Pork Dumplings (aka Pot Stickers/ Jiao zi)

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My best friend made pork dumplings last week, posted it up onto Facebook and made me ‘itchy’ to try my hands at making them. So I did! They don’t look the prettiest and I have to say that the wrapping is really THE most difficult part of this whole dish and if you’re lazy, just wrap it the ravioli way.

These are called pot stickers(锅贴)if you lightly fry them in a pan or jiaozi (饺子)if you boil them and serve them in soup.

Anyway, onto the recipe. I followed my mum’s recipe so it’s not in metric units (hurrah for those who are Americans).  This recipe makes about 14 dumplings.

Ingredients for fillings:
4oz        minced pork (you can substitute this with chicken or beef)
1 tbsp    light soy sauce
1.5 tbsp sesame seed oil (I used half sesame seed oil and half truffle oil)
2           shitake/Chinese mushrooms, diced
1 tbsp   Sherry/ Brandy/ Shiao Tsing Wine
1/3 tbsp chives or spring onion, chopped (you can add more of this if you like…but it’s not very favourite thing in the world)
1/3 tbsp grated ginger
1/2 cup  minced prawns
1/3 tsp   salt
1 tsp      sugar
1 leaf    Chinese cabbage, finely chopped

As it really isn’t a lot of prawns (jumbo shrimps for the Americans), it may not be very economical to blitz it in a food processor. The prawn acts really more as a binder and slight flavour enhancer. Thus, I used a chopper to mince my prawns up instead. No prawns/shrimps? Substitute it with an egg.

Method for the filling:

You mix everything up till you get the wonderful mess as seen above. It really smells very good. Especially with the sesame seed oil and brandy. If you used minced chicken, I recommend adding 1/2 tbsp more oil because the chicken is a little drier compared to pork when cooked. Unless you minced chicken thigh meat instead of the breast meat. The cabbage is important because I did not add stock or water into this filling and you will need moisture somewhere within the filling to ensure that it has a bit of ‘juice’ after cooking.

Ingredients for the dough:
1.5 cups  plain flour
1/2 cup   hot water

Method for the dough:

  1. Slowly stir in the hot water into the flour and mix. DO NOT add in water although it may seem a little dry. The hot water makes the flour a little more gloopy than if you were to use room temperature/cold water.
  2. When the dough is cool enough to work with, knead it on a lightly floured surface until it’s smooth and firm. You may need to sprinkle a bit more flour or a bit more water (depending on whether it dries out while cooling down) to get the right texture. It should no longer stick to the surface. 
  3. Put the dough back into the bowl and cover it with a damp towel. Wait for 15-20 minutes.
  4. Take the dough out and knead on the floured surface for another 5 minutes.
  5. Roll the dough until it is cylindrical, with a diameter of approximately 3cm (1.5 inches).
  6. Cut the cylinder into smaller sections of approximately 1cm wide.
  7. Roll it into a ball and then flatten it out with a small rolling pin.

Sorry…no photos of the small balls of dough or the rolled out version because I was busying making them and I don’t want flour all over my camera/phone. Another ‘cheating’ method would be to roll out the whole dough and then cut out circular wrappers using a small bowl. Problem with this method is that you may not be able to roll the dough evenly or it may be too thick.

Ok…now, putting it all together…I found the video below, which gives you 7 ways of wrapping them:

I used method 5 as shown in the video but this is the first time I’m making dumplings so I wasn’t so adept at wrapping and all my folds were of different widths. This happens. Practice makes perfect as the last few dumplings started looking more and more like the ones in the video. Also, I preferred to fold from the left to the right instead of right to left as shown. Doesn’t matter, I suppose.

I’ve frozen all 27 dumplings that I made and I’ll be boiling them before adding them to a soup for lunch. You can make a lot in advance and dump them into the freezer, keeping for 1 month. However, please do not refreeze meat.

Next post will be the meal itself! 🙂

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