Heirloom Recipes

This is the Year You'll Learn to Make Dumplings (Dough and All)

January 25, 2017

As we finish up the first month of the New Year, I’m thinking about new traditions and celebrations to add to my life based on what I’ve learned cooking with immigrant grandmothers.

Recently, I learned to make pork dumplings, a northern Chinese dish cooked every year to celebrate Lunar New Year, from a woman in my community named Tina. She told me how each year, all the women in her family gather to shape and cook the dumplings. They’d eat as they went, making more as needed.

Tina gave me a few very important tips to great dumplings. First, she always makes the skins very thin, so that when you eat a dumpling, the outside melts in your mouth and you can really taste the savory pork filling. She also stressed the importance of ginger, which intensely flavors the meat.

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But what I found most interesting is Tina’s secret ingredient: She adds a 1/4 cup of soft tofu, minced fine, to the pork. She finds that the ground pork from the grocery store is much leaner than what she would get in China or Chinatown, but the tofu adds some much needed moisture to the mix.

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Top Comment:
“I'd like to try making these dumplings, and guess that I'd just finely mince some ginger and add with the scallions. Would that be correct?”
— Yvonne

These dumplings are very versatile: Boil, steam, or pan-fry them based on your liking. To serve, Tina puts some soy sauce and hot chili sauce on the table so that each person can have them as savory or spicy as they like.

With Lunar New Year right around the corner, I can’t wait to make a nice big batch of dumplings to serve to my family. The new year never tasted so good.

What new tradition will you be adding to your list this year? Tell us in the comments below!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • marchhare
  • Bobbi
  • Deirdre Statham
    Deirdre Statham
  • Patricia Ribeiro
    Patricia Ribeiro
  • Yvonne
Cookbook Author. Heirloom Kitchen.Food52 contributing editor & Recipe Tester.


marchhare February 10, 2024
I don't eat meat but would love to make these. Can I use plant based sausage or would I just use more tofu?
SJhapamama February 10, 2024
Plant-based sausage should be fine...as long as it isn't pre-seasoned with Italian spices or sage, etc. You could also consider adding some minced shiitake (dried, rehydrated, and squeezed out before mincing) or browned and minced oyster mushrooms.
marchhare February 11, 2024
Oh! Mushrooms are a great idea! I think I will do that. Thank you so much!
Bobbi January 26, 2017
Thank you for the recipe. So excited to make these. I got to try them in the f52 test kitchen and they were delish!
Anna F. January 27, 2017
Bobbi! Thank YOU for your gorgeous shot. Glad you like them. xx
Deirdre S. January 26, 2017
I am not a wine drinker as I just can't get accustomed to the taste so I never have it in the house. I also don't want to waste a bottle for 2 tablespoons. Can one substitute a sherry or rice wine vinegar instead of using white wine?
Anna F. January 27, 2017
I'm concerned the vinegar will be too acidic. A sherry would work. thanks for your question and I hope you like them.
Patricia R. January 25, 2017
Ok but where is the ginger in the recipe?
Anna F. January 25, 2017
its not showing up on this page but if you go to the recipe link you will see 2 tablespoons of minced ginger. Sorry for the confusion!
Patricia R. January 25, 2017
Yvonne January 25, 2017
Hi, in the introduction it's mentioned that Tina "stressed the importance of ginger"... but I can't see ginger in the ingredients list. I'd like to try making these dumplings, and guess that I'd just finely mince some ginger and add with the scallions. Would that be correct?
Anna F. January 25, 2017
Click on the link for the full recipe and you will see it. I hop you try it! Thanks!!
Yvonne January 25, 2017
Thank you!