In light of the upcoming Lunar New Year, I’ve dusted off my old recipe for fried dumplings. This is inspired by the Peking style fried dumplings. I fell in love with the Peking style dumplings from a local Chinese take-out, where the dumplings never looked perfect and often times the dough was plump and chewy. It was homey and comforting. Since then, I have not enjoyed dumplings made with store bought wonton wrappers as much as I’ve enjoyed those dumplings. Although, I still visit the take-out restaurant now and again, I had to learn how to make the dumplings myself because if I had to pay for the number of dumplings that I could eat, I’d be broke.
I’ve experimented a lot over the years of making the dumplings. The filling has evolved to suit my tastes and strays a little from the traditional Peking style filling that they serve at the take-out restaurant. The seasonings are more of you would use for a pork and cabbage dumpling (minus the cabbage). Below are my other notes.
Make ahead and Freeze – Make the dumplings and do not cook them. Place them on a wax paper lined baking sheet or freezer safe platter. Place the dumplings on the baking sheet and stick them in the freezer for about an hour or until they have frozen. Remove from the sheet and place in a freezer bag. Store in freezer for up to a month. When you are ready to cook, do not thaw. Place frozen dumplings in the headed pan. Add a few extra tablespoons of water and cook for a couple of minutes longer in the covered pan.
Dough – to scale up or dough, use a 3:1 ratio of flour to warm water. While on the subject of the dough, you can use whatever method of folding and sealing your dumplings that you like. For me, I like to keep it simple, and pleat one side, then press the dumplings shut. Peking style dumplings are typically served with the bottom side up to display their beautifully browned and fried side. You can simply press the two sides together to seal the dumplings and call it a day.
Oil or Floured Surface – While making the dough you can flour or oil your work surface. I’ve tried both and either works fine. Flouring your surface will keep the wrappers from sticking together if working with a few at a time. I find that the ones made on an oiled surface fries well and doesn’t stick to the pan quite as much.
Store bought wrapper – if you are in a pinch, you can use store bought wrapper, but I prefer the homemade wrapper for this dumpling. Make sure to look for the wrappers that are labeled “Dumpling Wrappers” and not “Wonton Wrappers.”
Pan Fried Dumplings
Time: 1.25 hour
Yields: 48 Dumplings
3 cups (360g) all-purpose flour
1 cup (237 ml) warm water
16 oz (450g) ground pork or meat of choice
3-4 scallions, chopped
2 teaspoons ginger, minced or grated
2-3 garlic cloves, minced (about a tablespoon)
1 ½ tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoons sugar
½ teaspoon ground white or black pepper
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon rice wine or dry sherry
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1-2 tablespoons oil and ½ cup water – to cook
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1-2 teaspoons chili oil (or to taste)
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1teaspoon sesame oil
1-2 scallions, chopped
• Make the dough by sifting flour into a bowl. Make a well in the center, slowly add water. Knead well until soft and smooth (about 5 minutes). If it’s too wet add more flour, if too dry add more water. Cover with a damp cloth and let it rest for 30 minutes. The dough should be noticeable softer after the resting period.
• Prepare the filling by adding all the ingredients for the filling in a bowl. Mix well. Chill in the fridge until ready to use.
• Divide the dough in half. Keep the half that you are not working with covered. On an oiled surface, roll the other half into a log and cut into 24 pieces. Flatten the pieces and roll into flat circles.
• Place a spoonful of filling in the center. Make seven or eight pleats on one side of the dough and press the dumpling shut. If dough is too dry, dab a little bit of water to help seal the dumpling.
• Repeat until you have used all of the dough and filling.
• To cook the dumplings. In a large frying pan with flat surface and add about a tablespoon or two of canola oil. Turn the heat on to medium and bring up to temperature. Carefully, add the dumplings to the pan. Fry for a minute or two until the bottoms are golden brown.
• Add water to the pan (careful as it may splash). Cover with a lid and let it cook for 6-8 minutes. Remove the lid and let it cook until all the liquids have dried out. You may have to cook in batches depending on the size of your pan. (Or freeze any uncooked dumplings).
• Make dumpling sauce by whisking together all the ingredients for the sauce.
• Serve dumplings with sauce.