As a matter of fact, before I posted the recipe on Guotie or Potstickers: chinese panfried pork dumplings, about two months ago I have made some chinese boiled dumplings: Boiled dumplings literally “water dumplings” (水餃; pinyin: shuǐjiǎo) from scratch but haven’t got the grip to write up until now.
I have bought this recipe book years ago on how to make shuijiao but never dare to attempt making them. I always feel they are too difficult and it’s too convenient in Hong Kong that you can easily find restaurants that serve dumplings. Now living in Switzerland, I cannot find nice authentic chinese food so easily, thereofore when I crave for something specific , I have to made them myself.
With the help from recent experience in kneading bread dough, I thought I could give a try to make the wrappers myself which was the most challenging part of the whole process. Personally, I find this is more difficult and takes longer than kneading a bread dough. I am amazed with just simply flour and water, you can make such lovely thing. The handmade wrappers are indeed uncomparable to the ready made ones as the texture of the handmade ones are so much nicer, elastic and does not feel machinery, it is definitely worth trying if you have a free afternoon.
Makes about 30 pieces
Ingredients for dumpling wrappers:
- 250g white flour
- approx. 150ml cold water
Ingredients for fillings:
- 800g fresh spinach or 8 cubes of frozen spinach (approx 300g)
- 200g minced pork
- 2cm cube of grated fresh ginger
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp chicken stock powder
- 1 tbsp chinese cooking wine
- pinches of pepper
- 1 tbsp sunflower oil or other vegetable oil
Special utensils required:
- Wooden rolling pin (ideal to have a small one, Fig. 3)
A. Prepare the dumpling filling
- If you use fresh spinach, after washing the spinach, boil the vegetable until soft, do not overcooked it. Then cool it with cold water, squeeze out the water and chop it into small pieces. (I found the frozen spinach worked as well and did not deteriorate the taste from fresh spinach if fresh spinach is not available in your surroundings)
- In a big bowl, put the chopped spinach and minced pork together. (The ratio of vegetable to pork should be about 1:1)
- Marinade with the above ingredients, cover and keep in the fridge (Fig. 1). You can prepare the filling the day before if you think the whole process of making the fillings and wrappers take too long.
B. How to make the Wrappers
- Place the flour in a big glass bowl, gradually add in the cold water. Using your hand, mix in the flour and water until they stick together and form a dough.
- Generously sprinkle some flour on the kitchen board, turn the dough to the board and knead until you get a smooth dough (Fig. 2)
- Cut the dough into a few pieces and roll each of them into long cylindrical shape with approximately 2cm in diameter (Fig. 3).
- Cut the long cylindrical dough into small pieces of about 10g each (Fig. 4).
- Sprinkle some flour to the small pieces of dough to avoid them from sticking together (Fig. 5).
- Remember to keep the kitchen or rolling board floured.
- Take one small piece of dough, press on it using your end of palm to make it flat. Then with your left hand holding the flat piece of dough and right hand holding the wooden pin, roll the wooden pin upwards and at the same time turn the flat dough anticlockwise. Repeat 3-4 times until you get a wrapper of about 7cm diameter (Fig. 6). The centre of the wrapper should be slightly thicker than the sides.
- Repeat for all the pieces, you will now get a batch of wrappers ready to put in the fillings. If you want to stack up the wrappers, make sure you have floured each piece, otherwise they will stick together (Fig. 7). My experience was to let them lie flat, dusted with flour and keep them separated.
C. Wrapping the dumplings or “Shuijiao”
- Prepare a small bowl of cold water aside.
- Place a wrapper on your palm and using a teaspoon, scoop the prepared filling onto the middle of the wrapper (Fig. 8 )
- Dip your finger into the bowl of water and slightly wet one side of the wrapper. Fold the wrapper into half and gently press to seal the wrapper(Fig. 9)
- Lastly stick the two sides together with a little water if required, press with your fingers to ensure they are sticked properly. The sides of the dumpling should face slightly upward.
- Repeat for all the wrappers.
- This recipe is ideal if you would like to prepare in advance, keep in freezer and enjoy them on a later day.
- Dust the wrapped dumplings with generous flour and keep them plastic boxes.
E. How to cook the dumplings
- Boiling method is in general perceived to be healthier than the panfried method.
- Prepare 2 pans, one filled with boiling water (Pan A) and one with boiling water and chicken stock (Pan B).
- Add in the dumplings to Pan A while the water is boiling (medium high heat), stir gently in case they make stick together and cook until the dumplings are floating on the water.
- Add a few drops of sesame oil in a serving bowl, put the dumplings into the bowl without the liquid, as it is too cloudy. Then pour some chicken broth onto the bowl. Ganish with some chopped coriander or spring onion and serve with your desired dipping sauce (see below). Another option is serving without adding the broth, this is fine too.
F. Dipping sauce
There are so many variations of dipping sauce that you can prepare at home: here are some common ingredients that you can choose from to mix together:
- soy sauce
- black vinegar
- finely chopped spring onion
- grated garlic
- sesame oil
- chili sauce or oil
Here is my usual dipping sauce:
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 2 tbsp black vinegar
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- some sesame oil
- chili sauce (optional)
Mix the above in a bowl and stir until the sugar is dissolved.