These dumplings are formed into little “purses” and are filled with a simple yet flavorful filling of ground pork, chives, cabbage and ginger. They are like an “almost but not quite” version of Chinese sheng jian bao - extremely juicy, but not to the level of the pan-fried soup dumplings.
These dumplings are formed into little “purses” and are filled with a simple yet flavorful filling of ground pork, chives, cabbage and ginger. They are like an “almost but not quite” version of Chinese sheng jian bao – extremely juicy, but not to the level of the pan-fried soup dumplings.
The dumplings in this recipe have a slightly thicker skin than most other pan-fried ones and store-bought dumpling wrappers like sheng jian bao but again are not traditional, just a simply filled dumpling I have been making recently and topping with some of my favorite things. I choose to serve them topped with spicy crunchy chili oil, sesame oil, chives and sesame seeds with soy sauce for dipping.
What’s in these dumplings?
Diced chives (diced green onions work as well!)
Finely shredded green cabbage
How to Pan-Fry Dumplings
First the folded dumplings are fried until they’re golden brown and crispy on the bottom. Then water is added to the pan and covered so the dumplings steam. The skin will become chewy while the water evaporates and the bottoms of the dumplings easily release from the pan.
How to Freeze Dumplings
If you aren’t eating the dumplings right away, be sure to freeze them so they don’t stick to the plate. They take just about the same amount of time to cook from frozen as from fresh. You can take them directly from the freezer and proceed with the cooking directions.
Tips for folding dumplings:
Wet the dough with a little water to help the dough stick.
Make sure you hands are clean when folding the dough around the meat filling.
To fold them like I have in the photos, I hold the wrapper with the filling in the middle in one hand and make the pleats with the first three fingers of my other hand (i’m lefty so I use my left hand to pleat) turning the dumpling in my right hand as I pull the dough together.
An easier way is to fold it with the dumpling wrapper on a surface and use your thumb and index fingers of both hands to pull the dough together to make the pleats.
Once the circle is completed I do a little pinch to make sure it is totally sealed (you don’t want any filling spilling out during cooking) and flatten the top with my thumb to make that top little indent circle.
What sauces to serve dumplings with:
Soy sauce – an easy and classic option. Dress it up with a little garlic or ginger.
Black vinegar – Chinese black vinegar or Chinkiang vinegar is made from fermented sticky rice. It’s mildly acidic and just a bit sweet making it a great pairing for dumplings.
Crunchy chili oil – this can be store-bought or you can find my recipe for the crisp, flavorful topping here.
Chili oil – found in stores or made by heating red pepper flakes and sesame oil together and straining out the red pepper.
Sift the flour into a medium bowl; set aside. In a separate bowl or liquid measuring cup, combine the boiling water and salt, and stir until the salt is completely dissolved. Slowly stir ½ cup of the hot, salted water into the flour, stirring with a rubber spatula (add additional water one tablespoon at a time if the dough is too dry).
Once the dough begins to come together, use your hands to form the dough into a ball. Transfer the dough to a clean work surface and knead for about 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and pliable. Cut the dough in half and wrap each with plastic wrap and let sit for 30 minutes.
Sprinkle a workspace with cornstarch and unwrap the dough. Roll each half into a long log about 1” in diameter. Cut each log crosswise into 14 one-inch wide pieces. Cover the pieces of dough with a damp kitchen towel so the dough does not dry out.
Form each piece into a ball, flatten slightly, then use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a circle. Sprinkle the dough lightly with additional cornstarch if it begins to stick. Use a 3 ½-inch circle cookie cutter to cut a perfect circle from the dough. Remove the excess dough and discard. Sprinkle the finished wrapper lightly with cornstarch.
Cover with a damp towel and repeat the process, stacking each wrapper on top of the previous one until all of the dough has been used. Keep the wrappers under the damp towel while combining the filling.
For the pork & chive filling:
In a large bowl combine the pork, chives, cabbage, ginger and rice vinegar. Season with salt and mix by hand until just combined. Let sit for about 15 minutes so the cabbage wilts just a bit.
For assembly and serving:
Working one wrapper at a time, scoop about 1 tablespoon of the pork filling in the center of one of the dough wrappers. Fold the dough up and around the filling, pleating and pinching around the top until sealed. Place on a parchment paper- lined baking sheet with a bit of cornstarch so the dumplings don’t stick. Repeat with the remaining filling and wrappers.
At this point either proceed to cooking the dumplings or freeze them until ready to use.
When ready to cook, place a large sauté pan with a lid over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil and heat through.
Working in batches, arrange the dumplings in the pan, flat side down, so they are packed in but not touching. Fry the dumplings, uncovered, until the bottoms of the dumplings are golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes.
Add ½ cup water to the pan, then cover tightly with a lid (do this quickly, as the liquid will splatter) and cook until most of the liquid has been absorbed and the bottoms of the dumplings are crisp and golden and the meat inside is cooked through, about 7 minutes.
Use a spatula to remove the dumplings from the pan. Repeat with the remaining dumplings and oil. Serve topped with diced chives, white sesame seeds, sesame oil, and spicy crunchy chili oil with soy sauce for dipping.
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