Dumplings may be originated from China, but it is also popular in the USA. In fact, dumplings are famous all over the world now. It is a shape of dough like a US fifty-cent coin or maybe a bit larger. These dough shapes are stuffed in various purees like chicken, vegetables, egg, tofu, and other meat types. In the USA, chicken dumplings are the most popular.
Whatever stuff you use, making dumplings is a continuous process through several steps like making dough, filling, folding, cooking the stuffed dough shapes, dipping sauces, etc. To have a perfectly soft and pillow dough with delicious, flavorful filling, perfection in every step is required.
Here, you can learn how to make dumplings in a detailed explanation. All the steps are described, including tiny attributes. So, let’s dig deep into it.
How To Make Dumplings
Dumplings are enough to bring a warm and fuzzy feeling. It is an excellent start to your daily meal, and it is also perfect for afternoon snacks. You can make it a heavy meal and include it in your diet chart with some nutritious filling.
There are two types of dumplings, depending on their nature. The cornmeal-made dumplings are solid-textured and cooked and served in a flavorful dip like soups or broths. The flour-made dumplings are dry and filled with a great variety of filling. Once made the shapes, they can be boiled or steamed or pan-fried or deep-fried.
The soft dough and yummy flavorful texture come from proper processing. So, follow the steps as described below.
Step-1: Making Dough
To follow the Chinese recipe or have the perfection to make soft dough, you have to know what flour type can do and what the best water and flour ratio should be. Yes, only two ingredients- flour and water is enough to make dough for dumplings, and only these two items can bring perfection if you can do it the right way.
First, you have to make the scratch from the dough and then get wrappers from these scratches. There are ready0made wrappers to make dumplings available in the market. But the homemade wrappers are softer and chewier. Once you make wrappers in your home, you will like to have them. Besides, getting wrappers from scratch is a Chinese norm regarding Dumplings recipe.
Now, know about the flour type for dumpling dough.
Choose The Flour Type
There is special dumpling flour in the Chinese market or Asian shops or American stores. This flour is heavily processed and bleached, and it can create a whiter look and smoother texture in dough. For the high processing, it can contain less nutrition comparably.
On the other hand, you can choose all-purpose flour or plain regular flour. They work just perfectly to make dumpling dough. Besides, all-purpose flour is full of protein, calories, and energy.
If you think of getting the best flour type to make dumpling dough, you can go for ’00’ flour type or bread flour. It is high in protein content which is responsible for creating higher gluten. The gluten content can help obtain the necessary elasticity and chewy nature in dumpling dough. But it can be undesirable if you do not like the chewier texture.
All-purpose flour can be preferable for its high availability and perfect chewy texture-producing ability. You can use a bit of baking powder to act as a leavening agent that releases gas to expand dough in the proper form.
Make Dough With Right Flour-Water Ratio
Dumpling dough should be perfectly soft to make the shape you like. A proper dough softness makes it easy to create thin discs for dumpling shapes. To make it smooth, you cannot add excess water. It can make the dough sticky.
The proper flour-water ratio is 2:1, and it is measured by weight, not by the volume of flour and water. For example, if you take 200g of all-purpose flour, you have to add 100 to 105 g of water to make the dumpling dough. The mixture will not get the proper texture for dumpling shapes if you weigh water and flour by volume. So, it is better to consider water and flour using a weight scale.
If you do not have the scale or balance, you can measure the weight using cups. For example, if you take 1 cup of flour, you have to add ½ cup or slightly less than ½ cup of water. Before measuring flour, you must sift it. It is essential to create perfection in dumpling dough. When taking and measuring them in cups, level the top correctly.
Though we are measuring them correctly by weight, some factors can make some difference. These factors are the water absorption ability of flour, the humidity of the kitchen or room where you are working, etc. So, a bit of cook-power may be required to make the adjustments in dough texture.
Another critical factor is the water temperature. Different water temperature is fit for different dumpling processing. For example, cold water is the best choice for dumplings made by boiling. It is because flour’s protein can form gluten in cold water, making the dough chewy. This texture and status can tolerate and work well in boiling water.
Knead the Flour-Water Dough and Rest
You can knead flour and water mixture by hand and by hand mixer machine. Though hand mixer is a hassle-free system, kneading the dough by hand provides options for making adjustments. You can add water in batches to flour to understand the perfectness slowly.
First, when you make the mixture by hand, mix a rough-looking dough. Let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Then knead the dough to a smooth and medium-soft texture. After making the desired texture of the dough, cover it with a plastic wrap or a cover. Keep it to rest for 30 to 60 minutes. It will be softer in resting time.
In a stand mixer, you have to add the required amount of flour and water at once and run the mixer at low speed for 8 to 10 minutes rough. When the dough is ready, let it rest for 30 to 60 minutes after covering it with a wrap.
