Being from an Italian family, I am, of course, a big fan of ravioli. However, I also love pierogis, samosas, empanadas –basically I’m a big fan of dough stuffed with other yummy stuff. So, you can imagine how excited I was that Chef Brian Tsao was going to teach us how to make dumplings!
Chef Tsao is the executive chef of Mira Sushi & Izakaya where he melds his Chinese-Korean background, American culinary education, and experience with Asian street-food into a host of tasty treats, like Beef Bulgogi Tacos and Kyoto Crunchy Sloppy Joes. In fact, he beat celebrity chef Bobby Flay on the Food Network’s “Beat Bobby Flay” with those very same Beef Bulgogi Tacos –he was the only one to beat Flay the whole season! –so, come on, you know you want to eat that. It’s certified awesome.
Having lived in China and traveled the country extensively, if there’s one thing Chef Tsao knows about it’s making dumplings. Not gonna lie, his tutorial is impressive and making dumplings certainly takes a bit of skill (or some sort of internship with a bunch of “old Chinese ladies in Beijing”). However, the process of what goes into making a super tasty dumpling has certainly been demystified, and I look forward to trying out Chef Taso’s dumpling recipe for myself! Check out the video, and steps below if you’d like to join me. Be sure to let us know how they turn out in the comments below.
Yields 40-50 dumplings
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 11oz water
- 1 pound lean ground pork butt
- 2 cups finely minced Chinese garlic chives (or 1/2 cup chopped leeks and 1 tbsp minced garlic)
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 1 1/2 tbsp Chinese rice wine or sake
- 1 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 tbsp ginger essence
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
Make the Dough:
- Place all ingredients into a bowl and mix by hand until flour is completely incorporated
- Knead the dough until the gluten forms. This should take 5-10 minutes, once the dough begins to feel bouncy.
- Let dough rest in the bowl, covered with a piece of plastic wrap, for at least 1 hour (2 is best).
Make the Dumpling Filling:
- Place all ingredients into a bowl and mix well.
- Cook in a pan on a stovetop.
- Set filling aside and allow it to cool.
Create the Wrappers:
- Place dough onto flour dusted cutting board and slice it into strips approximately 2 inches thick.
- Roll the dough strips by hand into smooth logs approximately 1-1.25 inches in diameter.
- Cut each log into little “pucks” approximately 1-1.25 inches long.
- Lightly press each “puck” flat by hand, to make rolling easier.
- Use a “Gun” (a thin Chinese rolling pin) to roll each “puck” towards the middle, being careful not to roll over the center (the thicker center is important for packing the dumpling later). After each roll, move the dough a quarter turn, until you’ve flattened the entire edge of each “puck.”
- Dust each wrapper well with flour.
- Cover the rolled out wrappers with plastic wrap.
Fill the Dumplings:
- Take a dumpling wrapper and place it onto the center of your lightly cupped palm.
- Using a dull instrument, like a butter knife, scoop a bit of dumpling filling (1.25-1.5 tbsp) into the center of the dumpling wrapper.
- Lightly push the filling into the dumpling wrapper until there is only 1/2 inch of wrapper around the filling.
- Fold dough in half and pinch edges together.
- Place the complete dumpling onto a tray dusted well with cornstarch. You can cook them immediately, or freeze them for later.
Cook the Dumplings:
- Select a large pot (one that holds 3 gallons of water is best) and fill it 3/4 of the way up.
- Bring water to a full boil (do not add dumplings before your water fully boils!)
- Place dumplings into the boiling water (Chef Tsao suggest cooking the dumplings in a ratio of 4 parts water to 1 part dumpling. If you add too many dumplings you will reduce the temperature of the boiling water, which is essential to getting properly cooked dumpling skin).
- Gently stir the dumplings in the boiling water to prevent them sticking to each other or the bottom of the pot.
- Once you begin to see the dumplings float to the top, they will be ready within minutes. If you are cooking the dumplings from a frozen state, it will be another 5-10minutes before they are ready.
Once the dumplings have cooked through, scoop them out of the water into a bowl or large plate and ENJOY!
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Lauren is a New York based actor/singer/writer. She is a graduate of the American Repertory Theater/Moscow Art Theater School Institute for Advanced Theater Training at Harvard University as well as the College of the Holy Cross. She’s a fan of beer, pasta, and academic establishments with unnecessarily long titles. Find her on stage, or online– she’s there often.