Homemade Chinese Dumplings ala Chef Gail

I love what they call Peking Ravioli and have bought from restaurants, and frozen. My fondest memories are when I used to commute into Boston via the train, a there was a group of us and maybe once a month take turns going into China Town and buying a huge box of frozen ravs. On the way back we would split them up and distribute to our coolers. Many good meals were had. Well our Son Mike’s is married to a wonderful woman, Gail, who happens to be from China. I innocently (ya right) ask if she ever made them. Her mom had visited recently and left her with a freezer full. She said yes and she would show me how. I jokingly called Chef Gail and it stuck at least while she was here.

It was like getting a recipe from your mom, a little of this, a handful of that a splash of rice vinegar and she went by smell. When she felt it smelt right, we were ready to start making the dumplings. Now that I think about it that makes sense there are dishes, I make that I’ll know it is correct and ready to cook by the smell, I just never thought about it that way.

The frozen dumplings I’ve made I would pan fried and then add water cover and steam until done. Gail said the authentic way is to boil them (at least the ones you have on the Chinese New Year). So, we made the stuffing (pork) added scallions, napa cabbage, ginger, five spice, canola oil, soy sauce then mix and then stuffed. using chopsticks mix stirring in only one direction (this way the filling becomes very sticky and absorbs more water to bring the juicy flavor). She showed me her way of sealing the wrappers and I soon got the hang of it. Lyn and Mike joined in and before we knew it the pound of pork was gone. Into some lightly salted boiling water and this is where we used her mom’s trick. You bring water to boil then boil for a few minutes add a little less than a cup of cold water and bring to a boil again and repeat. Essentially boiling three times. Drain and eat with dipping sauce.

Now my challenge is to figure out the measurements (double checked with Gail).

Stuffing: Keep in mind these are estimated amounts so you have to use your judgment

  • 1 lb. ground pork (>20% fat is ideal)
  • 2 cups of Napa cabbage copped finely
  • About 3/4 inch of ginger, finely chopped or grated
  • 4 scallions, finely chopped
  • 2-3 tbsp soy sauce (I like low sodium)
  • 1 tsp 5 spice powder
  • 2 tbs canola/vegetable oil …add more if the stuffing turned out too dry
  • 1/3 tsp salt


Dipping Sauce:
• 4 tbsp soy sauce
• 1/2 cup water
• 2 tsp sugar (optional for sweet)
• dash rice vinegar
• dash sesame oil
• pinch garlic powder
• two dashes hot pepper flakes

Scoop about 1 tablespoon (or less, so you can easily fold the dumpling) of dumpling filling and place it in the center of the wrapper. Rub the edge of dumpling with water (acts like glue) Hold the dumpling with one hand and start sealing the edges with the other hand (refer to the video to see how to fold a dumpling). Be careful, when you press the edges together to seal the dumpling, do not let filling touch the sealing area (the dumpling will fall apart if you do). After folding, press edge again to seal well. You don’t need to fold beautiful dumplings here, that will come with time, your goal is to make the dumplings hold their shape during boiling.

How

  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  • Carefully add dumplings one at a time into the water. Use a big ladle to stir the water gently, until the water starts to boil again, so the dumplings don’t stick to the bottom, for about 1 minute. Adjust the heat so the water is at boiling point but isn’t bubbling too fiercely.
  • When the dumplings float to the surface, add about 3/4 cup cold water bring to a boil add another 3/4 cup cold water continue boiling until the dumplings are filledwith air and swollen and the dough starts to become transparent, about 1 minute or 2 (time may vary depending on temp, size of dumplings etc)
    • Gail note: I only see dumplings made from commercial wraps filled with air, the ones my parents made from home-made dough didn’t fill with air,
  • Remove and place aside and cook the next batch.
  • For the dumpling already boiled, the pan-fried left-over also great:)

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