One of my fondest memories of living in China was visiting a little hole-in-the-wall dumpling restaurant down the street from where we lived. Since we could read very little Mandarin, each dish that we ordered was a complete surprise. We pointed to a few things on the menu and hoped for the best. This method usually worked well for us, but we would accidentally order bugs or snakes on occasion.
No matter what was in the filling (and sometimes it was better not to know), the dumplings were always delicious and I longingly think back about them. This week, I finally got up the courage to make them myself.
They might not be quite as perfect as the ones I had in China, but they’re darn close.
These dumplings are filled with a ground pork and scallion mixture. However, instead of using store-bought ground pork that can differ in fattiness, I made my own by using the same method I used in my super-juicy hamburgers.
Best of all, you don’t need a meat grinder.
Instead, I froze the pork for about 30 minutes then pulsed it in a food processor until it turned into the consistency of ground pork.
Grinding your own meat lets you control the fattiness as well as the quality of the ground meat. It can also save you a few bucks in the end too.
You can make these dumplings into lots of different shapes, but the triangle is the easiest (and quickest). After adding up to 1 tablespoon of filling, moisten the two edges of the wonton skin and fold it in half. Press all of the air out of the dumpling and press the edges together firmly to seal.
Place the dumplings on a baking sheet lined with a sheet of parchment paper and cover with plastic wrap while making the remaining dumplings. This will keep the wonton wrappers from drying out.
Keep folding the dumplings until you run out of either pork or the wrappers. Some of my leftover pork mixture actually found its way into an Asian-inspired salad for dinner the following night. I even used the scallion dipping sauce as a salad dressing.
This is a great recipe to get family members involved. A dumpling folding competition, maybe?
If I’m making a lot of dumplings, I like to first make a “test dumpling.” I’ll make one or two dumplings, steam them, then taste them. At this point, I can adjust the seasonings before forming the remaining dumplings. If you’re making a lot of dumplings, I definitely recommend testing one to make sure your seasonings are spot-on.
Once the dumplings have been formed, they can be covered in plastic wrap and stored in the refrigerator for a few hours until you are ready to steam and serve them.
To freeze the dumplings, cover the parchment-lined baking sheet with plastic wrap and place into the freezer until the dumplings become hard, about an hour. After the dumplings have hardened, transfer them to a zip-top bag for easier storage. The dumplings can be kept in the freezer for up to 2 months.
When ready to cook, the dumplings may be steamed directly from the refrigerator or freezer. No need to thaw!
The scallion dipping sauce recipe below serves two. If you are planning to serve these dumplings for a large crowd, the dipping sauce may be easily doubled or tripled.
On the other hand, you can easily reduce the entire recipe by half to create fewer dumplings.
- 2 lbs boneless country style pork ribs
- 4 scallions, minced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1½ tsp fresh ginger, grated
- 3 tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper, or more to taste
- 2 tsp Shaoxing wine
- 2 tsp soy sauce
- 2 egg whites, lightly beaten
- 60-80 wonton wrappers
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 2 tbsp mirin
- 1 tbsp water
- 1 tsp sesame chili oil
- 1 scallion, diced
- Cut the boneless pork ribs into cubes about ½ inch wide. Spread the pieces out over a baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Freeze for 30 minutes, until the cubes start to become firm.
- Transfer half of the pork to a food processor or blender and pulse until the meat is broken down into pieces a little larger than rice grains. Transfer the ground pork into a medium-sized bowl and repeat with the second half of the frozen pork.
- Add the scallions, garlic, ginger, salt, pepper, Shaoxing wine, soy sauce, and egg whites to the ground pork and stir until just combined. Set aside.
- To assemble the dumplings, place up to one tablespoon of the pork filling into the center of the wonton wrapper. Using your finger, moisten two edges of the wonton with a little water.
- Dry your finger, then fold the wonton wrapper over the filling into a triangle (shown above). Squeeze out any air and seal the dumpling by firmly pressing the edges together. Place the formed dumpling onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and repeat with remaining wrappers and filling.*
- Place the dumplings into a steamer, without allowing the dumplings to touch. Steam for 6 to 10 minutes (this will depend on your steamer), until the dumplings are cooked through. Place the steamed dumplings on a heatproof platter, cover, and repeat with remaining dumplings.
- Serve immediately with dipping sauce.
- Whisk together the soy sauce, rice vinegar, mirin, water, sesame chili oil, and diced scallion in a small bowl. Set aside until ready for use.