regions of China.

                        No one would consider a shumai to be a 餃子.

                        It would be like saying a hamburger is a sandwich simply because it's got two pieces of bread like product with a meat product in the middle.

                        It's that same type of sloppy thinking that leads people to consider xiao long bao to be dumplings, or jongzi (粽子) to be dumplings. They are not. Simply because a mixture of ground meat and veggies is wrapped in some type of dough (or bamboo or seaweed and sticky rice in the case of jongzi) does not make it automatically a Chinese dumpling.

                        1. re: ipsedixit
                          f
                          fourunder Jan 10, 2010 11:42 AM

                          Excuse my ignorance, but what do the Chinese characters mean? Are they from a Chinese reference book or dictionary?

                          1. re: fourunder
                            ipsedixit Jan 10, 2010 11:58 AM

                            No need to excuse your ignorance, the Chinese characters are the literal translations of the English words.

                            Without understanding the Chinese meaning or characters of dumplings, it will be hard to understand why something like shumai or hargow are not dumplings.

                            Cheers.

                            1. re: ipsedixit
                              f
                              fourunder Jan 10, 2010 12:09 PM

                              duly noted and accepted

                          2. re: ipsedixit
                            f
                            fourunder Jan 10, 2010 11:51 AM

                            btw, I do not follow your logic with the burger.....a burger can be ordered and eaten without bread or a bun...and it is still called a burger,l yes....but when you accept it with a bun, which is a form of bread, a burger is a type of sandwich in any dictionary.

                            Any meat or other protien/vegetable normally filled dumpling( a dough wrapper), if ordered without the dough wrapper is, or becomes, a meatball.

                            I have never seen in print, heard any one ever call a jongzi a dumpling. Maybe a tamale, but not a dumpling.

                            1. re: ipsedixit
                              k
                              KTinNYC Jan 10, 2010 12:18 PM

                              A hamburger is a sandwich in my book.

                              1. re: ipsedixit
                                Will Owen Jan 10, 2010 04:09 PM

                                The xiao long bao we ate last night were referred to on the menu and by our hostesses as dumplings. This being a Northern Chinese establishment all of the wrappers (and of course all the noodles) were wheat. I do not read Chinese characters at all, but I have always been under the impression that "bao" was a dumpling, though of course the steamed raised ones are usually referred to as "buns".

                                1. re: Will Owen
                                  ipsedixit Jan 10, 2010 05:52 PM

                                  No, baos are not dumplings. They are, as you surmised, buns.

                                  1. re: ipsedixit
                                    CindyJ Jan 11, 2010 04:54 AM

                                    ...and the distinction between a dumpling and a bun is...???

                                    1. re: CindyJ
                                      ipsedixit Jan 11, 2010 07:22 AM

                                      Risen dough.

                                      1. re: ipsedixit
                                        Will Owen Jan 11, 2010 12:52 PM

                                        So why do xiao long BAO come in plain unrisen-dough skins? Did some idiot mis-name them?

                                        1. re: Will Owen
                                          ipsedixit Jan 11, 2010 01:52 PM

                                          Dunno if misname is the right way to put it, as it probably has more to do with provincial differences (Shanghai v. Beijing) in nomenclature.

                                          1. re: ipsedixit
                                            t
                                            taiwanesesmalleats Jan 12, 2010 09:04 AM

                                            In my mind XLB are in a league all their own. When I think of the word bao, despite XLB having it in their name, the imagery just doesn't fit. It's like a weird cross between a jiaozi and a bao. Bao are also just an evolution of mantou.

                                            1. re: taiwanesesmalleats
                                              ipsedixit Jan 12, 2010 09:16 AM

                                              Concur.

                                              This is really a case of "something lost in translation".

                                              In Chinese, "bao" can either be a verb (to wrap) or a noun (a bun).

                                              The word "bao" or 包 as used in XLB or 小籠包 can be loosely (and I mean loosely) ascribed as the verb form.

                                              The word "bao" or 包子 as used in Char Sui Bao is the noun form.

                                              1. re: ipsedixit
                                                Will Owen Jan 12, 2010 03:54 PM

                                                That is the explanation I've been waiting for. Also very cool to see the word Mantou; I enjoy seeing how names of foods get modified going from one language or dialect to another, and mantou=mandu (or mandoo) is a nice example. Any others will probably have to be cited over on the General Topics board...

