Sunday 24 May 2009



Hey you...Dumpling Lover...

I know you love all manner of dumplings! Gyoza, apple dumplings, potstickers, perogies, har gow...if it can be wrapped into a tasty mouthful-sized portion, you're into it, right?

You troll the Asian market freezer section marvelling at the myriad of fillings of bagged commercially made dumplings like those really tasty potstickers from Hon's. Which, by the way are right next to the bags of frozen tiny Man Tou (steamed white buns) so that for breakfast or snacks, you can whip out a few from the freezer to steam (in-only-3-minutes-on-high-heat-can-you-believe-it!) for the kids 'cause they so like to dip the little buns in condensed milk!

Unlike my maternal grandmother who deftly made her own doughs from scratch and jerry-rigged two ping-pong paddles with a hinge at the end to squish dough balls into perfect little circles of dumpling wrappers for her homemade dim sum, I tend to buy my wrappers at the local Asian market.

Sure, I've made wrappers from scratch. But I'm no dumpling martyr. The fun part is inventing the different fillings to be wrapped. You can be so creative with the dumpling innards!

Dumpling wrappers from scratch definitely are yummier and have a lovely chewy texture just like homemade noodles. However, I'm willing to compromise that because I don't have any time with my kids and my job to do the Martha thing and make the wrappers too.

So don't read on if you're looking for a wrapping recipe. This post is all about the joy of making dumplings. It's economical, it's yummy and it's healthy too! You can control what goes into the wrappers (think hidden veggies for the kiddies). Since my time is money around here (and my sanity too) I buy fresh dumpling wrappers when I decide to make dumplings. I know how to make wrappers from scratch but I'll leave that for the summertime when I'm on my holiday. Maybe.

Instant dumpling gratification is what I'm all about today. These are the closest thing to scratch and you won't believe how amazing they are compared to the commercially frozen ones.

When I make potstickers, I don't bother with making just one batch. I usually make it in bulk so that I can freeze the raw dumplings for future meals. Generally, a package of wrappers will make enough dumplings for a filling that consists of 1 lb of ground pork. So, if you want to make just a few I suppose you could just halve the recipe.

Chinese Potstickers, the Cakebrained Way

  • 2 packages of commercially made frozen dumpling wrappers (gyoza or potsticker style, which are round and do not have egg as an ingredient) [mine were 300 gr packages; so 600 grams total of wrappers]


  • 2 lbs of ground pork
  • 1 package of silken tofu (optional)
  • 1 large bunch of chives (or any other veg like baby bok choy or napa cabbage etc.), finely chopped
  • 4 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 inch piece of fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp Shao-Hsing wine or dry sherry
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 T soy sauce
  • 1 T oyster sauce
  • 2 T cornstarch
  1. Saute the chives, garlic and ginger in a pan until softened and aromatic. Allow to cool.
  2. Combine the pork, silken tofu, the cooled sauted chives mixture and the rest of the filling ingredients. Mix well. You can even mix all of these ingredients in your stand mixer with the paddle attachment.
  3. Have a sheet pan ready with a tea towel to cover the finished dumplings. Get a small bowl of water for sealing the dumpling skins and use a small spatula or spoon for scooping the filling into the formed skins.
  4. Keep the dumpling wrappers covered with plastic wrap or a towel while you form and fill the wrappers. Follow the slide show tutorial for pleating techniques. If you don't want to bother with authenticity, then simply fold the dumpling in a half moon shape without pleating and be done with it. Who's going to sue you for that? Life's too short.
  5. Wrapped dumplings should be frozen uncovered until solid, which will only take a few hours in the freezer. Then, remove from the sheet pan and store in ziploc freezer bags until needed.
  6. To cook the dumplings, follow the tutorial in the slideshow. Use a nonstick pan with a lid and a little veg oil. After frying until golden brown, add 1/4 cup of water and cover until most of the liquid has evaporated. Uncover and serve with dipping sauce (or continue frying the other sides if, like me, you like all your sides to be crispy!)

Makes approximately 80 plump, overstuffed dumplings

Potsticker Dipping Sauce

  • 1 T dark soy sauce
  • 1 T soy sauce
  • 2 T Chinese white rice vinegar
  • 1 T Hot chili oil (optional)
  • 1 T finely sliced scallion
  • 1 T grated fresh ginger
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Serve with potstickers. Store remaining sauce covered in refrigerator

Gyoza on Foodista


Manggy said...