How do you find if it is soft enough, not too soft, not less? Following Chinese cooks, you can check it by touch. They said the dumpling dough should be soft like an earlobe. So, now your dough is ready, and it is time to go for the next step.
Step-2: Turn The Dough Into Wrappers By Rolling
After resting the dough, it is time to turn them into wrappers. You can make the wrappers from the dough in two ways.
Way-1: By Hand
- You have to make a loop from the dough to place the filling in the middle part easily.
- Take a portion of dough and then turn them into a few ropes.
- Cut those ropes into small pieces and try to keep them in the exact sizes.
- Now flatten each piece into a circle or round disc using your palm or fingers.
- Now use the rolling pin to make the wrappers thin enough.
Way-2: Using Pasta Machine
- place a portion of dough into a pasta machine.
- Using the machine, roll the dough into a thin sheet.
- Now take a wine glass or scone cutter to cut the wrapper from the thin dough sheet.
- Use the rim of the glass or cutter to cut the wrappers.
The dough should be a bit firmer for this process than the way-1. You can make the dough slightly firmer by adding one or two tea-spoon less water. You have to let it rest not more than 30 minutes. This process is easier than the first way and a perfect solution for beginners.
- After making wrappers, do not keep them open. It will be dried in a short while. Keep them covered.
- While making the wrappers, they can stick to the hand, working surface, or rolling pin. It is normal. You have to dust the place or hand it with a bit of flour.
Step-3: Make The Filling
The filling can be anything, actually. Yes, you can modify the filling types as your taste choice and preferences. For example, vegan dumplings are preferable for vegetarian people. The most famous dumpling in the USA is chicken dumplings.
If you are concerned about making dumpling filling and maintaining a proper nutrition balance in perfect texture, you have to follow some basic principles. You can create an ideal fill even using your favorite items. Make sure that you have matched the mixing items the correct way.
Know the essential facts to make a proper dumpling filling.
Create a Proper Balance of Nutrition:
If the filling has the right mixture of protein and vegetables, dumplings will be the perfect diet and the carbohydrate from the dumpling wrappers. When it becomes such an all-in-one meal, it can be served every mealtime.
As protein part of the filling, you can use meat, including lamb, chicken, pork, beef, turkey, seafood, fish, etc. As a protein puree, eggs or tofu are also good. You can use anything vegies for the vegetable source like spinach, broccoli, green peas, cabbage, Bok choi, etc.
Make the Filling Texture Moist
The dumpling fillings need to be moist. Dry fillings are not desirable and pleasant to taste. On the other hand, a too much-wet filling is not good. It will make the whole dumpling piece wet.
- To make the meat-based filling, you can add oil with high-fat content or chicken stock into the meat. It will be moist. Do not add too much fat. It will be just slightly soggy to keep all the ingredients stuck together.
- When you use vegan dumplings, it becomes highly wet for the water content present in vegetables. So, chop the vegetables and then squeeze the excess water out. With vegetables, add such items that have high absorbing power like vermicelli or scrambled eggs, etc.
Add A Nice Combination of Flavors
Dumpling fillings should be mixed with necessary ingredients, seasonings, and spices to get a pleasant aroma and taste. The most-commonly added herbs are soy sauce, white pepper, oyster sauce, sesame oil, salt, sugar, Sichuan pepper, minced ginger, minced garlic, etc.
Whatever spice you like, you can add. The Chinese five-spice powder is primarily known to add in dumpling filling to get the authentic flavor. Besides, finely chopped scallions, thymes, Italian seasonings, etc. lots are added in different areas’ recipes.
Many people do not try to make dumplings at home since they find it hard to fold the dumpling wrappers correctly. But there is now worry or fear. It will be pretty easy if you do it for a couple of dumplings.
Actually, it is great fun to make dumplings in different shapes. Making shapes by pleating is easier if you use homemade wrappers. They are supple to fold, making it easier to create various forms. The preferred dumpling shape is the original Chinese dumpling shape, which is a half-moon shape. Making this shape is simple and easy to make.
- First, take a piece of wrapper and then keep one spoonful filling precisely at the middle part of the wrapper.
- Now fold the wrapper to turn a coin shape. Take the top part of the rim and pinch it slowly consistently to make pleats.
- Create 3 to 5 pleats in one dumpling piece from each end.
- Now press softly from all around the edge of the wrapper and seal it completely.
Now see how it has turned into a coin shape. There are several types of design and shapes to make attractive dumplings. You can try them, but there are some facts to create perfect forms in a correct system. So, follow the rules below.
- Do not keep the wrappers by overlying. It will stick them together.
- Use flour to duct the dough when you roll the wrappers. It will help in avoiding them sticking. You can also dust the wrappers from the top when you keep them on a surface for a long time. But do not use excess flour while rolling them. It can make it hard to seal the wrapper shapes.