                                                1. re: Will Owen
                                                  tatamagouche Mar 2, 2010 07:02 AM

                                                  I still don't understand. The dough in XLB isn't risen, so aren't they dumplings, not buns? Sorry to be dense.

                                                  1. re: tatamagouche
                                                    ipsedixit Mar 2, 2010 07:13 AM

                                                    No, you're not being dense.

                                                    As I mentioned up thread, this *is* really a case of something being lost in translation.

                                                    Let's look at the XLB and Dumpling dichotomy from another angle. Literally.

                                                    Look at an XLB. Then look at a dumpling.

                                                    They look different, right?

                                                    XLB are generally round and pinched on top.

                                                    Dumplings are generally crescent shaped and pinched in a fan shape.

                                                    While you might consider this merely a superficial difference, in cultural terms this is a distinct difference with some significance.

                                                    So to summarize.

                                                    Bao = looks like XLB made with risen dough
                                                    XLB = round and pouchy, not made with risen dough
                                                    Dumpling = crescent shaped, not made with risen dough

                                                    Hope that eases the confusion just a centimeter or so! :-)

                                                    1. re: ipsedixit
                                                      tatamagouche Mar 2, 2010 07:17 AM

                                                      Oh, so in their case it's not a risen dough question, it's a shape question. Right?

                                                      1. re: tatamagouche
                                                        ipsedixit Mar 2, 2010 07:21 AM

                                                        In part yes; it's the shape.

                                                        But don't forget the filling difference between a dumpling and an XLB. The latter has "soup"; the former does not.

                                                        1. re: ipsedixit
                                                          tatamagouche Mar 2, 2010 07:35 AM

                                                          Right. Hence the point that these are sort of in a category of their own...I think I got it now.

                                                  2. re: Will Owen
                                                    p
                                                    Pookipichu Mar 5, 2010 08:54 PM

                                                    Mantou is not a dumpling, mantou is a steamed flour bun. An example you might like is Jiaozi=gyoza

                  2. CindyJ Jan 10, 2010 06:09 AM

                    Well, I did make pork pot stickers (NOT dumplings!) last night, and I must say, I was really pleased with the result, considering this was my first attempt. It took a bit of practice getting those pleats right, but I did get the hang of it after about a half-dozen weird-looking attempts. I used a recipe I found on Epicurious (http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...) that had Napa cabbage (chopped, salted, water squeezed out), scallions, carrots and several other ingredients mixed into the not-too-lean ground pork.

                    What surprised me was the cooking method. For as many times as I've ordered pot stickers in restaurants, I never gave much thought to how they're actually cooked. The method of saute-then-steam cooked them perfectly.

                    I froze the (uncooked) leftovers. Now I'm not sure if I have to let them defrost before cooking them, or if I cook them still frozen.

                    12 Replies
                    1. re: CindyJ
                      s
                      smtucker Jan 10, 2010 06:47 AM

                      Cook them still frozen.

                      1. re: CindyJ
                        j
                        jules1026 Jan 10, 2010 11:00 AM

                        If these are something you're going to make again, I'd recommend a dumpling press. Makes the assembly go so much faster.

                        1. re: jules1026
                          CindyJ Jan 10, 2010 01:51 PM

                          ANOTHER kitchen gadget????? I never knew there was such a thing!

                          1. re: jules1026
                            CindyJ Jan 10, 2010 01:56 PM

                            Okay... so I just Googled "dumpling press" and from what I can see, the shape of the dumpling that comes from the press would not qualify as "authentic" because it has pleats on both sides. Is it better to be a purist, or a more efficient cook?

                            1. re: CindyJ
                              j
                              jules1026 Jan 10, 2010 01:59 PM

                              IMO, they don't taste any differently if they're pleated on both sides. :) Although it looks like quite the discussion !

