Chinese New Year Lucky Dumplings

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Dumplings have a long and storied history in China. Archaeological evidence shows that dumplings have been around since at least the Han Dynasty over 2000 years ago! Known as “jiao zi” in Mandarin, dumplings were first created with the intention of providing a complete, balanced meal that was easy to eat.

Over time, dumplings took on more cultural significance. Their crescent shape resembled the shape of gold ingots – which were used as currency during the Ming Dynasty. As such, serving dumplings on Chinese New Year is considered auspicious and prosperity-boosting. The more dumplings you eat, the more wealth and good fortune will come your way in the coming year!

Dumplings can be filled with meat and/or vegetables. Common fillings include pork, chicken, shrimp, cabbage, scallions and garlic. The wrapper is usually made from unleavened flour dough, but other types of dough are sometimes used regionally. The most iconic cooking methods are steaming and pan-frying, which yield contrasting textures.

Learn more about Chinese New Years Lucky Foods.

Chinese Pork & Cabbage Dumplings

Recipe for classic Chinese pork and cabbage dumplings
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine Chinese
Servings 6 people

Ingredients
  

  • 8 oz ground pork
  • 1/2 cup napa cabbage chopped
  • 1/4 cup scallions chopped
  • 2 tsp garlic minced
  • 2 tsp ginger grated
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 package Wonton Wrappers

Dipping Sauce

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tsp Thai Chili paste
  • 1 tbls vinegar
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp sesame oil

Instructions
 

  • Mix pork, cabbage, scallions, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and sesame oil in a bowl until well combined. Set aside
  • Place 1 to 2 teaspoons of filling into the center of a dumpling wrapper. Dip a finger in water and moisten the edge. Fold in half and pinch closed into a pleated crescent shape.
  • Steam dumplings for 8-10 minutes until cooked through. You can also pan-fry for 5 to 7 minutes rather than steaming.
  • Whisk together all ingredients for dipping sauce.
  • Dip into sauce and enjoy immediately.

Notes

Fold the dumplings in half and seal the edges with water or a little egg wash and then use forks to seal the edges.
You can also: Steam for 5 to 6 minutes, and then pan fry with a little of the sauce to brown the sides and crisp.
Keyword chinese dumplings, dumpings, gyoza

Most Common Questions about Dumpling

What’s the best filling for dumplings? Many classic fillings include pork, chicken, shrimp, vegetables or tofu. The filling depends on your tastes and dietary needs. Mixing meats with veggies makes a balanced filling.

How do you fold the dumplings properly? The classic technique is pleating the wrapper while leaving room at the top to stand the dumplings upright in the steamer. There are crescent, pleated, and potsticker styles. Practice helps perfect shaping.

What do you serve with dumplings? Popular dipping sauces include soy sauce, vinegar, chili oil or homemade mixes. Dumplings can also be served in soups. Side dishes like rice or noodles round out the meal.

How do I stop the dumpling wrappers from sticking together?
Lightly dust the wrappers with corn or potato starch so they don’t stick to each other. Work with small batches for easier handling.

What is the best way to cook dumplings?
The traditional Chinese methods are steaming and pan-frying. Boiling and deep-frying are alternatives. Steaming keeps the filling moist while pan-frying makes the bottoms crispy.

How long does it take to make dumplings? With store-bought wrappers, filling assembly goes quicker. From start to finish, expect homemade dumplings to take 1-2 hours. Using pre-made wrappers cuts this time significantly.

What dipping sauce goes best with pork dumplings? Popular dips for pork include black vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, julienned ginger and white sugar. Also try chili oil or hot sauce if you like spicy.

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