How to make pork dumplings


If you think frozen pork dumplings from the store are addictive, then just you wait until you try these homemade fellas. They are everything you want in a dumpling: plump and nicely chewy, filled with tender pork, flavored with fresh ginger, green onion and sesame oil. Bet you can’t eat just one.

Whether you’re celebrating something with friends or stocking your freezer for a busy month ahead, these dumplings should definitely be on your list. Even if you’re not celebrating anything, dumplings are a good project to tackle with a few friends — the recipe I give here makes about 80 little dumplings, and many hands make the otherwise tedious task of folding each one fly by. Afterward, split them up, and you each have a few dinners you can stash in your freezer.

I use store-bought dumpling (or gyoza) wrappers to make my dumplings — they’re dependable and easy to find and use. Look for them near the tofu in the produce section of your grocery store, or plan a trip to your nearest Asian market.

The recipe I use below is a slight adaptation of one of our earliest Kitchn recipes: Kenny Lao’s Rickshaw Dumplings. This is the recipe that introduced me to the delicious possibilities of the homemade dumpling, for which I will be eternally grateful.

Pork Dumplings

1/2 medium head Napa cabbage (about 1 pound)

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 pound ground pork

1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)

1 bunch cilantro, minced (about 3/4 cup)

3 tablespoons soy sauce

2-inch piece fresh ginger, grated on a microplane or finely minced (about 3 tablespoons)

2 tablespoons sesame oil

2 large eggs, whisked

1 (12-ounce) package round dumpling, wonton, or gyoza wrappers

Slice the half-head of cabbage down its length, through the root, to make two quarters. Then slice each quarter into very thin strips, cutting cross-wise. Toss the slices with the salt in a large mixing bowl and set aside for 5 to 10 minutes.

While it rests with the salt, the cabbage will start to release liquid. When it’s ready, grab handfuls of the cabbage and squeeze out the water. Transfer the squeezed cabbage to another mixing bowl.

Combine the cabbage with the rest of the filling ingredients: To the bowl with the squeezed cabbage, add the ground pork, sliced scallions, cilantro, soy sauce, ginger, sesame oil and eggs. Work the mixture together with your hands until fully combined.

Arrange your dumpling-making station. Clear a large space on the counter. Set a small bowl of water, the bowl of filling and a parchment-lined baking sheet nearby. Open the package of dumpling wrappers and arrange a few on the work space in front of you.

Place 1 scant tablespoon of filling on each dumpling wrapper. It doesn’t look like much filling, but using any more gets messy and makes the dumplings hard to pleat closed! Once you get the hang of pleating the dumplings, you can try adding a bit more.

Dip your finger in the bowl of water and run it around the edge of the dumpling. This will help it to seal closed.

Lift the dumpling from the work surface and fold it in half. Press the top closed.

Use your opposite thumbs to fold a tiny pleat on either side of the dumpling, then press firmly to seal the dumpling closed. You may need to dab a little water under the pleat to make it stick closed.

Continue filling and pleating the rest of the wrappers using the remaining filling. As you finish each dumpling, line it up on the parchment-lined baking sheet.

You can cook the dumplings immediately, or freeze them on the baking sheet. Once frozen solid, gather them into a freezer container and keep frozen for up to three months.

Film a skillet with about a tablespoon of oil and warm over high heat. When the oil is shimmering, arrange the dumplings in the pan as close as they’ll fit without actually touching. Cook until the bottoms have turned brown and golden.

Pour 3 tablespoons of water in the pan. The water will immediately sizzle and begin to steam.

Cover the pan immediately and reduce the heat to low.

Cook the dumplings for 3 to 5 minutes if fresh, or 6 to 8 minutes if frozen. When done, the wrappers will appear translucent and noodle-like; the filling will be opaque and warmed through.

Transfer the cooked dumplings to a plate and serve with soy sauce or other dipping sauce. Makes 70-80 dumplings.

Per serving: 200 calories; 8 g fat (2 g saturated fat; 36 percent calories from fat); 19 g carbohydrates; 4 g sugar; 62 mg cholesterol; 937 mg sodium; 12 g protein; 2 g fiber.