                              1. re: jules1026
                                CindyJ Jan 10, 2010 03:46 PM

                                I have a feeling that ipsedixit and fourunder might take exception with the double-sided pleats of the dumpling press. :-)

                                1. re: CindyJ
                                  f
                                  fourunder Jan 11, 2010 06:18 AM

                                  CJ,

                                  Personally, I believe they both taste the same and you should do what works for you. The dumpling presses I have seen in the past are too small and lightweight to be worth using(I purchased one without knowing any better). I actually find they take longer to use. As for the weight, when you fold the top half over, it really doesn't fold easily and you have to play to make it perfect. Also if you have arthritic hand issues, it's definitely a waste on both time and money investment. The key to making a good dumpling (or ravioli) is to make sure there are no air pockets. That's tough to do with a dumpling press from my .experience The poor choice for presses I am talking about are this link:

                                  http://www.bizrate.com/kitchen-suppli...

                                  If you plan to make dumplings in the future....you get better at it very quickly....you just have to master the pleat and pinch. If I can do it, anyone can.......and who really wants to wash another kitchen item.

                                  Lastly, I would agree one one sided pleating and two sided pleating would taste the same, however, if you do not put enough filling into the dumpling, the top fold may be too much dough....and depending on the type of wrapper you are using and the method you decide to use to cook (pan fry & steam or steamed in a bamboo steamer) the dumplings will be affected by texture. I find the commercially purchased dumpling and wonton wrappers do not full get fully cooked and soft if the fold has too much wrapper on top.

                                  1. re: fourunder
                                    CindyJ Jan 11, 2010 11:09 AM

                                    I was perfecting my pleat-and-pinch technique as I went along the other night. When I first started, I pinched the center shut, then I made two pleats to the right of the center, then two pleats to the left. That was working pretty well, so I added one more pleat on each side, but I ran into trouble, so I created a "hybrid" that I was very happy with. It went something like this: (1)small pinch in the center, (2) center-facing pleat on the right, (3) another center-facing pleat on the right, (4) fold the right corner up in the direction of the center. Then I did the same thing on the left side of the center pinch. And then I flattened the bottom a little so it would stand up. I hope that makes sense. Anyway, I was quite pleased with the result.

                                    1. re: CindyJ
                                      f
                                      fourunder Jan 11, 2010 03:16 PM

                                      CJ,

                                      Congrats, sounds like the student has passed the teacher.

                                      1. re: fourunder
                                        CindyJ Jan 12, 2010 04:54 AM

                                        It was fun. I remember learning to make wontons a gazillion years ago, but the wrappers were square and the folding was totally different. I think I've (re)discovered a new rainy/snowy day activity.

                            2. re: jules1026
                              g
                              gnomatic Jan 10, 2010 08:04 PM

                              Ohh I dunno about dumpling presses.

                              When I was a kid (I was probably 7 or 8), my mom put us to work folding dumplings. We are talking about hundreds of them (no worries about child labor violations, it was all for our own consumption). She got one of those presses to "help" us along. It didn't work for us at all. You have to be really precise with the amount of filling per wrapper, else it would burst. And you have to use the right size wrappers.

                              It took some practice but we eventually "graduated" to become dumpling folding machines when we no longer needed a spoon for the filling (used chopsticks) or water (to seal the dumpling), like mom did! Hmmm come to think of it, that was the last time I saw mom wrapping dumplings...afterwards she just did the filling, pop it in front of us, with the wrappers, we would do it while watching tv.

                              Oooh I guess my point is...the dumpling press is not worth it..doing it by hand is easy with practice, but the easiest way is to train your children to do it while they are young. I bet that dumpling press is still at the bottom of some drawer in my parent's kitchen.

                              1. re: gnomatic
                                j
                                jules1026 Jan 10, 2010 08:09 PM

                                Love the story! Thanks for the laugh!

                          2. CindyJ Jan 12, 2010 05:04 AM

                            I do have a few more questions about the saute-then-steam method I used for cooking these potstickers. I used a non-stick saute pan but I added waaaaay too much oil in the beginning for the saute part. When the next step in the recipe said to add about 1/4 cup of water to the pan, I knew I'd be in trouble, and I was really afraid of what might happen, so I emptied just about all of the oil from the pan before I added the water. Even then there was a great deal of spattering. In the end, the potstickers were cooked quite nicely, but the cooktop and counters were an oily mess.

