Boiled dumplings and pot sticker recipes, great for school/work lunches or as a snack

First thing is to make or buy the dumpling skin this recipe makes at least 40 skins, buying them is easier but especially if you have a few people to help, its more fun and more tasty to make them yourself!

The steps where the number is bold/underlined can be done as a production line with one person doing each step then passing on to the next person, this is how it is commonly done at Chinese dinner parties.

For the dumpling skins

  • 3 cups plain flour 
  • 1 cup boiling water
1. Place the flour in a bowl, then stir the flour while adding water steadily, pausing in between if the water has not been fully absorbed yet, continue until the flour is nice and moist (fairly lumpy), knead until the water comes together, if it is too sticky, add more flour, if it is not coming together, add slightly more water until it does.

2. Continue kneading until dough is smooth and elastic, put it in a covered bowl or ziplock bag and let it rest for 30 mins or so.

3. Cut up the dough into 5 sections, roll each section out into a 1 inch diameter snake, then cut it up with each piece being about 1 inch thick as well. Roll the pieces between your palms to make them into balls, then bash your palm onto it to flatten each ball.

4. Using a floured rolling pin on a lightly floured surface, roll each piece until it is fairly thin, it should be maybe 3 inches diameter, and a couple of mm thick, they need to be able to hold the filling so use your judgement.

For the actual dumplings

  • Around 400g minced pork
  • 1.5 inches of finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 5 spring onions, chopped
  • 2 cups chopped chinese leaf, can be substituted for other veg like celery
  • Black or white pepper, a pinch or 1/4 teaspoon approx
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine
  • 1.5 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 50 or so dumpling skins
  • Small bowl or dish with lightly floured water in
  • Pot of boiling water (not needed until most of the dumplings have been made)
1. Make sure your chinese leaf isn't too damp, you can use kitchen towel or squeeze it after chopping it up to get the moisture out. Combine pork, chinese leaf, soy sauce, rice wine, sesame oil, ginger, spring onions, salt and pepper, stir until mixed.

2. Take one dumpling skin, and put a heaped teaspoon of the pork mixture in the center, making sure there is at least 1cm space around it, ideally a little more. If there is not enough space put less filling on the next one. 

3. Dip a finger into the water/flour dish and run it around the edge of the skin so that half of the edge is wet, fold the wrapper over itself without pressing it closed, then from one end make a pleat in the side closer to you, then press it into the other side, continue until the dumpling is completely sealed and pinch together firmly. Continue until you run out of skins, filling or hopefully both at the same time.

4.  Put about 10-15 dumplings into the pot of boiling water, or as many such that there is still room for them to move around. When the water boils again add a mug of cold water to the pot, add 2-3 cups of cold water in total each time the water boils and the dumplings will be cooked. Remove with a slotted spoon.

5. Serve with a dip of 1/2 chinese vinegar, 1/2 soy sauce, a little sesame oil and Lao Gan Ma.

Guo tie or pot stickers

Follow the same recipe as above but when it comes time to put the dumplings in the boiling water instead...

1. Preheat a flat bottomed non stick frying pan or skillet on a medium heat, add oil so the whole of the bottom is covered, maybe 1.5mm deep.

2. Arrange the dumplings close together with the sealed edge pointing upwards, cover and cook for 4 minutes. About 2 mins in check how brown they are, they should not be burned, if they are browning very quickly proceed to the next step.

3. Add about 3mm of water while using the lid as a shield as this will spit at you and it is terrifying, cover again and turn the heat down to low (or so the water is simmering) for another 4 minutes, then uncover and cook for another 3 mins to evaporate any remaining water, if the water is gone then you can stir/turn the dumplings so not just the browned area is on the pan.

4. Serve with dip or on its own, these are amazing plain and even cold.

Other dumpling filling ideas

Try adding some chopped shrimp at a ratio of 1:3 shrimp to pork, which adds a nice additional flavour.

Dumplings with chicken. Cut chicken breast into very small pieces then stir fry in a little oil and about 2 tablespoons soy sauce, let it cool down a bit then combine with the same ingredients as the pork dumplings except the rice wine, add a little oyster sauce (1 teaspoon), then wrap them and cook the same as pork.

This is good with Chinese leaf but even tastier with chopped up shiitake mushroom, soak the mushrooms in hot water for 30 mins, drain and mince them and combine with all the other ingredients as usual, shiitake mushrooms can be added to any dumpling recipe in this fashion.

Pulled pork dumplings. This is a little untraditional but still good, make some pulled pork in the slow cooker, I add more Chinese flavourings rather than the usual BBQ sauce so I put in some Lao Gan Ma, some soy sauce and other similar ingredients from the normal dumpling recipe. I throw in some coriander then wrap and cook as usual.

You can substitute other meats pretty freely, just chop them up quite small and I typically cook them a little first as they don't cook as well in the dumpling form as pork mince does. Some other combinations to try:

  • Lamb and carrot 
  • Pork and coriander/dill
  • Pork and kimchi or preserved vegetable, I'd advise you fry this one
  • Kimchi and tofu
  • Pork, prawn, chive and egg
  • Pork and chive
  • Pork and sauerkraut coriander/dill/preserved vegetable
  • Shiitake mushroom, vermicelli, wood ear, spicy things
  • Crab (like the cheap crabstick things)
  • Beef and shrimp
  • Beef and onion
  • Spicy minced pork (fry pork with soy sauce, Lao Gan Ma, sugar, salt, chilli powder)
  • Tofu, chinese leaf, edamame, rice noodle