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Author Notes: My dad has been making homemade dumplings for as long as I can remember. 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...I never had the wrapping job. I’ve always been intimidated by the whole folding aspect, but I recently figured out that you really don’t need to do any fancy fold, you can just put water on the wrapper and just press them together! What a concept.
My dad also confirmed that our local Korean store sells really good wrappers. We like to buy the Shanghai-style round gyoza wrappers. They are white and slightly thicker than wonton wrappers, which are usually yellow. These Shanghai-style wrappers are now ubiquitous in most Asian grocery stores.
The best part of Dad’s dumplings is the hot sauce. My dad has been making this hot sauce since I can remember, and it wows anyone who comes into contact with it. My dumpling stuffing is totally different from my dad’s, basically because it is what was available in my fridge today! —Tashie
Food52 Review: Dumplings have a nasty reputation of being time-consuming, but Tashie’s simplified version of her dad’s recipe is quick to put together and incredibly flavorful—from the well-seasoned filling to the kicky but balanced dipping sauce. —Kristen Miglore
Makes 30 dumplings
For the dumplings and marinade
- 4 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon cooking wine
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 4 fresh shiitakes or dried shiitakes (rehydrated in 1 cup of hot water for 20 minutes)
- 4 leaves of Swiss chard (stems removed), bok choi, or spinach
- 1/2 pound ground pork
- 30 Shanghai-style round gyoza wrappers
- Make the marinade for the dumplings: Mix the soy sauce, cooking wine, sugar, cornstarch, sesame oil, and white pepper together in a large bowl.
- Dice the shiitakes into tiny pieces. (I prefer fresh shiitakes, if you can get your hands on them. If you only have dried shiitakes, be sure to rehydrate them completely and to remove the stems.)
- Finely chop the Swiss chard. Do not use a food processor, or you won’t get the right texture and the mixture will get too watery.
- Add the ground pork, chopped shiitakes, and Swiss chard to the marinade and mix well with your hands. Get in there and make sure that there is pork, shiitakes, and Swiss chard in every bite.
- Use a normal teaspoon to put the stuffing in the middle of the wrappers. Use your finger to put water around one half of the wrapper and then fold the wrapper in half. Press the edges firmly together to make sure that the dumpling is sealed. Repeat until all stuffing is used up. I can usually get about 28 to 30 dumplings.
- Boil water. Put about 15 dumplings into the boiling water and keep the heat on high. When the dumplings surface and the water starts to boil again, pour 1 cup of cold water into the pot. When the dumplings surface again and the water is boiling, take the dumplings out and eat!
- If you are not cooking the dumplings right away, you can place them on a floured plate or baking sheet in one layer, not touching each other. Freeze until the dumplings are solid and then transfer them to a freezer bags. Do not forget to transfer them to a freezer bag or else you’ll cry when you find your freezer-burned dumplings in the freezer the next day. Set a timer to remind yourself that there are precious dumplings that need to go into a freezer bag.
For the hot sauce
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 3 Thai chile peppers or 1 jalapeño, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon sugar, preferably rock sugar
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1 scallion, chopped
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- Heat the oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat.
- When the pan is hot, and the oil is shimmering, add the chile peppers and minced garlic. They should sizzle immediately; turn down the heat if you smell garlic burning. Add rock sugar and swirl the pan around to melt it. This should take 1 minute or less.
- Add soy sauce to saucepan. Stand back; the fumes will make you sneeze and your eyes water. When the soy sauce starts to boil (almost immediately), add 1/4 cup cold water. When the sauce boils again, turn off the heat.
- Add chopped scallions and cilantro to the saucepan and wait 1 minute for the scallions and cilantro to wilt before transferring the sauce to a serving bowl.