                            So my questions are -- how much oil should I start with, and what's the best way to introduce the water for the steaming part? Do you ever use a deeper pot instead of a saute pan? Also, my recipe called for browning only the bottoms of the potstickers. Do you ever brown the sides as well?

                            7 Replies
                            1. re: CindyJ
                              f
                              fourunder Jan 12, 2010 07:25 AM

                              CJ,

                              Unlike others, I do not have a problem using a non-stick surface. The amount of oil you ultimately use is relative to the type of pan you use, the size of the pan, and the dough, egg or nor. Traditional flour dough absorbs more oil than the commercial egg dumpling wrap. there are non-egg commercial wraps, but they are very thin and will not absorb oil as much as a fresh homemade dough. .... now with a non stick flat fry pan with cover, here's what I would do:

                              1. Hot pan on medium flame
                              2 Add 1-2 Tablespoons of oil for up 15-16 potstickers, larger amounts in larger pan, more oil
                              3. Place dumplings (sorry Ipsedixit) in oil
                              4. Create a crust, but give a shake to make the dumplings slide in the pan, 4-5 minutes.
                              5. Cover the pan leaving a .5-1.0 inch opening to pour in the 1/4 cup of water. This should remedy your problem with oil splatter on the stove. The amount of water you use should not rise too far up the sides of the dumplings....if so, you will lose your brown crusty bottom. As the water evaporates and you begin to hear the sizzle again, check your dumpling to see if the wrappings have become translucent. If not, you can add some more water at this time and continue cooking for a couple of more minutes. The total time to cook dumplings is about 10 minnutes for the filling to be completely cooked. When you remove the cover after the steam period, cook the dumplings uncovered for another minute to crisp them up.

                              As for your query on whether to crisp up more than one side.....for a potsticker/fried dumpling, you would not in the traditional sense, but there is no reason why you could not make a sui gow dumpling shape, which is a half moon/crescent shape without pleats. You simply place the filling in the wrapper skin and fold over and seal the edges with an egg wash or water....much like a Kreplach triangle. Since this shape is thin, you can flatten both sides and pan fry both sides for more texture.

                              I would never use a pot for fried dumplings, only boiled. I would use a Wok, but nature of design, you would need to use more oil due to the well created at the bottom. I place the dumplings halfway into the oil around in a circle. By the time you place all your dumplings in the Wok, the volume of dumplings displaces the oil and reaches the outer edges of the oil to crisp. In a wok, I would not shake to loosen or slide the dumplings. When adding water, I cover the Wok and simply add the water......which flows between the cover and wok into the pan....no oil splatter.

                              Last, when I purchase frozen dumplings, I will not care much about appearance and presentations....I shake the pan and often brown more than one side.....however the dumplings fall.

                              1. re: CindyJ
                                hannaone Jan 12, 2010 08:24 AM

                                You can take a look at Maangchi's video for Korean mandu

                                http://www.maangchi.com/recipe/mandu

                                1. re: CindyJ
                                  vicki_vale Feb 15, 2010 04:12 PM

                                  I am a firm believer in the reverse method, which is steam-then-fry.

                                  1. Start with 1/2 inch of cold water plus 1Tb oil in a cold non-stick frying pan.
                                  2. Bring the water + oil to a boil (together) on high heat.
                                  3. Quickly lay the potstickers in neat overlapping rows in the shallow boiling water.
                                  4. Cover with lid and let it boil & steam for one minute.
                                  5. Remove the lid and let the water boil off & evaporate. (see photo attached)
                                  Only the oil and the potstickers will be left, and there is no need to add oil at this point.
                                  6. Let the pan dry out and lower the heat to medium. The potsticker bottoms will start to brown.
                                  7. Flip the entire group of potstickers on to a platter - do this by inverting a platter over the fry pan, holding them both together, and turning them upsidedown in one smooth motion.

                                  Photos attached.

                                   
                                   
                                  1. re: CindyJ
                                    greygarious Feb 15, 2010 05:07 PM

                                    The first time I bought frozen potstickers at the Chinese market, the manager told me not to follow the directions on the bag (I don't even remember what it said), but to lay them flat side down in a pan with a little hot oil, then add water about a third of the way up the sides of the dumplings, cover the pot, and listen for the sizzle, then uncover, and remove when the bottoms are crisp and brown. That's always worked for me, and there has been very little spatter.