- To follow the boiling process, ensure that your dumplings are sealed well. It will prevent wrapper skin from cracking or breaking.
- When choosing the dumpling shapes, selecting a specific form for a particular cooking process will be wise. Since boiling can change the shape of dumplings or have more effects on wrappers’ skin, you should choose a simple shape. But in the case of steaming or frying, you can make any shapes. The steaming and frying process does not change the dumpling shape.
Step-5: Cooking Dumplings
After making dumplings in different shapes, now is the time to cook them. You can cook them in boiling, steaming, and pan-frying. Other cooking processes create different tastes. Boiled dumplings are soft, chewy, and non-greasy in taste and touch, while fried dumplings are crispy outside and soft inside. Let’s know different cooking processes for dumplings.
Boiling dumplings are not a popular method, especially in the West. But it is the authentic technique of China. Even today, Chinese householders like boiled dumplings. Follow the steps below to make authentic Chinese dumplings.
- Take a large pot to cook dumplings. Take water as much needed to cover a single layer of dumplings. If the pot is large enough to hold all the dumplings in a single layer, you can cook them at once. Otherwise, you have to cook your dumplings in batches.
- After taking sufficient water inside the pot, place it on the stove and boil.
- When water is fully boiling, place the dumplings one by one carefully. Arrange them in a single layer. Make sure that dumplings are submerged, touching the top surface layer of water. Keep the heat at high.
- Now cook them by covering the lid. When it starts to a full boil, add a little cold water into it. It will calm down the water. Repeat this process three times. It will ensure that all the dumplings are cooked well. This process is known as the Dian Shuai process for ensuring the proper cooking of dumplings. Cover the lid after every cold water addition process.
- When all the dumplings are cooked well, drain the pot carefully. Then rinse the boiled dumplings with cold water. It will remove excess starch and prevent dumplings from sticking together. There is no need to rinse them with cold water if you add them to the soup.
Fried dumplings are famous worldwide. Its popularity is increasing. Frying them in the pan is not so simple as it follows the fry-steam-fry technique but is manageable. Follow the steps below.
- Take a pan and place it on the stove. Place a little oil into it and heat it at high heat. After heating it for 2 to 3 minutes, add dumplings. Do not stir them using a spoon or cooking spud. It can break the dumpling’s skin. So, move the pan back and forth softly so that dumplings do not get stuck to the pan.
- When the bottom sides of the dumplings are goldenly grown, add cold water. The water should cover one-third of the dumplings, not more, not less. Now cover the lid immediately. Take time to steam them at high heat conditions.
- The water will evaporate within 15 to 20 minutes. When there are no water, cook dumplings for one minute more. It will make them crisp. Careful so that they do not burn.
The steaming process is the most straightforward process to cook dumplings. They are the most popular, especially in Asia. It is a faster process too. Follow the steps to know how to make dumplings by the steaming method.
- To steam dumplings, you will need a steamer basket. First, set a pan full of water to boil on the stove. Meanwhile, while the water is heated, make the steamer basket ready.
- On the steamer basket, dumplings can stick easily during cooking. That’s why set parchment paper or brush oil in a thin layer before placing the dumplings. Set the dumplings in a single layer and ensure that they do not touch one another.
- When the water is boiling completely, place the steamer basket. Cook for 10 minutes only.
Steamed dumplings are ready to have.
Dumplings are served either in soup or with sauces. Dumplings sauces are delicious, spicy, and different. There are different types of dumpling sauces. A simple and authentic dumpling sauce is a mixture of black rice vinegar and chili oil.
How to Store Dumplings
Dumplings are perfect for storing in the freezer. As they are a good option for snacks or breakfast or even meal time, you can make them in a large batch and store excess dumplings in the freezer. It becomes handy to have them quickly.
To store dumplings in the freezer, place them without touching them in a tray. Dust them with flour. Now keep them in the freezer till they are completely frozen. Now remove the tray from the freezer and transfer all the dumplings into an airtight box. Cover the lid tightly. Then keep them in the freezer again.
You can store them for three months in this way.
Dumplings are an innovative food item. You can modify the taste in different ways. One option is the filling, and the other option is the cooking process to change them. Three different cooking process makes different taste. People may prefer one or two types, but they like to try other flavors- soft boiled dumplings or steamed dumplings, or crisp fried dumplings.
On the other hand, you can modify filling to a vast extent. For vegetarians, vegan dumplings are a good option. Chicken or different meats in the fillings work as an excellent protein source. When you do not have anything to make the fillings, you can make them only with the eggs.
The seasonings and spices mixture depends on the taste of people. So, there are enormous options to create different flavors of dumplings. You can quickly know how to make dumplings here and make and store them for more extended uses.