In China, the term ‘dumplings’ refers to boiled dumplings (also known as Shui Jiao in Mandarin). It is one of the most popular Chinese dishes and a staple diet in the country. For a newbie to dumplings, potstickers or boiled dumplings might appear tasty, but the ultimate comfort food for any Chinese is boiled dumplings. The best-tasting dumplings will have the hot soup dripping from the filling with every bite.
Dumpling wrappers are handmade to the right thickness, shape, and tenderness. The filling inside the dumplings strikes the right balance among flavor, heat, vegetables, and meat. Almost every Chinese family enjoys boiled dumplings when they celebrate the Chinese New Year.
Here's our ultimate Chinese dumpling recipe you can try to make your dumplings from scratch with the help of essential ingredients and good quality bakeware.
Serves 70 – 80 dumplings
For the dough
- All-purpose flour – 500 grams
- Water – 265 ml at room temperature
For the filling
- Leafy vegetables – 3 lbs
- Ground meat – 1.5 pounds
- Shaoxing Wine – 3 cups
- Oil – 1/2 cup
- Sesame oil – 3 tablespoons
- Salt – 1 tablespoon
- Soy sauce – 3 tablespoons
- White pepper – 1/4th teaspoon
- Water – 3 cups
For the sauce
- Light soy sauce – 3 tablespoons
- Chinese rice vinegar – 2 tablespoons
- Sesame oil – 2 teaspoons
- Hot chili oil – 1 teaspoon
- Garlic (minced) – 2 cloves
For preparing the dough for dumplings
- In a large bowl, add the flour and pour water while mixing with a pair of chopsticks.
- Once you’ve mixed well, knead to form the dough. It has to be tough and should not stick to the bottom of the bowl while lifting.
- Dust the surface as well as your hands with flour before kneading. Put the dough on the surface and knead for about 10 minutes until it turns smooth.
- Now take a large bowl and dust the base with flour. Pour the dough into it. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and a plastic wrap (or a lid) and let it rest for 2-4 hours.
- The dough will be smoother by now. Dust the surface and your hands with flour. Knead the dough for about 30 minutes until it becomes hard. Let it rest for 30 minutes.
For preparing the filling
- Wash the vegetables under running water for 2 minutes. Squeeze out as much water as you can.
- Chop the vegetables finely with a chopping knife. The finer, the better.
- Add your meat now. It can be ground pork, chicken or beef but just ensure that it’s not too lean. If it is, then the filling will become extremely dry. Change the meat-to-vegetable ratio as per your requirements. If you are a vegetarian, you can completely avoid this step. Now mix well.
- Add Shaoxing wine, sesame oil, oil, soy sauce, water, and white pepper to the mixture.
- Mix for 6 – 8 minutes until the mixture becomes a paste and the texture is soft and smooth.
For preparing the dumplings
- Dust the surface and put the dough on it. Cut one-sixth of the dough and put the remaining back into the large bowl.
- Roll the dough to form a large stick measuring 1 inch in diameter and 2.5 – 3 inches in length.
- Use a knife to cut the stick into 12 smaller doughs. Each dough must be of the same size.
- Dust both sides of the small dough with floor and work on one at a time.
- Dust the surface again with flour, take one dough and press it to form a disc. Use a rolling pin to roll it to a round sheet. Try making the center thicker than the edges. The wrapper must be 1 mm thick and around 7 centimeters in diameter.
- Take one tablespoon of the filling and place it at the center. Hold the dumpling at the center and start sealing it slowly. Make sure the filling remains at the center all the time. After one round of folding, press the edges again to seal well.
- Work on the remaining small doughs following the same method.
- Take a pot of water and bring it to a boil.
- Add the dumplings one at a time to the water. Use a ladle to stir the water gently and ensure that the dumpling does not stick to the bottom of the pot. Adjust heat such a way that the water remains at a boiling point without bubbling too much.
- Continue boiling until the dumplings float to the surface and the dough turns transparent. At this point, boil for one more minute.
- Now put it to a plate immediately. Do not delay because this may cause the dumplings to start breaking apart.
- Add the next batch of dumplings and continue.
- Employ different kitchen tools and gadgets to make cooking easier.
For preparing the sauce
- Take a small bowl and mix soy sauce, garlic, vinegar, sesame oil, and hot chili oil.
- Whisk until they are well combined.
Why you should not cook boiled dumplings?
- Making boiled dumplings requires a good amount of skill and practice unlike for steamed dumplings or potstickers. Wrap the dumplings in a manner that they do not break apart during the boiling process.
- Since the prepared dough dries up extremely fast, the process of cooking boiled dumplings usually requires teamwork. One person can do the wrapping while the other one rolls the dough.
- Making boiled dumplings takes a lot of time. The above recipe takes about 4 hours and 20 minutes. Also, since dumplings are easy and light to consume, you have to make a large number of dumplings for one person.
Why you should cook boiled dumplings?
- Making dumplings is worth all of this effort because they are delicious. They are best to have after a long day at work or during the weekends to relax.
- Dumplings can involve your entire family into making them and it can be really fun. Give each person a particular responsibility and throughout the cooking process, there will be a lot of laughter and chatting.
- Dumplings are high on protein and low on calories. They contain minimal to no oil, unlike potstickers. Overall, they are healthy and provide a good nutritional balance.
Things You Should Remember
- Make sure that the dough rests enough. The longer it rests, the smoother it will be.
- The dough must be on the tougher side before filling it with the filling. If too soft, the dumplings won’t be able to keep their shape and it will be difficult to wrap them as well.
- Since the dough dries out fast, do not let them rest for too long before boiling. It is best to work in teams for this stage.
- Cook in small batches so the dumplings do not stick to the bottom of the pot.
- Dumplings cook quickly, so keep your eyes on the pot while they are cooking. Overcook and the dumplings will start breaking apart.
- If you use a dumpling maker, ensure that it is of good quality.
Successfully executing this Chinese dumpling recipe requires skills. Try making dumplings a few times and you will soon master the skill. All the hard work will be rewarding enough because the taste is unmatchable. You can tweak a bit while making the filling for tastier dumplings. Get started with making dumplings using this basic dumpling recipe today!