                                    1. re: greygarious
                                      CindyJ Feb 16, 2010 04:50 AM

                                      Are you saying you put the potstickers into the pan before the oil/water have heated up? And your potstickers end up nice and brown on the bottom and the tops aren't overcooked? If that works well, it may solve the one big problem I've been having with these (and I've made them three times now), namely, the awful splattering that occurs when the water is added to the hot oil. No matter how carefully I pour the water down the side of the pan, or how quickly I get the cover on, it's always left a huge, greasy mess on and around the cooktop.

                                      I'd love to hear from others who use this method; it makes so much sense to me, at least on "paper". I wonder why, given the number of recipes I reviewed before I made potstickers the first time, I haven't seen this method before. Well, I'm going to write a note on my recipe and try this method the next time.

                                      1. re: CindyJ
                                        greygarious Feb 16, 2010 08:24 AM

                                        Sorry I wasn't more clear - I don't really know, so many years on, what exactly the guy said in terms of heating up the pan. I have an electric cooktop and use a nonstick pan - I turn the heat on med-high and spread a little oil on the pan, they lay in the frozen potstickers. I pour in the water (right from tap to cup, so cool/cold) and slap on the lid. The water does bubble and spit a little, but I don't think there's any more spatter than frying a couple of pieces of bacon. Maybe the difference is that I am using frozen dumplings and yours are fresh.

                                        1. re: greygarious
                                          CindyJ Feb 16, 2010 08:33 AM

                                          If anything, I'd think the frozen dumplings would be more prone to spattering because of bits of ice that might clinging to them.

                                          What I was really questioning was whether the dumplings were placed in the pan before the water and oil got hot enough to start spitting.

                                  2. smokeandapancake Feb 16, 2010 11:28 AM

                                    i put pork, sacallion, ginger, sesame oil and pre made cole mix in mine (carrots, cabbage).
                                    I boil then pan fry.

                                    1. k
                                      kookiegoddess Mar 2, 2010 07:15 AM

                                      Please watch this video
                                      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=spsGbDWauf4&feature=player_embedded

                                      and then read this post

                                      http://www.houseboateats.com/2009/08/...

                                      for some really great info.

                                      Man I love that video.

                                      4 Replies
                                      1. re: kookiegoddess
                                        CindyJ Mar 2, 2010 02:07 PM

                                        That's a GREAT video. Thanks! Do you know of a link to a video that shows the saute/steam part of the cooking?

                                        1. re: CindyJ
                                          k
                                          kookiegoddess Mar 6, 2010 09:33 AM

                                          I don't know of a good video off hand but if you go to the Use Real Butter blog she has some good tips explaining how to do it, and her commenters seem to have success with her methods. Good luck!

                                          1. re: CindyJ
                                            hannaone Mar 7, 2010 11:48 PM

                                            Although she is using pre packaged gyoza, the cooking technique shown works well for pan fried.

                                            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Dq0xd...

                                            1. re: hannaone
                                              CindyJ Mar 8, 2010 05:11 AM

                                              I really like that cooking method and I will definitely try it the next time I make gyoza. Putting the oil and the water in the pan at the same time definitely cuts down on the splattering mess that comes from adding water to the hot pan after the gyoza have been frying. I have to say, I'm usually a bit more precise about placing my dumplings into the pan, with the pleated edges facing upward to that the bottoms brown nicely, and I'll continue to do that.

                                              Thanks again for this link!

                                        2. sharonanne Mar 2, 2010 07:55 AM

                                          I'm joining this conversation late but I learned to make what we call jao-tze from my mother-in-law back in the 70s. She was from Anhwei province so there may be regional differences.

                                          I make the dough, I find the purchased wrappers are just wrong. I mix flour (Canadian all-purpose) with boiling hot water. Twice as much flour as water. One advantage of making your own dough is that the wrappers can be pulled a little to cover if you have too much filling. Pulling a little as you fold also thins out the dough by the pleats. I use 6 cups of flour to 3 cups of water for about a pound of ground pork.

