If I could only eat a few things for the rest of my life, homemade Chinese dumplings would be at the top of that list, but that wasn’t always the case.
I had the fortune to spend some time with an amazing Chinese woman. Our husbands work together and I happen to meet her when she came to our end of summer party. She always brings something amazing and insisted that we come for supper one night. Plans were made and she told me to come early so I could learn how to make a few of her family favorites. Of course I took her up on the offer!
Before then, I had tried my hand at Asian food and while I didn’t fail miserably, something was off. It never tasted quite right and I was always disappointed. Seems like I was over thinking everything. When you see how few ingredients going into making these Chinese dumplings and the dipping sauce, you’re going to be just as amazed as I was.
That night she showed me how to make these Chinese dumplings, then Chinese BBQ pork and finally, a version of Bibimbap that was taught to her by a Korean chef. Seems like I was over thinking everything. While I thought Chinese dumplings needed scallions, garlic, ginger and a whole slew of other ingredients, the reality was that I only needed a couple.
The best Chinese dumplings are made with a mixture of beef and pork. Ground chicken works well and I have used a mix of venison and pork with great success, but I still default to beef and pork. Once you have that, all you need to do is shred up some carrot and onion, season with salt and pepper, add in a splash of water and vegetable oil and you’re done.
It takes just a few minutes to put the filling together. In fact, the hardest part of the whole dumpling experience was getting the folds created properly. Once you do it a few times, you’ll become a master and can turn out a sheet pan of dumplings in less than 30 minutes.
To seal the dumplings, first, dip your fingers in some water and use it to moisten the edges of the wrapper. Then, fold the wrapper in half, starting from one side and pressing closed all the way around the dumpling. This ensures you’re pressing all the air out. To make the pleats, you basically fold the edge back onto itself, pressing hard to seal. It takes some practice so don’t get discouraged if they don’t look perfect right out the gate.
This freeze really well too, therefore I often make a double batch. That way, whenever you have a hankering for some dumplings, just pull them right from the freezer. It only takes an extra minute or two for them to cook from frozen, and the dipping sauce is made in seconds so you can enjoy a plate-full of dumplings any time you want. What’s not to love about that?!?!?!
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The best ever homemade Chinese dumplings are easier to make than you might expect. Great recipe to double and freeze so you always have them on hand!
- 1/2 lb ground beef
- 1/2 lb ground pork
- 2 large carrots (peeled)
- 1 yellow onion
- 1/4 c water (plus more for steaming the dumplings)
- 1/4 c veg oil (plus more for cooking the dumplings)
- salt and pepper
- 1 lb round dumpling wrappers
- 2 large garlic cloves
- 1-2 dried chilie de arbol
- 1 tbs veg or peanut oil
- 1/4 c black vinegar
- 2 tbs soy sauce or tamari
- Peel the carrot and cut into a few piece before placing into a food processor. Use the processor to ‘grate’ the carrot into very fine pieces.
- Do the same to the onion.
- Add the carrot, onion, water, veg oil, salt and pepper to the beef and pork.
- Mix everything together really well.
- Place about 1 tbs of filling into the center of the dumpling wrapper.
- Moisten the wrapper with a bit of water and fold in half.
- Create 4 pleats, pressing tightly to seal.
- Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and into the freezer until frozen, before transferring to a ziptop bag.
- When ready to cook, heat a small amount of vegetable or peanut oil in a lidded, flat bottomed saute pan, over medium high heat.
- Place the dumplings in a single layer and cook until the bottoms are browned. About 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add in enough water to cover the bottom of the pan and place the lid on to trap the steam and finish cooking the dumplings.
- For the dipping sauce, finely break up the dried chilie and either mince the garlic or use a press and place into a heat safe bowl.
- Add in 1 tbs of hot oil to flash cook the chilie and garlic, then add in the black vinegar and soy/tamari.
- If you like a spicier dipping sauce, increase the amounts of chilie and garlic to your liking.
- Serve along the cooked dumplings.