Move Over Vanessa’s, This Dorm Dumpling Recipe Is Here to Take Your Place

Enjoy some delicious homemade dumplings with this family recipe. Warning: Not for beginners.

Neatly pleated dumpings handmade by Elaine. Elaine's family gathers every new year to make these traditional dumplings. (Photo by Elaine Chen)

Savory chicken, tender pork or wholesome vegetables — essentially any food that you can think of — can be wrapped in a fluffy dough blanket and become a delicious dumpling. The refrigerated chicken and vegetable dumplings in Kimmel are definitely not the best, and while The Dumpling Kingdom, Tim Ho Wan and The Bao are all great, nothing beats eating in your own dorm. With this dumpling recipe, you can challenge yourself by making some of the best dumplings you will ever have right in the convenience of your home.

Dumplings are one of the most important foods to Chinese culture, and specifically to the New Year. They symbolize reunion and bring together families from all over the world during the holidays. Every New Year’s Eve, I make dumplings with my family. This pork cabbage dumpling recipe is a family favorite passed down from my grandma, and it never fails to warm my stomach while reminding me of home.

Ingredients:

For the dumpling wrapper:
20 ounces flour
15 ounces water (add more if needed)

For the filling:
1 pound ground pork
2 pounds cabbage (don’t worry, it will shrink after it’s dried)
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2-3 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons scallions, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ginger, minced
2 tablespoons oil

  1. Mix the flour with warm water until there is no dry flour left. Massage the dough for 10 minutes. Cover it and let it sit for 15 minutes. Cut the dough into small pieces about the size of a quarter and flatten it with a rolling pin into a circle about 3 inches in diameter. Place the wrappers on a lightly floured work surface. Warning: this first step is hard because it is difficult to get the right consistency for the dough. If you don’t want to do it, you can just buy about 50 dumpling wrappers from any nearby H-mart or other Asian grocery store.
  2. Wash the cabbage with cold water and finely chop it and mix it with 1 teaspoon salt. Blend it together and let it rest for five minutes. Squeeze out any extra water from the cabbage. If there’s too much water left, it will make the filling too moist.
  3. Mix the dry cabbage with the ground pork, scallion, ginger, soy sauce and salt and blend it in a large bowl until thoroughly combined.
  4. Place the flat dumpling wrap you made earlier in the palm of your hand. Spoon about 1 tablespoon of the filling in the middle. Wet the edge of the wrapper with a little water and pinch the ends together with your index finger and thumb to form small pleats to seal the dumplings. Repeat this step with the remaining dumpling wrappers and filling.
A pot with the dumpling fillings consisting of ground pork, cabbage, scallion, and ginger. (Photo by Elane Chen)

Now that you have your dumplings ready, there are two ways to cook them, both of which are great.

Fried Dumplings: Pour 2 tablespoons of oil into a frying pan on medium heat. Place however many dumpling that can fit in the pan and cook until golden brown. This should take about two minutes. Pour 1 cup of water into the pan and place a cover over the pan. Let the dumplings cook until the water evaporates and the pork is cooked through. This should take about 5 minutes.

Boiled Dumplings: Fill a large pot two-thirds of the way full with water. Cover the lid of the pot and boil the water on high heat. After the water boils, put in 10-15 dumplings and cook them until they float. Add a cup of cold water to the pot and the dumplings will sink to the bottom. Wait until they float again and pour another cup of cold water in. After you complete this process three times, the dumplings will be well cooked.

This recipe creates about 30 delicious dumplings. They can be served with either soy sauce or black vinegar for dipping. Invite some friends over and enjoy your authentic Chinese dumplings.

Email Elaine Chen at [email protected]

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