DIY dumplings worth the effort

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 22 April, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 22 April, 2012, 12:00am


If you've got a couple of hours free now that typhoon season seems to be on its way, why not try making dumplings from scratch? They're worth the effort: they taste nothing like the frozen, preservative-filled ones on sale in shops. Homemade dumpling skin has a chewier texture, and you can roll them as thin or as thick as you like, then fill with quality ingredients, such as lean meat and veg, or just veggies.

Dumpling wrappers

(Makes about 30)

250g strong plain flour

pinch of salt

125ml boiling water

1 Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl, then pour in the water slowly and stir until the mixture forms into a ball. You may need to add extra water. Cover the bowl with clingfilm; let the dough sit for 45 minutes.

2 Put dough onto a floured surface, and knead for about five minutes until smooth.

3 Divide the dough into 30 pieces. Roll each one into a roundish shape about 8cm in diameter, then use a biscuit cutter (7cm diameter) to cut out a perfect circle. Dust with flour. Repeat, stacking wrappers on top of each other, until all the dough is used up.

4 Use the wrappers immediately or wrap tightly in clingfilm and store in the fridge until ready for use.

Pork and chive filling

(Fills around 30 dumplings)

150g Chinese chive, chopped

150g lean pork, minced

1 egg

1 tbsp light soy sauce

pinch of sugar

2 heaped tsp cornflour

2 tsp Chinese rice wine or dry sherry

1/2 tsp sesame oil

1/2 tsp white pepper

30 round homemade (or shop-bought) dumpling wrappers

1 Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. Cover with clingfilm, put in the fridge for 30 minutes to marinate.

Tofu, mushroom, carrot filling

(Fills around 30 dumplings)

2 dried Chinese mushrooms

1/2 tbsp vegetable oil

1 garlic clove, crushed

1 tsp fresh ginger, minced

80g carrots, diced into small cubes

1 tbsp oyster sauce

1 tsp soy sauce

3 tbsp stock

1 tbsp cornflour dissolved in 2 tbsp stock/water

100g firm tofu, cut into small cubes

1 spring onion, chopped

1/2 tsp sesame oil

freshly ground black pepper

1 Rehydrate the mushrooms in a bowl of warm water and cover with a plate. After 45 minutes, remove them, squeezing out any excess water. Cut off the stalks and cut the rest into small dice.

2 Place the oil in a non-stick frying pan and heat over a medium flame. Add the garlic and ginger and saute for a few seconds until fragrant, then add the carrots. Saute the carrots for a couple of minutes, then add the mushrooms, oyster sauce, soy sauce and stock. Stir as you cook for a couple of minutes.

3 Slowly add the cornflour solution; keep stirring until it thickens.

4 Add the tofu, spring onions and sesame oil; stir gently, then season.

5 Let the mixture cool before use.

To fill the dumplings

Put teaspoonful of filling in the centre of the wrapper. Wet your finger and run it along the edge of half the wrapper. Press to seal the edges tightly and pleat the edges. Place on a plate lined with greaseproof paper, to stop them sticking. Pan-fry or boil.

To fry the dumplings

1 Heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large, non-stick frying pan on a medium-high heat. Add dumplings, pleated side up. Fry a few minutes.

2 Pour about 5mm of water into the pan, cover with a lid and lower heat to medium. Cook for 6-8 minutes or until the water evaporates. Remove lid and cook for 1-2 minutes or until the bottoms of the dumplings are crispy and brown.

To boil the dumplings

1 Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Add the dumplings, cover with a lid and bring back to the boil. When the dumplings start to float, lower heat and simmer for a few of minutes until cooked through.

Wynnie Chan is a British-trained nutritionist. If you've got a question for her or would like to be featured in this column, e-mail