                                          The filling is a combination of grated cabbage and ground pork with onion, ginger, soy sauce and salt and pepper. I don't blanch the cabbage but my brother-in-law does and we both learned from the same woman. It doesn't seem to make a lot of difference. Go figure.

                                          All of the children have learned to wrap but when I am alone, I can do the whole meal for 4 in an hour so I wouldn't call this a particularly lengthy meal.

                                          We prefer boiled dumplings, the only fried ones my MIL made were the leftovers. The next day we fry them. We do a 3 boil method. I've never been sure the 3 boils are needed but we do it out of respect and it does keep the water temperature somewaht mroe even and rapid boiling can break the dumplings. To do 3 boils we add the dumplings into boiling water which stops the boiling. Then as the water comes up to the boil again we add a cup of cold water to stop it from boiling. The 3rd time it comes to a boil we serve them.

                                          The traditional dipping sauce in our family is 2 parts soy sauce to 1 part vinegar.

                                          We've had many wonderful family dinners teaching the kids to wrap and sitting at the table talking while we take turns adding water.

                                          17 Replies
                                          1. re: sharonanne
                                            t
                                            tt1688 Mar 2, 2010 08:37 AM

                                            Hi, I might be repeating things you already know, in which case, let's call them ticks for those less initiated :-) :
                                            1. Making your own wraps make a HUGE difference, but I wouldn't call the purchased ones "wrong" - just a trade off. It's more convenient, still edible, but not as fantastic as if you put in the labor yourself. A compromise is buying a locally made wraps instead of mass produced brands (that was frozen as hard as bricks). Those are mostly only available in markets like New York/Toronto/California/etc.
                                            2. Blanching the cabbage (or any vegetable you chose to be fillings) does not make sense. It'll make a difference if the vegetable is for stir fry later. But boiling inside of a dumplings? However, a technique on the vegetables make sense here: wash it with salt and then squeeze the water out of it. Basically removing water from the vegetable. Especially good idea for your (uncooked) left overs. Maybe you wouldn't need to fry them if your vegetables are dry enough.
                                            3. There are many different wrapping styles and since you are boiling them, I'd just use the easiest ones cuz the forms would be lost in boiling process anyway. If you can wrap them in the dim sum style, I suggest showing them off by steaming.
                                            4. When boiling the dumplings, adding a little oil and salt to the water. This would help the "selling image" (would cause dumplings to shine) and prevent dumplings from sticking together.

                                            1. re: tt1688
                                              sharonanne Mar 2, 2010 10:11 AM

                                              1. I called them wrong because typing all the reasons out would take too long. We're just not as happy with them and since it only takes an hour to make them I've never seen a reason to bother.
                                              2. Hey, I think it's faster and works just fine my way but this fellow was taught by his mother (who was a cooking instructor) so who am I to disagree even though I was taught by the same woman? Life is full of inconsistencies like this.
                                              3. The forms are so not lost in the boiling process. There is always one person new to wrapping who comes up with a creative design, usually but not always an S shape formed by pleated halfway on one side then finishing pleating on the other. We can ALWAYS find the different one and sometimes can tell one person's wrap style from another. Again, we like the texture that comes from boiling, you might not.
                                              4. If the dumplings are placed on a lightly floured board not touching each other they don't stick. They're already shiny so I don't see the point of adding oil. And I don't think the water needs salt. We like the contrast between the skins and the soy sauce.

                                              One thing cooks new to these will learn is there is no right way just many yummy dumplings. :-)

                                              1. re: tt1688
                                                ipsedixit Mar 2, 2010 12:49 PM

                                                1. Agree. Rolling your own wrappers is a MUST.

                                                2. Agree again. Blanching is not necessary.

                                                3. Disagree. There is only one proper way to wrap dumplings (e.g., crescent shaped, pleated like a fan). The shape is not "lost" during the boiling process. Also, what does "wrap them in dum sum style" mean? Do you mean shu-mai? Shu-mai are not dumplings, mind you.

                                                4. Disagree again. No salt to the water. No oil in the water. A drizzle of sesame oil once the dumplings have been plucked from the water is ok, and then tossed if you want a nice sheen.

