Lunar New Year

Here’s How to Fold Dumplings Fearlessly

February  6, 2018

Every so often, we scour the site for cool recipes from our community that we then test, photograph, and feature—this one comes from longtime community member Tashie.

As easy as it is to inhale one pillowy dumpling after another, folding and crimping your own creations can be a bit more intimidating. At least, that’s what community member Tashie found when making dumplings with her dad growing up.

“As a family, everyone has a dumpling job, and I’ve always been relegated to putting water on the wrappers or putting stuffing on the wrappers,” she says. “I never had the wrapping job.”

A new take on Dad’s tradition. Photo by Rocky Luten

But as she got older—and, dare we say, wiser—she realized fancy folds are nice, but not necessary.

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“You can just put water on the wrapper and just press them together! What a concept,” she says.

Here, she’s simplified the stuffing and folding process by filling gyoza wrappers with ground pork, chopped shiitakes, and Swiss chard. Try to get fresh shiitakes, but if you only have dried mushrooms make sure to rehydrate them completely and remove the stems. Also, avoid the tempting shortcut of using a food processor to chop the Swiss chard. You need to finely chop by hand to keep the filling mixture from getting too watery.

When stuffing the dumplings, use a normal teaspoon to put the filling in the middle of the wrapper, then use your finger to put water around one half of the wrapper and fold the wrapper in half. Press the edges firmly together to make sure that the dumpling is sealed. From there, you can either boil the dumplings for a delicious dinner, or freeze them on a floured plate or baking sheet until solid enough to transfer into freezer bags.

While Tashie’s recipe streamlines homemade dumplings, there’s one part of her tradition she won’t alter: the hot sauce. Made with Thai chile peppers or jalapeños, her dad’s hot sauce packs a fiery kick.

“The best part of Dad’s dumplings is the hot sauce,” she says. “My dad has been making this hot sauce since I can remember, and it wows anyone who comes into contact with it.”

Have any simplified versions of childhood classics? Share your favorites in the comments!

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A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

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Katie is a food writer and editor who loves cheesy puns and cheesy cheese.

1 Comment

Joy H. February 6, 2018
There's no need to pleat the dumplings if they're just going to be boiled, but if you're going to make potstickers, the pleats are essential so that the dumplings have a flat "bottom".