Chinese dumplings (jiaozi/饺子) is one of my favorite food year round and a must have item for Chinese New Year. There are so many varieties for the filling be it vegetarian or non-vegetarian, and this is such a versatile food that you can have it for breakfast, lunch, dinner, as snacks, or even supper. They can be served steamed, boiled, or pan fried. It is a good idea to make a huge batch, freeze unused ones, and cook some whenever you have a craving for some dumplings.
Dumpling wrappers can be made from scratch using all purpose flour and water, or can be bought ready made from stores. Honestly, I bought them most of the times since I can get lazy, but it is very easy to make them at home. Simply combine all purpose flour and water, knead into smooth non-sticky dough, cover with a saran wrap, and proof for 1 hour. Take tablespoonful of dough, roll into a thin sheet with a rolling pin, I use a 7-inch round-cutter so I get the wrappers all in the same size. It is okay if you don’t use a round cutter, just try to roll the dough as round and as uniform as you can. You should get about 40 wrappers for this recipe. If you want to stack the wrappers, remember to dust each wrapper with a thin layer of corn starch or potato starch so they don’t end up sticking together. If you have another person helping, one person can shape the wrapper, and the other can fill and wrap the dumpling, so there is no need to stack the wrappers :)
There are many ways to wrap a dumpling, but I usually place the filling at the center, fold the wrapper into a half circle shape and pinch at the middle point of the half circle, and then pleat and pinch twice at both sides of the center point. Luckily, there are many YouTube videos showing how to fold dumplings if you need some help :)
Many ways to cook dumplings
Dumplings can be served steamed, boiled, or pan fried. I love pan fried version the most, so this is what the recipe is going to focus on. You will need a non-stick frying pan or a well-seasoned cast iron skillet to pan fry the dumplings. If you have both, I recommend going with cast iron skillet. Add a little bit of oil to the skillet on medium heat, place dumplings on the skillet and cook for 2 minutes, pour a thin layer of water, cover the skillet to steam the dumplings. Once water has evaporated, remove the lid. If the bottom of the dumplings have not turned golden brown, turn the heat up to medium-high, and cook until the bottom is golden brown and crispy. Serve hot with a simple dipping sauce made from a mixture of soy sauce, black vinegar, sesame oil, and sambal oelek.
The recipe: vegetarian dumplings
- 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup lukewarm water
- potato starch/corn starch, for dusting
- 3 tablespoon oil
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger
- 2 cups diced onion
- 2 cups diced shiitake (*)
- 1 1/2 cup shredded carrot
- 1 1/2 cup shredded cabbage
- 1 cup thinly sliced scallions, green part only
- 3 tablespoon Shaoxing
- 2 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 2 tablespoon oil
- Dipping sauce (mix together)
- 2 tablespoon soy sauce
- 3 tablespoon dark vinegar
- 3 tablespoon sambal oelek
- 2 teaspoon sesame oil
- Slowly add water to flour in a mixing bowl. Knead into a smooth and non-sticky dough, about 10-15 minutes. Cover the bowl with a saran wrap and let it proof for 1 hour.
- Take a tablespoonful of dough, roll into a thin sheet with a rolling pin. Use a 7-inch round cutter to cut rolled dough into round wrapper. Repeat until all the dough is used up.
- To stack the wrappers, remember to dust each wrapper with a thin layer of potato starch/corn starch so they don't stick together.
- Heat 3 tablespoon oil in a wok/frying pan over medium high heat. Sauté ginger for 30 seconds, add onion and cook until translucent, add shiitake and cook until all the liquid has evaporated, add carrot and cabbage and cook until wilted.
- Transfer cooked vegetable to a mixing bowl, add scallions, Shaoxing, soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, salt, and ground white pepper. Mix well. Taste to see if you need to increase the amount of salt. Then add 2 tablespoon of oil, and mix again. Wrap with a saran wrap and chill in the fridge until cool.
- Take a tablespoon of filling and place at the center of the wrapper. Fold the wrapper into a half circle shape and pinch the middle point of the half circle. Pleat and pinch twice at each side of the half circle. Repeat until wrapper/filling is used up.
- Heat 2 tablespoon oil in a non-stick pan/well-seasoned cast iron skillet on medium heat.
- Place dumplings on the pan/skillet, and cook for 2 minutes.
- Pour a thin layer of water into the pan/skillet, cover and let the dumplings steam until all the liquid has evaporated.
- Remove the lid. Check if the bottom of the dumplings have turned golden brown. If not, turn the heat to medium-high, and cook until the bottoms are crispy and golden brown.
- Serve hot with dipping sauce.
- (*) About 50 gram dried shiitake. Soak overnight with plenty of water to rehydrate.