You know you love them. Savory Asian pork dumplings. One taste and you’re immediately smitten. No-one can resist these succulent porky bites and since the Chinese New Year starts on February 8th – making a batch is almost required.
There are so many different varieties and naming conventions for these tasty morsels, that I’m not going to embarrass myself by attempting a breakdown of them. Let’s just call the steamed dumplings — “gyoza” – because that’s what it says on my favorite Chinese restaurant’s menu. The dumplings that are fried crisp are “dim sum”. I’m sure there are plenty of people who can (and probably will) point out my elementary nomenclature of this staple, but I’m not the food police and I just want to eat.
My favorite version, comes from Chef Anita Lo. Her authentic method yields exactly what I expect from a steamed pork gyoza or crispy dim sum. Incidentally, I like them steamed and fried so there’s instructions for both in the recipe below.
You’d think that hand-formed dumplings would be difficult and time consuming, sending most folks to the local take-out joint. Believe it or not, they’re do-able. Nothing too complicated. The filling comes together in the same time it takes to mix a meatloaf. Forming the dumplings takes a little practice — and by “a little” I mean 2 or 3 dumplings. I even went out of my comfort zone and made a short video to show you how easy it is. Don’t laugh – this is my first attempt. Or, laugh all you like, just don’t tell me about it.
The best part about this recipe, aside from the eyes-rolling-back-in-your-head-first-bite, is that it makes a manageable amount. Not 200 dumplings. Not 100. About 40. In other words, about an hour from start to finish. And they freeze beautifully, so you can make them in advance and take out what you need — when you need them.
The dipping sauce, is a quick 4-ingredient mix that you can whip up just before serving. The hardest part is deciding whether to steam or fry your gyoza. I took the angst out of that decision-making process and did both. Gluttonous? Yes. But, oh so good! Grab your chopsticks! Don’t want the dumpling part? Try this recipe for Asian Pork Meatballs.
Asian Pork Dumplings
- 1 package Gyoza wrappers
- 2 teaspoons dried shrimp found at oriental markets, finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons sherry
- 1 1/2 cups cabbage chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 pound ground pork
- 1 bunch chives reserve a few for garnish, chopped
- 1 large clove garlic minced
- 1 inch knob ginger peeled and grated
- 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 large egg beaten
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper freshly ground
- 1 heaping tablespoon cornstarch
For Dipping Sauce:
- 1/3 cup unseasoned rice wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon Sriracha or more to taste
- 1 scallion sliced on a diagonal
- bamboo steamer or steaming basket
- large sheet pan lined with parchment paper
- In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients for the filling and use your clean hands to mix thoroughly. Set aside.
- In a small bowl combine the ingredients for the dipping sauce and set aside.
Form the dumplings
- Add water to a small bowl and have it close by. Hold a wrapper in the palm of your hand. Dip your finger into the water and brush the water around the perimeter of the wrapper. Spoon a heaping teaspoon of filling into the center of the wrapper and fold in half. Begin pleating the dumpling by making a small fold at the edge of the top wrapper and pressing the pleat firmly to adhere to the bottom of the dumpling. Continue to pleat and press until the dumpling resembles a half moon and the filling is sealed inside. Place the dumplings on the baking sheet and continue assembling the rest.
To steam the dumplings
- Add 1" of water to a large pot and bring to a boil. Arrange a few cabbage leaves on the bamboo steamer or the steaming basket (so dumplings don't stick). Arrange dumplings in the steaming basket and set in the pot - so that the dumplings aren't touching the water. Place the lid on the pot and steam until the wrapper is translucent and filling is firm and cooked through - about 5-6 minutes. Transfer to a platter and garnish with extra chives or sliced scallions. Serve with dipping sauce.
To fry the dumplings
- Add 1-2 tablespoons of vegetable oil to a skillet and heat over medium high heat. When skillet gets hot, place the dumplings in the pan (pleat side up) and cook for 1-2 minutes to get a good crust. Carefully add enough water to the pan so that it just covers the bottom and put a tight fitting lid on the pan. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, or until water evaporates and dumplings are done cooking. Transfer to a platter. Garnish with chives or chopped scallions and serve with dipping sauce.
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