How to Make Homemade Asian Dumplings from Scratch
Makes about 60 dumplings
- 3 to 4 cups
filling (See Recipe Notes for favorite filling recipes)
circular or square-shaped (4.5-inch) dumpling, wonton, or gyoza wrappers
Small bowl with water
Skillet with lid or steamer baskets, for cooking
Prepare the filling: Mix all the filling ingredients together. Taste (if not using raw meat) and adjust seasonings to taste. Set the filling near your work station.
Prepare your work station: Clear a good amount of counter space. Set the filling, the dumpling wrappers, a small bowl of water, and a parchment-lined baking sheet nearby. The water will be used to seal the dumplings. The baking sheet is handy for holding the dumplings as you finish them. The parchment lining keeps the dumplings from sticking to the pan.
Lay several dumpling wrappers on your work surface: Start with laying 3 wrappers on your work surface. As you get faster, you can do more at once.
Place 1 tablespoon of filling in the middle of each wrapper: Stick to one tablespoon of filling per wrapper to start. Once you're feeling more confident in your dumpling-making abilities, you can add a little more filling.
Moisten the edge of the dumpling wrapper: Dip your finger in the water and run it around the edge of each dumpling wrapper before you seal it closed. This will help the wrapper dough to stick to itself and create a seal.
Make the dumplings:
• Basic Dumplings: Simply fold the dumpling into a half-moon (or a triangle, if using square-shaped wrappers) and press closed. No fancy pleating required.
• Double Pleats: Fold the dumpling in half like a taco and press the very top closed. Using your thumb and first finger, fold a pleat into one side and then then fold an inverse pleat into the other side. Press firmly to seal.
• Multiple Pleats: Fold the dumpling in half like a taco but do not press it closed. Starting at one end, use your thumb and first finger to fold pleats into the side of the wrapper closest to you (ie, the front of the taco facing you). After making each pleat, pinch it closed against the back half of the wrapper (the back of the taco furthest from you). In this way, zipper the dumpling closed.
• Gathered Pouch: Gather the sides of the dumpling around the filling and pleat the top closed like a pouch. Pinch the opening to seal, using extra water if necessary.
Freeze the dumplings: If not cooking right away, freeze the dumplings on the baking sheet. Make sure none of the dumplings are touching or they will stick together. Once frozen solid, portion the dumplings into freezer containers and freeze for up to three months.
Cook the dumplings:
• Steamed Dumplings: Line a steamer basket with parchment and steam for about 6 minutes if fresh, 8 minutes if frozen.
• Pan-seared Dumplings (a.k.a. Potstickers): Film a skillet with about a tablespoon of oil and warm over high heat. When the oil is shimmering, arrange the dumplings in the pan as close as they will fit without touching. Cook until the bottoms have turned brown and golden. Pour 3 tablespoons of water into the pan, cover, and reduce heat to low. Cook for 3-5 minutes if fresh, 6-8 minutes if frozen.
• Boiled Dumplings: Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the dumplings. Stir so they don't stick together. Add 1 1/2 cups of cold water and bring to a boil again. Add another 1 1/2 cups of cold water and bring to a boil a third time. Check one dumpling to make sure they are cooked through; boil another few minutes if necessary.
Scale filling and wrappers up or down depending on how much of each you have; stick to 1 tablespoon filling per wrapper.
Here are a few favorite dumpling recipes: