Introduction: Crispy Pork Dumplings (From Scratch!)

About: Hi! I'm Em, I'm a university student in NZ and I love to cook!

Have you ever found yourself craving dumplings? Juicy, porky delicious dumplings? But, somehow, sadly, you are dumpling-less. Maybe the shops aren't open, or you can't get delivery, or maybe no place near you makes good dumplings. Well, there's no need to get down in the 'dumps'! In a few hours you could be eating delicious crispy pork dumplings- made by yourself! And if you make them yourself, then no will know how many dumplings you eat- so you can have as many as you like without judgement!

Here's my recipe (I'm half Asian, so you know this is Legit. I KNOW my dumplings.) for delicious and crispy pork dumplings with an easy homemade skin and savoury pork filling with garlic and spring onions. This recipe takes a little while but it is easy enough for beginner cooks and great for having your junior chefs help out. I hope you enjoy!

This recipe makes about thirty (30) dumplings, but you may end up with more or less depending on the size of your dumplings.

Step 1: Ingredients:

These are the things you'll need for making your own dumplings:

- 2 1/2 cups of flour (plain/all-purpose)
- Just over 3/4 cup of boiling water
- 1 tsp salt (optional)

- About 600 grams of pork mince
- Scallions/green onions/spring onions
- Garlic
- Ginger
- Soy Sauce
- Oyster or Hoisin Sauce (Optional)
-Salt and Pepper

You can customise the filling to suit your taste. That's why I don't give amounts. You can decide how much of each ingredient to put in depending on how much you like it. If you don't like pork, then you can fill these dumplings with whatever you like. Just make sure the filling isn't too moist/wet and it holds together well.

Step 2: Making the Dumpling Dough:

I prefer to make a hot water dough because I think it gives a better 'stretch' to the dough and makes nice thin skins. Also, MAKE SURE YOUR WATER IS BOILING! Pour it into your measuring cup then into the flour as quickly as possible for the best texture.

Simply dump the flour in a bowl and mix in the salt if you're using it. I personally don't add salt.

Add the boiling water and mix it with a fork. You will be left with a lot of dry flour and it will look lumpy and gluey and sad. DON'T WORRY. This is normal :) Proceed to the next step and don't add any extra water or you will ruin the dough.

Step 3: Kneading the Dough:

Tip the whole bowl out onto the countertop, or, if you don't want to get your hands dirty, onto a sheet of cling wrap/plastic wrap. Smush, press, squeeze and fold the mixture until you have a slightly sticky dough. BE CAREFUL, THE DOUGH MAY BE HOT BECAUSE YOU ADDED BOILING WATER. If you've been kneading for five minutes and you've still got loads of dry flour, add a splash of hot water and keep kneading. Make sure you try and incorporate the dry flour into the more moist clumps. If your dough is very sticky and moist, add a little more flour and check you added the correct amount of water.

The photos show the dough coming together. You can see how floury it is, but I didn't add any extra water and it turned out perfect!

Step 4: Resting the Dough:

Put your ball of dough into a (sealed!) Zip-Lock bag or wrap it tightly in cling/plastic wrap. Wipe out your dough bowl and half fill it with hot water. Wait for the bowl to get hot, then tip the water out, dry the inside with a paper towel if you want, then plop your dough inside the hot bowl (make sure the seam/seal is facing up to avoid water leaking in if you didn't dry the bowl) and cover the bowl with a tea towel. Leave the dough to rest for at least an hour. You can rest the dough for up to 24 hours (after that it's not so good). If you want to leave it more than 3 or 4 hours, I'd put the dough in the fridge after a couple hours for freshness.

Step 5: Making the Filling:

I like to make the filling right after I finish the dough, then put it in the fridge to let the flavours infuse the meat for the rest of the hour (or however long you are resting the dough). Like the dough, I wouldn't keep it in the fridge longer than 24 hours (food safety).

For the filling, finely chop however many green onions/scallions/spring onions you want. Mince, grate or finely dice however much garlic and ginger you want as well. If you like an ingredient, add more of it, and vice versa.

Mix the pork in a bowl with the green onions/scallions/spring onions, garlic, ginger and 1-2 tablespoons of soy sauce. You can add more soy sauce if you want. I also add 1-2 teaspoons of oyster sauce. Season to taste with pepper, and salt if you really want. Remember the soy sauce is salty already and you will be dipping these in soy sauce as well!

You can also add a splash of sesame oil, or hoisin or fish or oyster sauce if you want. You can add chillies too if you like heat, and basically anything else that you think goes! You can also swap out the pork filling for another filling if you want. Just make sure it isn't too moist.

Step 6: Making Dumpling Skins: (Part 1)

Take your ball of rested dough and cut it in half. If you really want, you can weigh pieces to make sure they're equal, but I just eyeball it. Take one of the dough halves, (put the other half back inside the bag or under a damp tea towel/piece of plastic wrap to stop it drying out!) and cut it in half. Take one of the quarter dough pieces (again, put the other half back!) and cut into half again. Now take the one eighth piece (remember to put the other half back!) and cut it into three or four small pieces, depending on how big the segment is. You want small pieces, but NOT marble or pea size. That's too small :) About grape or cherry tomato sized pieces is good.

