The traditional dumping is a simple bite with few ingredients served as a snack or main dish around the world, with origins dating back to Ancient China. The dough is homemade and wrapped neatly around fillings of your choice, including lamb, beef, or veggies.
Dumplings are a tiny delight and as easy to make as they are to enjoy. In fact, making dumplings at home from scratch is a popular choice as it is easy and fun to do, and creates an intimate bond with traditional Chinese cooking.
Follow along to learn how to make dumplings, what to use for fillings, what to serve alongside the doughy bites and how to include alternative ingredients if you need them. First, let’s have a look at how to craft the perfect dumpling.
How to Make Chinese Dumplings
Dumplings are fun to make, but they require a bit of time and focus. The instructions listed are important to respect as the dough consistency and filling weight can make or break how well the dumplings hold.
Let’s get started on walking through how to make dumplings from scratch.
Make Dumplings from Scratch
If you’re up for a timely challenge, making dumplings from scratch is a rewarding cooking activity. Fewer processes mean cleaner eating, chef mode means full ingredient autonomy and cooking from scratch always leads to deeper culinary awareness. Not to mention, making dumplings from scratch is a fun activity to enjoy with friends while preparing dinner, so you can easily make a whole afternoon out of Chinese dumpling night.
As long as time and patience are on your side, making the perfect dumplings to serve is easy. And remember, while the look of the dumpling is convincing, it is the flavor, consistency and temperature that matter most.
Here is a classic recipe to use when making dumplings:
Chinese Dumpling Recipe
This recipe is for a simple, traditional Chinese dumpling. Feel free to add flavor and substitute proteins or sauces. The most important instructions to adhere to are dough wrapping and timing.
The ingredients in dumplings are simple. However, a few of them likely look out of place on your typical shopping list. For any unfamiliar ingredients, you can head to your local Chinese or Asian grocery store. The more authentic you keep the ingredient list, the better. Additionally, be sure to select meats and vegetables that are organic, fresh, and if possible, seasonal. Cooking with fresh, natural ingredients is a culinary must in traditional Chinese cooking.
- Four cups of flour
- One cup of water (room temperature)
- Four cups of desired filling
That’s it, three ingredients!
- In a large mixing bowl, add flour and water
- Mix with chopsticks
- Dust hands in flour
- Begin to knead the dough
- Brush counter with flour and knead flour on the counter
- Place dough into bowl (pre-cleaned and dusted)
- Cover with damp towel and lid
- Let rest. Let the dough sit for at least an hour before working with it. If you’ve made super tough dough, great; but let this tough mixture sit for a total of 3-4 hours before trying to use it.
- Dough should be smooth on the surface; return to counter to knead/harden and let rest for 30 minutes to an hour
- Return dough to dusted counter
- Slice a sixth of the dough off to work it, replacing the bulk back in the covered bowl
- Roll the dough out into a 1” stick, then cut into 12 square pieces
- One at a time, dust each piece
- Re-dust counter, and roll dough squares into circles
- Place wrapper in palm and add one tablespoon of filling
- Use free hand to seal wrapper; if they aren’t sticking, add water
- Only make 20-25 at a time and cook or freeze immediately
- One at a time, add dumplings to a pot of boiling water
- Stir calmly, bringing back to boil, and reduce heat to minimize bubbles (about one minute)
- When dumplings float and become see-through, transfer to a plate (2-4 minutes)
- Dough dries out quickly, so plan to prepare only a small batch of dumplings or to prepare them with a friend.
- When cooking the dumplings, do not leave them unattended; the dough is fragile and will unseal if cooked for one minute too long. Watch the entire short length to remove dumplings on time.
Homemade Chinese Dumplings Call for Side Dishes
Dumplings are not solely reserved for light bites and appetizers dishes. In fact, dumplings are so cherished for their deliciousness, they’re often served as the main course. If you serve dumplings for dinner, we recommend accompanying the meal with various side dishes. Below are a few recommendations you can try out at home:
- Baked crispy tofu nuggets
- Chicken fried rice
- Chicken or veggie spring rolls with peanut sauce
- Chinese broccoli
- Chinese chicken salad (with creamy dressing)
- Chinese style green vegetables
- Egg drop soup
- Five-spice and garlic roasted potatoes
- Fried cabbage
- Garlic broccoli
- Hoisin roasted asparagus
- Miso glazed carrots
- Roasted Kung Pao Brussels sprouts
- Shrimp baked spring rolls
- Shrimp or veggie fried rice
- Sichuan dry-fried green beans
- Soy sauce fried rice
- Stir-fry corn and pine nuts
- Vegetarian hot and sour soup
Make Asian Dumplings Vegan
If you or a guest are eliminating animal products from your diet, dumplings can easily be made vegan. Substitute veggies or tofu for the inside filling. Since dumplings can be filled with anything, the vegetarian-friendly options are endless.
A Little Dumpling History
If you’re making dumplings at home, sharing a bit of culinary history is a fun way to engage the group and deepen your appreciation for authentic cuisine.
As dumplings are one of the world’s most darling foods that have stood the test of time, diners often wonder from where the bite-size favorite came. If we roll back the clock nearly 2,000 years, we find the creator of Chinese dumplings to be a local Chinese healer who shared lamb and chili-filled dough balls with the community to heal those suffering from frostbite and illness. While dumplings are not technically medicine, a dose of warm, homemade dumplings is still a beloved cure for wintry days.
New Year’s Blessing
Hopefully, you shared dumplings over this New Year’s holiday; if not, there is always next year. Dumplings are a traditional dish to serve at the New Year as they symbolize good luck and fortune in health and wealth. In fact, many dumpling fillings have specific connotations with what they symbolize. Before you serve your guests, have a look into the meaning of certain foods in Chinese culture so you can share these bites of “good fortune” with your guests.
Let Us Know Your Recipe Tips
Have you made Chinese dumplings or noticed something delectable in a family recipe? Let our Asian Fusion cuisine family know about it by including a comment below. If you’re new to the blog, check out the wise culinary words!
Zhen Wei Feng
Try out our fresh dumplings at Zhen Wei Feng. Our chef specialties will dazzle you as soon as our robot host ushers you to your seat. We invite you to dine in with friends or family to fully experience authentic Asian cooking. We hope to see you soon!