Dumplings are one of those things that I love to eat, but they always seemed too complicated to attempt, even for someone like me who obsessed with making everything from scratch.
After being introduced to homemade Taiwanese dumplings by my dear friend Betty, no other dumplings seemed to ever match that taste of homemade goodness. When Betty and her family relocated to Shanghai, not only did she leave a hole in our lives but we also found ourselves dumplingless! This was a minor catastrophe within our group until I was fortunate enough to meet fellow Taiwanese friend, Bao, who had been gifted the “Betty” dumpling recipe and lovingly spent one evening teaching me how make homemade Taiwanese dumplings. It was a pleasure to have a fellow friend share this recipe, which I will now share with you.
This is, however, a “cheat’s” version as the dumpling skins are not made from scratch in my home (I will have to tackle that on another day). We instead order them directly from a Taiwanese lady (Wu Hi Lao whom we text directly for a minimum order of 20 which they deliver to my door). The type of skins you use are very important to the overall texture and taste of the dumplings. You can also buy them from Sheng Shiong Supermarkets and the package will be labeled “Taiwanese Dumpling Skins”.
These dumplings are a crowd pleaser! Once you’ve done a big batch, you can whip them up in ten minutes. This is great when you have unexpected guests (or people who say they’re hungry but are really just after a taste of these dumplings – I have a few friends like that.). They make a great snack or starter and my kids love them in their lunch box. I’ve tried making this recipe with different types of fillings, but the traditional pork and cabbage ones are still a family favourite. There are three options below but, like anything handmade and homemade, there’s room to vary. If you come up with your own combination that you love, feel free to add that to the comments below.
You can pick which type to make and then do a big wrapping session. Or do a mix of all 3, like we did. The kids love getting in on all the action as well.
I like to make a big batch at once and freeze them for convenient use later on. Just be sure and label which fillings are in them before packing them up for the freezer. See our freezing tips below.
When serving, don’t forget the dipping sauce (recipe at the end) and perhaps some chilli too. You can buy a chilli paste at the supermarket or maybe I’ll share our family recipe for spicy, toasted chilli in oil at a later date.
You will need approximately one pack of dumpling skins per 25 dumplings.
Traditional Pork and Cabbage Dumpling Filling (makes approx 50 dumplings):
- 1kg pork mince
- 1.3 kg Wong Bok Chinese cabbage, roughly diced (plus 4 generous pinches of salt) – please see cabbage instructions below
- 3 green onions, finely sliced
- 4 tablespoons grated ginger (optional)
- Pinch of white pepper
Chicken Dumpling Filling (makes approx 25 dumplings):
- 500 grams minced chicken
- 200 grams shitake mushroom, finely diced
- 2 green onions, finely sliced
- Pinch of salt and white and white pepper
- 4 tablespoons of coriander, chopped
Prawn and Chive Dumpling Filling (makes approx 25 dumplings):
- 500 grams prawns, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 bunch of Chinese chives, finely sliced
- Pinch of salt and white pepper
Vegetarian Dumpling Filling (makes 25 dumplings):
- 1 piece of hard tofu (tau kwa), diced
- Chinese celery stems, diced
- 5 pieces of wood ear fungus, diced
- 4 water chestnuts, diced
- 2 spring onions, finely sliced
- Handful of vermicelli (soaked to soften), chopped finely
- Pinch of salt and white pepper
Preparing the cabbage:
- Place the chopped cabbage in a separate bowl.
- Add 4 generous pinches of salt and mix gently.
- Allow to sit for 10 minutes. The salt will draw the moisture out of the cabbage.
- Throw away any excess liquid in the bowl.
- Tightly squeeze the cabbage to remove further moisture from the cabbage.
Preparing the filling – be sure and wash your hands and use a separate, clean bowl for each type of filling:
- Add all the ingredients for each type of filling into a bowl.
- Sprinkle with salt and white pepper.
- Mix thoroughly.
You are now ready to start wrapping! Follow our pictorial steps below. Be sure and place each wrapped dumpling separately from each other as they will start to stick to each other if they are touching.
Freezing Tips: I make a big batch to freeze, but they can also be enjoyed and cooked immediately. If you are going to freeze them, follow the instructions below.
- Place each wrapped dumpling in a row on a baking sheet or tray lined with baking paper.
- Cover with cling wrap and place into the freezer.
- When frozen, you can remove them and place them into ziploc bags for later use.
- Freezing the dumplings on a tray will ensure that they don’t get crushed or stick together. It also helps them maintain the shape and folds you so painstakingly handmade.
- If cooking from frozen dumplings, don’t let them defrost or they will become sticky and hard to work with. Cook them directly from frozen.
Now on to the best part… cooking and eating!
To cook (see step by step pictures below):
- Oil a non-stick frying pan and place on medium heat.
- When the oil is at medium heat, place the frozen dumplings, flat side down and pan fry until golden brown on the bottom.
Note: keep the dumplings separate in the pan to avoid them from sticking to each other.
- Pour in water so it fills the pan to about half the height of the dumplings then cover the pan.
- Once the water has boiled away, the dumplings will be cooked.
- Remove gently from the pan and serve with dipping sauce and chilli.
Dipping Sauce for serving:
- 1 part soy
- 1 part Chinese vinegar
- Chilli oil (optional)