Living in China twice has afforded me a magnificent opportunity to taste the true cuisine of that country.
I know a majority of people who haven’t lived in China, let alone set a single foot on the mainland, love dim sum.
What we don’t love is the price of seven dumplings at a restaurant.
I’m just going to say it. Dumplings are too expensive at restaurants. And compared to what you can make at home, they certainly aren’t the best thing on the planet. Even so, I still love them just like everyone else.
But what I love more than eating dumplings is making them and sharing how to make them with the people I love.
When I make dumplings, which became a staple food for my family and friends, I make sure to involve everyone in the process of making my dumplings. If they choose not to help stuff them, they can’t have a single bite.
The reason why, you ask?
As a Peace Corps Volunteer, one of our goals was to bring the country back with us and teach our own circles and communities about this place we have grown to love, and I certainly grew to love China very much.
This dumpling recipe was given to me by a close friend of mine in Chongqing. The beauty of this recipe, once you master it, is you can start concocting your own fillings.
And with my recipe, you can make up to 40 dumplings for around 10 dollars. As opposed to seven dumplings at a restaurant for 10 dollars.
猪肉饺子 (Pork Dumplings)
1 package of dumpling wrappers (My favorite are from Kwan Sang Noodle Company out of Denver, but any circular dumplings should do as long as they are soft)
1 pound of ground pork
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 leek stalk
Salt and pepper
Huy Fong Chili Garlic Sauce
Start boiling a small pot of water. While your water is boiling, cut off the white part of your leek stalk and clean the green part of the leeks. Once you have washed them, cut the green part of your leek into small pieces. When the water comes to a boil, place the leeks in the water and cook them until they are tender. Do not let them cook to mush. If you cannot find leeks, green onions will do; just don’t boil them.
While the leeks are cooking, mince your ginger and garlic. You can use as much as you want, depending on your tastes.
Once the leeks are complete, drain and rinse them with cold water. When they are cool to the touch, squeeze as much water out of the leeks as possible. If you do not, there will be too much water in your dumplings, which could cause issues when cooking them.
In a large bowl, combine your raw pork, egg, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, cooked leeks, salt, and pepper. Combine the ingredients well using your hands.
Next, get a small bowl of water to help seal your dumpling wrappers.
Use chopsticks to place little balls of your filling into the center of your wrapper. Wet half of the wrapper, fold the wrapper in half and pinch the top. Take the side of the wrapper nearest to you, fold it toward the center, and pinch. Repeat on both sides until the dumpling is closed. If the dumplings are not closed all the way, water will get in and your filling will fall out while it boils.
Bring a large pot of water to boil while you are wrapping your dumplings. When it’s time to boil them, add about 8 to 10 to the water (any more added and the dumplings will cook too slow). Make sure you give them a stir so they don’t stick to the bottom. Once the dumplings float to the top of the water, let them boil there for two to three minutes to ensure the pork is cooked through.
Fish them out and place them on a platter. Do this until all dumplings are cooked.
For the sauce, use any of the ingredients listed above. It really depends on your taste! Combine them into a small bowl, mix, and use as your sauce.
salt and pepper
Finely chop the vegetables and saute in a pan with some oil. Cook until tender. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Complete the same stuffing method from above. When boiling the dumplings, wait until they float to the top. They will not need to float for a few minutes since the filling is already cooked through.
If you’re looking for a vegan dough option, and can’t seem to find eggless dumpling wrappers anywhere, here is a vegan dough recipe for you.
Best shared with someone you love.