                                                1. re: ipsedixit
                                                  t
                                                  tt1688 Mar 3, 2010 09:04 AM

                                                  3. No, I meant like a har gaw. Har gaw of course is not the dumplings we are talking about here but you can obviously wrap them the same way. And what I meant by the forms lost after boiling - I did not mean boiling make them total messes. :-) But they would not be as beautiful as dim sums, say har Gaw. I guess what we discuss here is more about fun, family oriented, solid home cooking. So on that ground I agree this point is not important.

                                                  4. Adding a drizzle of oil to the water when boiling is a restaurant technique. I was restaurant owner and I can tell you my relative's/friend's restaurants all do the same. Do they result in better food necessarily? Not always to everybody. I am simply providing an alternative you might want to play with. Also, I did not meat to use this to solve the problems of raw dumplings sticking together BEFORE cooking. It helps while you cook and after cook (and pile them into a plate and let dry a little). One can also argue that stirring the water can also prevent dumplings from sticking together during cooking. Well, stirring slow down the boil - now you see why a drop of oil is a restaurant solution ... :-) Also, a lot of water is important.

                                                  1. re: tt1688
                                                    ipsedixit Mar 3, 2010 11:38 AM

                                                    Well, har gow are not dumplings. So to say that boiling dumplings would lose their form, I still don't understand. My dumplings have never lost their form from boiling.

                                                    As to the oil, I grew up in restaurants making dumplings even before I knew how to ride a bike. We never added oil to the water. Never did this at home either.

                                                    1. re: ipsedixit
                                                      t
                                                      tt1688 Mar 4, 2010 02:05 PM

                                                      I give up. Obviously you are picking on my semantics. :-) What I meant is, steamed dumplings stay in its original form better than boiled. I guess that's agreeable? You wrap some dumplings, they look like this:
                                                      http://www.flickr.com/photos/olvwu/175007143/
                                                      after boil, they look like this:
                                                      http://www.flickr.com/photos/su-lin/2...
                                                      Now if steamed, they don't get soften that much. If that's not qualified for "loosing the forms", well, then it's not. :-) Just semantics.
                                                      Drizzle a bit of oil at the end or into the water - don't they result to the same? So on this topic we really agreed again.
                                                      Finally, if we don't agree. Nobody is really wrong. I will certainly try anybody's suggestions and see if I like it myself. If yes, perfect, if not, move on. Food is personal.

                                                      1. re: tt1688
                                                        t
                                                        taiwanesesmalleats Mar 5, 2010 12:04 PM

                                                        It's funny, when I saw the first picture, my gut reaction was those are folded wrong.
                                                        EDIT: When I say folded wrong, it's because it looks as if the tops were just sealed together rather than pleated.

                                                        As for the oil thing, I think scientifically that's been disproven. Oil floats on top of the water while everything is boiling together and not really "lubricating" the individual dumplings. The same thing applies to pasta. If anything, all the oil does is break up surface tension and prevents bubble formation which would be advantageous especially with all the starch floating around in restaurant cooking water.

                                                        1. re: taiwanesesmalleats
                                                          ipsedixit Mar 5, 2010 12:45 PM

                                                          When I was a kid making these at home, my mom was a total stickler about how I wrapped and pleated the dumplings.

                                                          One time, I made maybe about 150 dumplings (2 full trays worth), and was ready to call it a day, but when my mom caught a glimpse of those dumplings, she made start completely over because the pleats were not even. Gack. I literally had to rip about the dumpling skins, dump out the raw pork fillings, make another batch of dough, roll out the skins ... you get the picture.

                                                          Under my mom's watchful eye, I quickly learned that dumplings must (and I stress "must") be made in (i) uniform shape (ii) with neat, proper pleating and (iii) and never ever squeezed together lest you want to end up "drinking dumpling soup" instead of eating dumplings.

                                                          1. re: ipsedixit
                                                            t
                                                            taiwanesesmalleats Mar 5, 2010 01:06 PM

                                                            Somehow, I escaped my mother's wrath as a child. My dad was not so lucky. :P

                                                            I do regret it now though. I'm not around them enough to be able to really learn the technique correctly.

                                                          2. re: taiwanesesmalleats
                                                            sharonanne Mar 5, 2010 01:47 PM

                                                            The fellow who posted the pictures origially said he was too hungry to properly wrap them so he just folded them over.