Step 7: Making Dumpling Skins: (Part 2)

Dust your work surface with flour and start rolling out your dough balls with a rolling pin. Add more flour as needed to stop the dough sticking. Rotate your dough 90 degrees every couple of 'rolls' to help make a rounder circle shape. AS LONG AS YOUR DUMPLING SKINS ARE ROUGHLY CIRCULAR, IT'S FINE. It's ok if they're a little misshapen. No one will notice when they're turned into yummy dumplings! If your dumpling skin is simply just too weird shaped, roll the skin back into a ball and reroll it out.

If you accidentally tear a skin, simply press the torn edges back together, using a little water if needed to make them stick back together. Keep on rolling! :)

Your dumpling skin should be very thin and translucent. You should be able to see your fingers through it. Thick skins are tough and not so nice to eat (unless you like thick skins, in who case make them as thick as you like!)

Step 8: Making Dumpling Skins: (Part Three)

Place the finished skins on a floured baking sheet or tray (you can cover the tray with greaseproof/wax paper first if you want). Separate layers of skins with floured greaseproof/wax paper. Don't let the skins touch and place them in a single layer only or they will stick together.

I like to make half the dough into dumplings skins, then stop and fill those skins before making the next batch from the other half of the dumpling dough.

Step 9: Filling the Dumplings:

To fill the dumplings, place a heaped teaspoon of the filling mixture into the centre of a dumpling skin. Using either slurry (plain/all purpose flour and water mixed together to form a paste) or just water, use your finger to paint a line of slurry or water along the inside edge of the dumpling skin, halfway around the dumpling skin (SEE THE BLUE LINE ON THE PHOTO) Fold the dumpling in half, pressing to seal the edges.

If your dumpling suffers a small burst or rupture while filling, take it to the Dumpling Emergency Room! Simply dab some slurry or water over the hole and press a small piece of dough (you can tear a piece from the loose dough at the top or take a spare piece of dough.) and press the 'patch' over the area. If your dumpling suffers a major rupture, it may have to go to Dumpling Reincarnation, a.k.a you will have to remake it.

NOTE: Slurry gives a better 'seal'. You cannot taste it in the finished product.

Step 10: Finishing the Dumpling:

To finish the dumplings, you can either pleat the top edge of loose dough, press marks with the tines of a fork into the loose dough at the top, or, as I chose to do, simply fold the side edges into the middle. To do this, apply a dot of slurry or water with your finger at the corners of the dumpling (SEE THE PHOTO) and fold the edges onto the middle or 'belly' or the dumpling. Press gently to seal the edges in place. It's ok if the edges are uneven, or don't touch in the center. As I said, no one will notice with such yummy dumplings!

Step 11: Storing and Freezing Your Dumplings:

If you aren't going to cook the dumplings within 30 minutes to 1 hour, FREEZE YOUR DUMPLINGS! Even if is just for a couple of hours. Otherwise they go soggy and moist and yucky in the fridge after about an hour. If you DO leave them in the fridge for more than an hour, I claim no responsibility for yucky dumplings. I warned you! Store dumplings in a floured airtight box or on a floured plate wrapped in cling/plastic wrap in the fridge.

To freeze your dumplings, arrange them in a single layer on a floured plate and cover loosely with plastic/cling wrap (or leave them uncovered, if that's how you roll!) Freeze them for 30 minutes to an hour (or until they're fully frozen, it's up to you!) This stops them sticking together when you put them in a ziplock bag. Put the partially frozen dumplings into either an airtight box or put them in a freezer-safe plastic bag. I wouldn't keep frozen dumplings for more than three (3) months, but I doubt they will last that long!

Step 12: Cooking the Dumplings:

These are CRISPY dumplings, so I'm going to show you how to fry/steam them. If you want to boil or steam them, go ahead. Boil until the dumplings float or steam until filling is cooked, 6-10 minutes depending on dumpling size.

For the fry/steam method, which results in beautifully crispy dumpling bottoms, pour 1-2 tablespoons of neutral oil, such as Vegetable or Rice Bran, into a pan and turn the heat on medium. Place frozen dumplings into the pan while the oil is still cold to avoid oil splatter when hot oil hits ice crystals. You can put refrigerated dumplings into hot oil however. When the dumplings start to sizzle, take the pan off the heat and wait about 30 seconds to let the pan cool off to avoid oil splatter. Add about 1/4 cup/ 50-60 mls water (hot or cold). Put the pan back on the heat and put the lid on. When the water boils, turn the heat down to medium low or low, and let the dumplings cook for 5-6 minutes or until the water has evaporated, the dumplings are cooked and the bottoms are golden brown. If needed, turn the heat up to high until the bottoms are browned and/or all water has evaporated.

Step 13: Serve the Dumplings!

Either serve the dumplings in the pan, or use tongs to transfer them to a plate. Serve with just plain soy sauce, black vinegar, chilli sauce or use my easy dipping sauce below!

Step 14: Optional: Easy Dipping Sauce!

For my easy dipping sauce, you'll need:

Soy sauce
Garlic: 1-2 cloves, more if you like garlic and vice versa
Ginger: 1-2 marble sized pieces, more if you like ginger and vice versa
Spring onion/scallion/green onion: As much as you like.
Optional: Black vinegar, chilli slices, chilli oil, oyster sauce

Place the garlic, ginger and spring onion/scallion/green onion in a bowl and cover with soy sauce. Add in some chilli or chilli oil if you like it hot, add a bit of vinegar if you like it sour, etc. It's best to make this sauce at least 5 minutes before you serve to allow the flavours to infuse the soy sauce.

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