In Chinese culture, when we speak about dumplings, we’re most likely referring to boiled dumplings (or shui jiao, 水饺). Yes, boiled dumplings. Not steamed dumplings or potstickers. Just boiled.
Among rice and noodles, dumplings are also considered a staple meal. A lot of people think that dumplings prepared this way aren't as tasty as potstickers. Especially since potstickers have a crispier, partially-charred exterior that gives it a special taste, right?
But in Chinese culture, boiled dumplings are the ultimate comfort food that I used to eat every week growing up during my childhood. They’re super deliciously juicy if you prepare them the right way.
When prepared correctly, boiled dumplings can be juicy, soft and tender. When one takes a small bite of the dumpling, hot and tasty soup will leak out from the filling. This is a surefire sign that you've nailed the dumpling!
The handmade dumpling exterior are soft, tender, and delicious. The filling is well balanced with meat and vegetable, warm & comforting creating a fulfilling, healthy, and hearty one-dish meal that can be stored for a good amount time frozen & boiled quite quickly.
- 500 grams (4 cups / 18 ounces) all-purpose flour (*see footnote 1)
- 265 milliliter (1 cup plus 2 tablespoons / 9 ounces) water (room temperature)
Dumpling filling (About 4 cups preferable dumpling filling)
- Pork and napa cabbage
- Beef filling
- Carrot and eggs (Vegetarian)
- 4 dumpling dipping sauce
- Homemade chili oil
To prepare the dough
Add flour into a large bowl. Slowly pour the water into the bowl, mixing them together with a pair of chopsticks.
When the water is mixed with the flour, dust both hands with flour and start kneading to form dough. The dough will be quite tough and should easily be able to be lifted from the bowl without sticking to the bottom.
When dough has formed, dust the working surface with flour and dust hands again. Transfer the dough to the working surface and continue to knead it until its surface becomes smooth, about 10 minutes.
Rinse a clean dish towel with water. Dust the bottom of a large bowl with flour and transfer the dough into it. Cover bowl with the damp dish towel and a lid (or plastic wrap). Let the dough rest for 2 hours. You can let the dough rest longer, 4 to 5 hours.
After resting, the dough will be softened and have a smooth texture. Dust the working surface and your hands with extra flour and transfer the dough onto the surface. Knead the dough repeatedly for another 3 to 5 minutes, until the dough hardens again. Let the dough rest for about 30 minutes (or longer).
During this time, you can prepare the dumpling filling(s).
To make dumplings
Dust the working surface again and transfer the dough onto it. Slice 1/6 of the dough off and place the rest back to the big bowl. Cover it with the damp dish towel.
Roll the dough into a long stick, 2.5 to 3 centimeters (1 inch) in diameter. Use a knife to cut the dough stick into about 12 small doughs, each weighing 12 to 14 grams (0.4 to 0.5 oz) (*see footnote 2).
Slightly dust both sides of each small dough with flour. Work on them one at a time.
Dust the working surface again. Take one dough and press it to a round disc. Roll it with a rolling pin into a round sheet. Try to roll it so that that the edge is thinner than the center. The wrapper should be about 1 millimeter thick (i.e. almost same as the thickness of a CD), and the diameter should be about 7 centimeters. It is ok if the wrapper is not perfectly round.
Starting here, you should work as quickly as you can, because the wrappers will dry out quickly. And if they do, you will find it very difficult to seal the dumplings later. If the wrappers dry out when you start to fold the dumplings, brush a bit of water over the edge so you can still seal the dough.
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. Hold the dumpling with one hand and start sealing the edges with the other hand. 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; our goal is to make the dumplings hold their shape during boiling.
Place the dumplings on the working surface and work on the rest of the doughs in the same manner.
Try to wrap and cook dumplings in small batches (20 to 25 dumplings at a time). If you won't cook dumplings soon after wrapping (within 30 minutes), freeze them first (refer to the session "to store dumpling" below). If you want to know the reason, read the session of "Things you should take note of" above.
To cook boiled dumplings (Super Easy!)
Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
Carefully add dumplings one at a time into the water. Using a large ladle to stir the water gently and continuously, until the water starts to boil again, so the dumplings won’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, continue boiling until the dumplings are filled with air and swollen, and the dough starts to become transparent, about 1 minute (*see footnote 3). Immediately transfer all the dumplings to a plate.
(*) Be careful, the dumplings cook quickly and you should always stand beside the pot throughout the boiling process. When the dumplings are cooked, they will start to fall apart within seconds, so transfer them as soon as possible.