There are many ways to cook dumplings – the easiest is boiled (jiao zi), or part fried/ steamed (gyoza), you could also deep fry, or steam. Grilling is pretty difficult cos the damn things stick and leak.
Serve with a dipping sauce. This could be soya sauce, or I prefer a 1:2 mix of soya sauce and rice wine vinegar. Add some chopped fresh chillies for flavour. If deep frying dumplings, chilli sauce is yummy.
To make jiao zi (beijing style dumplings)
Boil a large pot of water.
When the water has reached a fast boil, add dumplings straight to the pot, enough that would be about a single layer of dumplings (not too many or they’ll stick together)
When the water has again reached a fast boil, add a cup of cold water and continue to cook until it boils again
Do the last step 3 times.
Drain dumplings as serve with a dipping sauce.
To make gyoza (japanese style dumplings)
You will need a frying pan with a lid.
In the frying pan, over a high heat, heat a tablespoon of oil.
When the oil is hot, fry a layer on dumplings on one side until brown.
Add 1/4 cup (approx. 100ml) water, then put the lid on the frying pan, and turn the heat down to low.
Cook the dumplings until the water has been absorbed, then serve with dipping sauce
So to fill the dumplings, split the dough into equal portions, then roll into small balls (approximately the size of a finger tip), then roll into rounds.
For each round, place about a teaspoon into the centre and then pinch the edges together.
Place on a plate a small distance apart (not touching or they will stick together), then leave in the fridge or freezer until ready to cook
The other benefit of making your own dumplings is flexibility of filling – choose pretty much any protein – pork, lamb, beef, chicken, eggs, add some vegetables for texture and flavour, and whatever seasonings you like. The only criteria is that the filling should be minced/ chopped super fine (or else the dumplings will be difficult to stuff, big chunky pieces of veg might tear the skin as it is being filled or as it is cooking).
Golden rule of dumpling filling – it’s almost impossible to go wrong. Go crazy.
Ingredients (for approx. 30-40 dumplings)
200g minced meat (can be pork/ beef/ lamb/ chicken), or eggs (I’ d scramble or chop an omelette for about 3)
Vegetables – can be cooked, chopped eggplant, maybe 2 spring onions, pumpkin, cabbage…. seriously, anything….
Seasoning – garlic, soya sauce, sesame oil, salt/ pepper, maybe szechuan pepper, some chilli oil/ spice
Mix everything together. Don’t be afraid to experiment.
Leave the filling mix to marinade for a while if you like, or just make up your dumplings straight away
Dumplings are more than food, they’re what you cook with, and eat with family and friends, food to be shared with the people you love most.
You can buy them in a restaurant, about £4-5 for 6 is the average price in London, but anyone who’s been in Asia knows that this is not acceptable, you’re limited in quantity, quality, and also flavour. There are no dumpling restaurants here with every discovered and unexplored combination of flavours and cooking methods.
So, make them yourself.
First up, dumpling skin – available for about £1 in chinese supermarkets, both wonton and gyoza/ jiao zi wrappers are available. But they’re really easy to make yourself. Some flour, water, and a rolling pin are all you need.
Use about 8 oz/ 200g/ 1 cup plain flour, and add about 1/3 volume of water. Stir, then knead until you have a smooth ball of dough. This quantity will make just over 30 dumplings.
You can also experimenting using various amounts of rice flour/ green bean flour etc for different textures (the green bean will be more chewy, the rice flour will have a smoother texture and roll out thinner).
Wrap in clingfilm, and rest for at least 30 minutes then make your dumplings!