Your grandma made wrappers manually? That is awesome. I didn't even know you could use ruddy old ping pong paddles :) (my dad would kill me though.)
Love dumplings, no matter what the filling. Those wrappers just have a magical way of turning what's inside them irresistible!

Risa said...

I definitely am a dumpling lover. We rarely make them because when we do we eat way too many! Thanks for sharing.

Y said...

Argh I'm craving dumplings right now!

Snooky doodle said...

oh I love dumplings . I d like some now :)

helen said...

Perhaps a Vancouver food bloggers' dumpling party one of these days?

Cannelle Et Vanille said...

they look perfect! by the way, potty training is going slow. doing it in the summer when kids can be completely naked is a great idea. best of luck!

KMag said...

The May issue of Gourmet magazine had a piece on dumplings/potstickers. You are absolutely right...there's nothing to be afraid of. I will definitely make them again, but using your filling recipe. They sound delish!

Cakebrain said...

You're on! I know Allen is a potsticker lover too!

Ryan said...

Whats better than Dumplings? Nothing. You made me crave dumplings just by looking at the pic.

Anonymous said...

Oh this looks so GOOD, I love dumplings.... I wish I could make them handmade..

Joy said...

Interesting, I've never seen someone pleat the wrapper before adding the filling. I wonder if it is a regional difference. My mom (Taiwanese) taught me how to make mine. Where is your maternal grandmother from?

Btw, here's my post with a video showing how I make the dumplings:

Stacy said...

Your potstickers look delicious and so immaculate -- I'm jealous of your folding skills!

Cakebrain said...

I'm not Taiwanese. My maternal grandmother was ToiSaan...which is from Southern China which is near Guangzhou. I have never seen your technique in my entire life and I must admit it looks really simple and easy! I like my pleats all going the same direction though and the chives rock in my family's opinion! :) It's all a regional thing about what you grew up liking...Dumplings are dumplings and whatever rings your bell! I'm agreeing with you about flat 2-sided potstickers. They're ugly.

Alisa@Foodista said...

Yummy dumplings!Hope you wont mind,I'd love to guide our readers to your site, just add this foodista widget to this post and that's it!

Madam Chow said...

Great tips and tutorial!

Juliana said...

I love dumpling, but I am very lazy so I get them frozen from Asian market...I am sure that yours taste much better than the frozen you inspired me to make my own :-) Nice pictures!

Elyse said...

Mmm, how I do love dumplings! I can't wait to try out this filling. It sounds fantastic. In fact, I'm about to run to the grocery, so I just might have to pick up some dumpling wrappers while I'm there. These look delicious!

CookiePie said...

WOW -- those are amazing! They look just like the ones you get in a restaurant!

Miss Moustache said...

Thank you so much! I've wanted to make dumplings but thought it may be too hard! your technique was really easy and had a great dinner! thank you!

John said...

Looks so delicious. I want to eat it.

Amanda said...

I was so impressed with the pleating on that first dumpling, but I couldn't come up with the word "pleating". Glad you brought it up later. :)

Jackie said...

I love dim dum. Those dumplings look delicious but it seems like a lot of work. I maybe will give a try this weekend.

Julia said...

I just love dumplings. Your photos are so amazing, I started craving them...

Holly said...

I am a huge fan of Chinese dumplings and these look fabulous. I've always wondered what makes the dipping sauce so special - thanks for sharing the recipe!

Maria said...

Love dumplings, they look so good!

Mommy and Daddy said...


Nice dumplings! I make my own skin from scratch too! (but it's a lot of hard work) Tofu is interesting. I'll incorporate that into my in the future! I was wondering if you can tell me where you get your beautiful metallic dragees? I noticed that you put some on those pink cupcakes and they look beautiful! It'll be great if you can let me know where you got them from. I called Gourmet Warehouse and they told me they only carry Silver ones. I also called Cook Shop at City Square and they do not carry any!? Thanks for your help!


Cakebrain said...

I think I found mine at Famous Foods on Kingsway...but that was a while ago. I don't know if they still carry those colours. You should give them a call. But it's fun visiting the store anyways 'cause there's so much stuff to look at in the baking aisles.

Mommy and Daddy said...

Thanks for your advice! I'll give Famous Foods on Kingsway a call!


Rumela said...

My father is a huge fan of dumplings and I always try to bake one for him whenever we see my parents. He has yet to be fully blown away by any of the recipes i've tried. Simplicity is key, and yours looks perfect! Can't wait to try it. thank you for shearing your post.


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