With Chinese New Year celebration just around the corner, thought I would share my recipe for Chinese water dumplings. My family would always have dumplings on New Year's day (Chinese hot pot on the New Year's eve). This recipe was my grandmother's. IMHO, much better than store bought frozen pot stickers.
1 package of your favorite dumplings or gyoza wrappers
1/2 lb ground pork
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground white pepper, or to taste
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1 scallion (green onion), finely minced
1 cup very finely chopped Napa cabbage, squeeze to remove excess water
1 Tbsp rice wine or dry sherry (optional)
2 Tbsp water (for sealing the wrappers)
Dipping Sauce (this can be anything you want):
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1/2 Tbsp vinegar
1 clove garlic, peeled and finely minced (optional)
Asian chili paste (optional)
Just a quick note: I prefer an equal portion of cabbage to meat but my DH likes more meat. You can adjust the amount of cabbage to taste. This recipe should make ~40-50 dumplings, depending on how much meat you put in each wrapper.
If the wrappers are frozen, let them defrost in the refrigerator overnight. This will prevent them from getting all soggy and sticky.
Combine filling ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Place about 1 Tbsp filling in the middle of a wrapper. I use just a tad less. Don't overfill it or else you risk the dumplings bursting when boiling (not a pretty thing).
Dip your finger in the water and trace around the edge of half the wrapper. Fold in half, forming a crescent shape, and press firmly to seal. Repeat for remaining dumplings. If you have trouble sealing the wrapper, you can mix an egg with a teaspoon of water and use that instead of plain water to get a better seal. I use an egg wash for one particular brand of wrappers.
Bring a very large pot filled about 3/4 with water to a boil. Keeping the water at high heat, slowly put in about 10 dumplings into the pot, stirring to make sure the dumplings don't stick to the bottom of the pot. If the water starts to foam over, you can add 1/2 cup of cold water or turn down the heat to med/hi. But make sure the water still has a small roll. After about 4 minutes, the dumplings will start to float up and the peels become translucent with meat sticking to wrapper. Remove the dumplings with a slotted spoon. Repeat until all the dumplings are cooked.
Mix dipping sauce ingredients together. Serve hot with dipping sauce.
Some things to consider:
After removing the dumplings from the pot, I put them on a large plate in single layer because once they start cooling, they have a tendency to stick together, especially those premade wrappers. Also, if you use ground pork, make sure the filling is cooked all the way through. I always make the dumplings with pork because that tastes the best to me (it's what I'm used to). I have tried ground turkey (too dry) and ground beef (not savory enough) but I figure if I'm going to spend all that time making it, I want it to taste good.
The filling can really be anything you want. My mom used to like to switch it up a bit and add dried shrimp or chives, but always with ground pork. Sometimes she might even add rice noodles. You also have the option of steaming or pan frying the dumplings rather than boiling.
You can store them in an air tight container for up to 5 days. There are a couple of options to reheat leftovers. Usually, I will make pot stickers by pan frying them but they can also be microwaved. Don't heat them up too long in the microwave unless you like dry and crunchy wraps. You can also put a damp paper towel over the dumplings when you nuke them to prevent drying. I don't like to reboil them because it makes the wrappers really slick and sticky, water logged, just doesn't taste right. Again, serve hot with dipping sauce.
Hope you enjoy this.