Baking with Chickens
Chinese Dumplings with Mama Wong
Updated: Aug 28, 2020
My mom is going to teach you how to make Chinese-style pork, shrimp and cabbage dumplings! Something you should know. Mama Wong hates the camera. She hid from my in the laundry room until I could convince her to film this episode with me and show you how to make Chinese dumplings from scratch. So the fact that she's willing to be on camera for this episode (on the condition that we don't show her face) and teach you how to make this is a BIG deal.
My mom said something that I need to share. This is very important. As I was convincing her to do this with me she said, "There are so many other videos showing how to make Chinese dumplings that are better than me. Their videos are better. Why do it when someone else has already done it?"
Important PSA About Fear:
WHOA. Stop the bus. That is FEAR speaking. She's giving up before she even tries. Just because someone else did something first or better doesn't mean that you or I shouldn't also try or do it. If you don't do something just because someone else has done it, then you'll NEVER do anything meaningful ever. Might as well sit on your hands and crumple over now. Doing and imitating, improving, innovating, learning, and having a unique point of view are all part of the human experience. For goodness sakes just do something! Don't be paralyzed by your fear of the unknown or your fear of failing. Trust in yourself and jump. If you fail, dust yourself off and try again.
I'm proud of my mom for pushing past her fear to do this for me. As a result you're all going to learn how to make dumplings!
How to Make Chinese Dumplings from Scratch
These are easy to make, just a time consuming to fold them all. You can make a big batch and freeze them for later. Dumplings are my lazy person's luxurious dinner because all I have to do is boil a pot of water, toss in the frozen dumplings, and in several minutes I have a hearty, comforting meal that reminds me of my mom.
There are many ways to fold dumplings from beginning level to advanced, you can even buy dumpling molds that make it easy. In this, we cover two ways to fold: a crescent moon shape, and a fan shape. They are both easy beginner level folds.
Get the No Recipe Recipe
Yep, it's another recipe that has no recipe! You make it by feeling and instinct, just like the Chinese Scallion Pancake recipe. It's technique and memories passed down from generation to generation, person to person.
These are instructions for how to make the Chinese dumpling filling, fold, and cook to eat. It's easier and recommended to buy pre-made round dumpling wrappers from the store. If you'd like to make the dough from scratch, use the same dough recipe from Scallion Pancake. Just pinch off smaller pieces of dough and roll into a flat dumpling size.
Time to Prepare: 2 hours (depending on number of wrappers)
Authentic, homemade Chinese dumplings from scratch using a Fan fold and 2-Pleated Crescent Fold. How to make the filling, fold the dumplings, and cook - boil or pan-fry. A Baking With Chickens Original Recipe.
One package of ground pork or chicken
Shrimp (small - fresh or frozen/thawed)
Napa cabbage, chopped
Chinese Rice Wine or white wine
Salt & Pepper
Chinese Five Spice (optional, this is my own addition because I like the flavor)
One package of Chinese Dumpling Wrappers* (round)
Small bowl of water for dipping your finger in to seal the dumplings
Mix the ground meat, shrimp, napa cabbage and mushrooms in a bowl.
Proportions approximately 50% pork, 30% shrimp, 10% cabbage, 10% mushroom (you can mix to your own liking).
Season the mixture with generous splash of soy sauce and rice wine.
Sprinkle a little cornstarch to help congeal the mixture when cooked.
Season with a sprinkle of sugar, salt and pepper to taste.
OPTIONAL: I like to add Chinese Five Spice seasoning to the mix for added flavor. Up to you!
Mix it together well.
Put a small spoonful of the mixture in the middle of the wrapper.
Dip your finger in the small bowl of water and wet the edge, like you would an envelope
2-PLEAT CRESCENT MOON FOLD: Seal the top and bottom edges like a taco. Push in the sides to make a "Y" shape on both ends. Fold two of the "Y" wings towards the middle of the dumpling, seal and stick it to the dumpling with a little water.
FAN FOLD: Seal the top and bottom edges like a taco. using your thumb and forefinger press the seams together to seal the edges.
Set finished dumplings aside lined up neatly on a pan lined with wax/parchment paper.
HOW TO COOK DUMPLINGS:
To cook, boil a pot of water. Toss in fresh dumplings, bring back to a rolling boil.
When they float strain out the dumplings and eat with soy sauce, vinegar, chili oil, XO sauce, whatever sauces you like.
To freeze for later: Place pan of dumplings into the freezer on the pan. When frozen, transfer the frozen dumplings into an airtight container/bag.
To cook from frozen, put frozen dumplings into a pot of boiling water. When they float, let them cook a few minutes longer to fully cook the meat inside.
To pan-fry dumplings, buy the thicker dumpling skins for pan-frying. Cook in a non-stick pan on medium heat with some water to "steam" them. When they're cooked and there's no water in the pan (or drain out the water from the pan), add oil and cook the dumplings until golden brown. Hot oil may splatter, cover the pan!
*Mama Wong says it's easier and better to buy the pre-made wrappers. You could make dumpling wrapper dough from scratch and roll them out one by one but it's a pain in the ass. Just buy them. If you're just boiling, buy the thinner wrappers. If you want pan-fried potstickers, buy the thicker wrappers. I've also used square wonton wrappers in a pinch if I can't find round ones. Also works, just a different folding technique.
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