These Simple Pork Dumplings are perfect for those beginners to dumpling cookery who would like to try their hand at making Pot-Sticker Dumplings entirely from scratch, but who are not quite ready enough to tackle any difficult folding techniques with the wrappers. If you follow along here, you can learn a Chinese trick or two for preparing a delicious dumpling filling, as well as the easiest way to make and roll a home-made dumpling dough.
Notes on the Ingredients for Pot-Sticker Dumplings
The recipe card below calls for a pre-made dough, which you can easily prepare by following my recipe for a Basic Dumpling Wrapper Dough using one cup of flour.
The dough and the filling recipe are sufficient for beginners to make 16 Pot-Sticker Dumplings fairly easily. The result is a bit crude and rustic (in fact, the ‘wrapping’ method shown here is actually used for making a sort of steamed, stuffed bun using leavened dough), but this is a good way to get started if you are new to dumplings. After you have tried at least once, you might want to increase the number of dumplings yielded to 24. Using thinner wrappers requires a bit more deft handling (and considerably more rolling) but the final product will be better.
The Method for Making Simple Pork Dumplings
Once you have prepared your dumpling wrapper dough, you toss cabbage shreds with a generous amount of salt and set aside in a bowl or colander for about thirty minutes. When the cabbage is wilted and has thrown off a good bit of water, rinse it very well to remove the salt, squeeze completely dry, and then chop finely.
The filling is made by mixing the cabbage with ground pork and chopped scallion, along with a little ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil, and salt and pepper. Once the mixture is homogenous, the traditional Chinese method for preparing dumpling fillings with meat is to stir the mixture repeatedly IN ONE DIRECTION ONLY, for no less than thirty times, or until the mix gets really sticky. The purpose of this is to get the meat fibers to align in one direction, thus producing a good texture when cooked. Once mixed, it is best to put the mix into the fridge for at least 30 minutes as this firms it up and makes it more easy to work with when forming the dumplings.
When you are ready to proceed, pinch of a quail-egg sized lump from your ball of fresh dough and, using a little extra flour, roll it out into a circle about 4 inches in diameter. Place a generous tablespoon or so of the filling in the center and spread it out slightly.
Alternatively, it is a bit simpler if you decide your batch of dough into portions (16, or 24, or whatever you prefer), and keep the little portions of dough under a damp cloth, and simply taking and rolling out one portion at a time as needed.
The folding technique here consists of nothing more complicated than gathering up the edges of the dough circle and pinching them together over the top of the filling so that a little ‘bag’ is formed.
Now, you just twist and pinch off some of the excess dough formed where the edges together were squeezed together and then you press the remainder down so that you have a slightly flattened dumpling. You can actually boil or steam these like this but, for this recipe, we will be frying the dumplings and the upper surface shown in the picture here will actually be the underside of the finished product.
To finish forming these Simple Pork Dumplings, you just flip over each closed dumpling, then shape it into a nice round, pressing down slightly to flatten it out a bit more if desired.
To cook these Pot-Sticker Dumplings, you need to use a generous amount of oil over moderate heat (3 or 4 tablespoons is about right for a small pan). Cook in batches, and make sure the dumplings have plenty of room in the pan and do not touch or they will stick together and tear when you remove them.
Place your first batch in the pan, top-side down, and sauté gently for about 2 – 3 minutes until the bottoms (really the top, of course), are getting crispy and lightly golden. Since these dumplings are quite thick, you don’t want the heat to be too high, so just a moderate sizzle is just right.
Finally, you flip the dumplings and let fry for another minute or so. When the bottoms have been seared, you pour in about a quarter cup of water into the pan and cover with a lid so that the dumplings begin to steam. After two or three minutes, when the water has almost disappeared, you remove the lid and continue to cook until the water has completely gone and the undersides are nicely crisp and brown. Repeat with the remaining dumplings and serve hot along with your favorite dipping sauce (soy with black vinegar, a shown in the initial picture, is very nice).
Your Recipe Card:
Simple Pork Dumplings for Beginners
- Basic Dumpling Dough made with one cup of Flour *See Notes
- 1 cup ground Pork;
- 1 ½ cup shredded Cabbage;
- 2 scallions finely chopped;
- 1 tbsp. minced Ginger;
- 1 tbsp. Sugar;
- 1 tsp. Pepper;
- 1 tbsp. Soy Sauce;
- 1 tbsp. Sesame Oil;
- ½ tsp. Salt plus extra for salting the Cabbage;
- Extra Flour for rolling the dough
- Toss the shredded Cabbage with a Tablespoon or two of salt and set aside in a bowl or colander for about thirty minutes.
- When the cabbage is soft, rinse it very well, squeeze dry, and then chop finely.
- Put the cabbage into a bowl with all the other filling ingredients and mix well.
- Continue to stir the filling mix in one direction only at least thirty times, or until sticky, then place the bowl in the refrigerator to firm up the mix.
- When ready, divide the dough into 16 portions and keep them covered under a damp cloth.
- For each dumpling, roll out a portion of dough to a 4-inch circle (about hand-width), and top with a generous tablespoon or so of the filling.
- Gather the edges of the wrapper circle up over top of the filling to form a bag and then squeeze closed, pinching off any excess dough.
- Turn the dumpling over and form a nice round with your hands, while pressing it slightly flat, then set aside and repeat with the remaining dough and filling until done.
- Heat 3 – 4 Tablespoons of oil in a pan over moderate heat and cook the dumplings, top-side down for about 2 – 3 minutes until the underside is turning golden.
- Flip the dumplings over, cook for another minute or so, then add a quarter cup of water.
- Cover the pan, leaving a small opening, and continue to cook for two or three minutes until the water has gone, then remove the lid and cook a little longer until the undersides and crispy and golden.
- Remove the dumplings from the pan, repeat with the remainder and then serve while still hot with a dipping sauce of choice.