Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Pork and Napa Cabbage Water Dumplings

I first have to mention my absolute love for Chinese food. I have always loved it. I crave it. If asked where I want to go to dinner, 9 times out of 10 it will be for Asian food of some kind. I also love Chinese New Year and the food and traditions associated with it. So this year I thought I would try to make my own dumpling wrappers and make some pot stickers like I remembered eating when I lived in San Francisco years ago. They were the best I had ever had. I am a little bit nuts... how many other people do you know who have eaten Chinese food in Florence, Athens, Heidelberg, New Delhi, Katmandu, and more places than I can remember.My husband really had to be cajoled into eating Chinese food in Florence...it was not very good I confess, but we had just spent 6 weeks in Greece and I needed a serious "fix"...ah you live and learn!

Well I finally am going to post my wonderful foray into making my first homemade dumpling wrappers. I made them last Wednesday night. I started on a whim at 5:00 and in two hours we had 40 dumplings. 
I have to say they were wonderful. My family could not believe how good they were...neither could I.
I made them as fried dumplings/potstickers and they were delightfully crisp on the bottom and chewy and so juicy inside. I put about a tablespoon of canola oil into a large saute pan put the dumplings in and let them brown briefly in the oil then quickly poured in some water and covered the pot steaming the dumplings until the water evaporated and then removing the top of the pan and continuing to cook until they were nicely crisp on the bottom. You can hear them when they are ready.
                                                                   Chinese Chives
I had ordered a new cookbook called ... Asian Dumplings: Mastering Gyoza, spring rolls, samosas and more (Ten Speed Press, 2009) by Andrea Nguyen
The recipes were wonderful and I enjoyed reading the entire book cover to cover. Andrea gives wonderful instructions and I had no trouble at all making the wrappers. I was talking to my friend Mary at Once Upon a Plate    about the book and my experience and she also decided to try this dumpling wrapper recipe and liked it. You must visit and see how beautiful hers are. Much prettier than mine....

Here is a link to Andrea's website with many recipes and helpful hints....also videos...Asian Dumpling Tips

I made the wrappers with boiling water and flour...thats it. I made them by hand in a bowl with a wooden spoon and my hands. After the dough is mixed and kneaded by hand it is sort of shaggy. It is then put in a zip lok bag for a while to rest. It then becomes a soft like and earlobe-like(that is exactly how Andrea explains the feel) wonderful pliable dough. The dough sort of steams up in the bag. It is pretty amazing. Here is her recipe for Basic Dumpling Dough.
Meanwhile I made my filling. I used ground pork, Napa Cabbage that had been salted and squeezed dry, fresh ginger, Chinese chives, chicken stock, pepper, light soy sauce, canola oil and sesame oil....following Andrea's recipe to the letter. 

I had purchased my ground pork at an Asian Market and that made a world of difference in the final outcome. It is more coarsely ground and contain enough fat to make the dumpling filling nice and juicy!
Andrea recommends a tortilla press to assist in shaping the dumpling wrappers. I do not have one. So I followed her suggestion of placing the dough pieces between two pieces of heavy plastic and pressing down on them with a heavy object. I used a 4 cup glass measuring cup.That worked really well. I weighed all of my pieces of dough after cutting the roll of dough into 16 equal pieces. Mine each weighed .5 ounces.
This is not the greatest image of what happens but you get the picture. I was very into doing this and not having such a great time getting floury hands all over the camera. Mary has much better images on her blog...
but you get the idea...

Here is one of my finished wrappers. Not too bad if I say so myself. It took me a few times to get the hang of the rolling pin. But I must say this dough was so elastic and pliable it was even easy to do with my fingers. Leaving the middle of the wrapper thick....the belly as Andrea calls it...again not the greatest image. I found it difficult to take pictures while I was doing this...

These were very easy to fill and pleat...very forgiving dough. I found them much easier to wrap then store bought wrappers and much more delicious.

Anyway here is the finished product...I will most definitely try these again. Hopefully this weekend for Chinese New Year.
I served them with Andrea's Tangy Soy Dipping Sauce....which I adapted just barely
1/3 cup regular soy sauce
2 1/2 T. Chinkiang Vinegar
1/8 t.sugar
1 to 3 teaspoons Chile Oil( I used chili garlic sauce)
1 T.finely shredded fresh ginger or 2 teaspoons finely minced garlic(optional)
At this point we were all so excited to eat I did not take many pics. This bowl was right in front of me as I was ready to dive right in! No posing or staging. What you see is what we ate!

I am looking forward to more projects from this book...but if I make absolutely nothing else but this recipe,
it was worth the price of the book and then some!


  1. Oh really Linda..you and Mary have made me crave making my own dough too..I tried once not very successfully..you have tempted me..Like the little engine..:)

    They are beautiful.. and mouth watering..you should be proud of your pictorial..both of you have inspired me..Thanks so much to you and Mary for these posts..It won't happen today..but soon..

    I hear you perfectly clear on your love of this type of food..cause me too:)

  2. WAIT! You didn't tell us how you made those lovely pleats.

    These are really gorgeous. I love that color on the crispy part. Whenever I see anything that color, I KNOW it's going to be good...

