Dumplings are practically their own food group in Chinese households. They’re the perfect meal for any time of day––breakfast, lunch, or dinner. They’re also incredibly versatile, ready to become an after school snack, quick breakfast, party appetizer, or lazy weeknight dinner.
As for the filling, the sky’s truly the limit! Vegetable dumplings with a mixture of cabbage, carrots, and mushrooms are a healthy and delicious option. You can also create your own meat/vegetable mixture with any combination of ground pork, chicken, beef, shrimp, and vegetables like Chinese garlic chives and baby bok choy.
In this post, we’ll show you how to fold perfectly pleated dumplings that rival the restaurants, and how to steam them to perfection, so the flavor of the filling really shines through!
How to fold dumplings
Folding dumplings takes a bit of practice, but with just a few tries, you’ll get the hang of it. Here’s how to do it:
Dip your finger in a bowl of clean water, and moisten the outer edges of the circular dumpling wrapper.
Place about a tablespoon of filling in the middle of the circle.
Fold the circle in half around the filling, and pinch the wrapper together at one end (left or right, doesn’t matter).
Take the side of the dumpling wrapper facing away from you, and pleat it towards the corner you’ve already sealed.
Keep pleating in that direction, until you’ve sealed the dumpling completely. Press the pleats together to make sure the dumplings are well-sealed; you may have to dab a bit of water on the creases to ensure the pleats are fully sealed.
And that's it!
How to steam dumplings
To properly steam dumplings, you'll need:
A bamboo steamer and wok, or multi-tiered metal steamer
Kana perforated parchment paper liners
Fill a wok (with lid) or metal steamer with water.
If using a wok with a bamboo steamer, make sure there’s enough water in the wok to come up the sides of the steamer about 1 cm, to prevent scorching. If using a metal steamer or pan/steam rack set-up, just make sure there’s enough water to simmer for 10 minutes without drying out. Make sure the water isn’t high enough to touch the dumplings during steaming.
Line your steamer with a non-stick liner like Kana parchment paper liners to prevent the dumplings from sticking to the basket.
Place the dumplings about 1-inch apart, giving them some room to expand.
Bring the water in your steamer to a boil. Once boiling, place the dumplings in, cover, and steam on medium high heat for 8-10 minutes. (8 minutes for fresh dumplings, 10 minutes for frozen dumplings.)
Make sure the water is at a simmer and generating steam, but not boiling high enough such that the water bubbles up and touches the dumplings in the steamer.
Sarah Leung is one of the family of four bloggers behind The Woks of Life, an award-winning cross-generational food blog. Since 2013, millions of readers have visited The Woks of Life for authentic Chinese recipes––both traditional and reinvented. Winner of Saveur Magazine’s editor’s and reader’s choice food blog awards, the blog has been featured on Yahoo, AOL Lifestyle, Saveur, BuzzFeed, Huffington Post, Today.com, The Kitchn, and other media outlets.
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