                                                            My experience is that folding isn't any faster than proper wrapping once you get some experience.

                                                            While the pictures demonstrate the change that happens to boiled dumplings there are no pictures of steamed dumplings to compare. Boiling makes the dumplings take on more water so the skins become thicker and that changes the appearance more than steaming. To us, they taste better so we're willing to accept the minor change in appearance.

                                                            I still take issue with the statement that the 'forms are lost' in boiling.

                                                            1. re: sharonanne
                                                              t
                                                              tt1688 Mar 12, 2010 06:29 PM

                                                              I still take issue with the statement that the 'forms are lost' in boiling.
                                                              -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

                                                              I am not sure how you approach this board. I personally think we are just "chatting" here. If you already know what I really meant, why still take issue with my "statement"? I was not making any "statement" here... :-) chill.

                                                              1. re: tt1688
                                                                sharonanne Mar 13, 2010 01:43 PM

                                                                "One thing cooks new to these will learn is there is no right way just many yummy dumplings. :-)"

                                                        2. re: ipsedixit
                                                          Chemicalkinetics Mar 5, 2010 09:03 PM

                                                          ipsedixit,

                                                          It all depends what you means by dumplings. Dumpling actually has a very wide definition. Actually, everything from Har Gow, to Shu Mai to Wonton are all defined by the word: dumpling.

                                                          Didn't we have this conversation before?

                                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                            K K Mar 8, 2010 11:59 AM

                                                            Haha there is always a debate about this, depending on your Chinese ethnic origin. I find that the Cantonese based chowhounds always get into a battle with the Northerner (non Canto) types and vice versa.

                                                            Just for the hell of it, if you look up 餃子 jiaozi in the Chinese wikipedia, it does not mention dim sum as a "dumpling" if dumpling is defined by jiaozi. Now if you look up the English entry of gyoza, they do mention that by definition ha gow are dumplings.

                                                            English wiki page for dumplings also mentions that various dim sum are considered dumplings.

                                                            It's all about semantics. 餃子 by definition dates back to ancient times in China. Dim sum probalby has a shorter history, and definitely Cantonese style won tons (per WIKI entry, introduced post WWII as street food) vs Northern style won tons (Sichuan or Shanghainese for example) that probably have longer histories, and maybe where ipsi is coming from.

                                                            But I agree, ha gow, siu mai, wonton....all dumplings in my book.

                                                            1. re: K K
                                                              Chemicalkinetics Mar 8, 2010 12:43 PM

                                                              K_K,

                                                              I really don't see it as a Chinese norther vs souther thing. I just think if we are going to use the English words dumpling, then we probably should go by the English definition. Seriously, how would a Chinese like it if an Italian comes and defines the word Jiaozi. I think it is perfectly fine to tell someone that Shu Mai is not a Jiaozi because Jiaozi has a certain definition and Shu Mai may or may not satisfy these criteria. I think that is fine, but I think it is strange to tell an English speaking person the definition of dumpling and tell them that they cannot use the word to describe something. From a personal level, I really don't care one way or the other, but I think we can be a bit more open about this.

                                                              I know plenty Chinese call ravioli as Italian Jiaozi: 義大利餃. Should an Italian tell Chinese that they cannot use that term 餃 (Jiao) to describe ravioli?

                                                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                r
                                                                redbeanbun Mar 11, 2010 10:05 AM

                                                                Chemicalkinetics, you are funny! My fam hearkens from Shandong and Shanghai and the debate seems endless until you get into the debate on how you eat them. On ravioli...you reminded me of those remote mid-western brown sauce chinese restaurants that list potstickers as "Chinese Ravioli" on the menu. I had the get the chinese back-translation to learn what it was.

                                                                1. re: redbeanbun
                                                                  t
                                                                  tt1688 Mar 12, 2010 06:20 PM

                                                                  for the folks who understand Chinese:
                                                                  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fG2vsU...
                                                                  Ah Ki Sai added salt and oil too. :-) Not that he is absolutely right, but just to prove what we are doing is not made up. A certain "school" of cooks do this. If you chose not to - that's what make the food world great - variety. Just like tips from the original poster's Mother in law, blanching vegetable first might be a good thing for certain people's tastes.

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