  3. Linda, they look fabulous! You did such a great job with the shapes and the pleats.

    Gorgeous photos, too... I'm craving them all over again. Really beautiful, girlfriend!

    I'm with Monique ~ you KNOW I adore Asian food, too. xoxo

  4. i just snitched the pics you had on your prior post of these this morn, so beautiful! one of my very favorite foods~

  5. Wonderful dumplings... I have made them before but they didn't look so gorgeous as yours do. I really have to try again... and that dipping sauce!!

  6. My dough is resting..I'll put it in the fridge overnight..I am hoping to have time to make them late tomorrow afternoon for dinner..Thanks again ladies~I wish I was rolling it out tonight..warmly.

  7. Yay Monique...:*
    Make sure you let the dough come to room temp first!
    We are expecting a blizzard tomorrow into Thursday...
    I just might make them again!xoxoxo

    Kate check out the links...Andrea shows you exactly how to make the pleats. Of course I did not watch the video before I made mine so my pleats we a little bit odd until I got the hang of it...

    Thank you for the support my friends...
    This was so much fun...
    and delicious too!
    They were so crispy and so juicy...
    *sigh* I was in heaven!

  8. Oh yum! My kids can't wait for homemade dumplings when they come home for spring break. These look so appetizing, I don't blame you for not taking many pictures!

  9. Oh Linda, I am so glad you love Chinese food, because obviously Chinese food loves you back! Look at how well they turned out! Gosh, I wish we lived near each other. We can make dumplings together and have a dumpling feast to reward ourselves! Gorgeous, gorgeous dumplings, Linda. Especially that first pic. Drooling ...

  10. Oh those dumplings look to die for!!! u r so clever !! im too am inspired to gv a go at this! tq...for ur wonderful pics too!

  11. Your little dumplins look perfectly wonderful, Linda. I'm a huge fan of Asian food also and this is one of my favorite dishes. Gorgeous photos as well.

  12. I did a huge booboo....I pressed them all last night..w/ my 4 cup Pyrex..they were lovely:) I stupidly stacked them between sheets of wax paper..

    Oy..they stuck some of them..so not as pretty as yours..They are stuffed and waiting..the dipping sauce is made.I cannot wait for dinner..Ju it would be fun to ALL be together for a dumpling fest..I'll come back to you:) I know nite shots are impossible.. but I will tell you:)

  13. Do not worry about the night shots...
    I want to sit at a big kitchen table with you an Ju and pleat dumplings...
    If I win the lotto Monique...we are going to go and visit Ju and cook...how about that...
    well we can dream right?

  14. I am so very impressed with all of you! I always thought it so clever to buy premade wrappers! You've all upped the ante! We used to have these dumplings about once a week.

    I now have a new challenge. Thanks Linda and yes, wouldn't a huge table of a pot luck dinner with all of you be wonderful!!

  15. They were delicious!!!!I cheated on the pleating..I'll show you..I must go tell Mary too..way better than the homemade wrappers I made last year!
    That is a nice thought re the lotto..You have 3 boys that will say hey.. what about us? Very sweet thought Linda!!

  16. Beautiful dumplings, Linda! You and Mari have me in the mood for them now. Great photos!!

  17. They look amazing....almost makes me want to go and make them!


  19. Oops. Before I just looked at the link from Food With Style and now I have the entire post.
    And there is a recipe. Love it! OMG it looks delicious and your photos are wonderful.

  20. A beautiful job! You pulled it off well. When I had left my last comment, I hadn't realized you had already published. I had used the link from Food with Style. How fun to read Part 2 immediately!
    We also had a disappointing Chinese Dinner in Galway. It was 25 years ago and we've never stopped laughing!

  21. Oy when I think about it now...eating Chinese food in Florence????...Young and foolish I was...we are talking 30 years ago for that one...nothing like that would ever be repeated...not now ...

    Thank you all so much for stopping by and commenting!
    This was a lot of fun!

  22. Wow! Where did you come from? These dumplings look fabulous. I have always wanted to make them but was reluctant to use the store bought wrappers. I wish I had this recipe during our recent snow storm(s). But I'm so inspired, I'll try them soon.

  23. I hope you do...thanks for stopping by flwrjane! Nice to meet you!

  24. A lot of work, but they do look worth it. I had to laugh at your story of Chinese food in Florence. On an extended sabbatical, traveling all over, my husband and I didn't get sick anywhere. Until just before we crossed the border back into the US from Mexico. We ate in a little Chinese restaurant. Should have known better. The only other occupant was a cat.

  25. I recently bought a tortilla press for a food assignment. Never thought about using it for dumpling dough - great idea. These look scrumptious Linda - Thanks for sharing!

  26. These look absolutely heavenly! I am so happy to have stumbled onto your blog - dumplings and rugalach - you are speaking my language!

  27. You did it. You prepared them properly, cooked them properly and enjoyed eating them properly. You cooked a proper feast!

  28. Thank you and thanks so much for stopping by to visit!