Show-Ling’s Chinese Dumpling Recipe

May 16, 2007

One of our mother daughter book club moms grew up in Taiwan. When we read Red Scarf Girl by Ji-Li Jiang, she made these wonderful Chinese dumplings that we all loved. She insisted they were very simple to make, and said that she threw it together after she got home from work and before everybody started to arrive for our meeting.

She happily shared her recipe, and I couldn’t wait to try it on my own. The dumplings were just as good as I remembered from our meeting, but I think it will take a little practice before I can do them fast. This makes a great theme meal to go along with any book set in China.

Show-Ling’s Chinese Dumplings

  • 1 pound ground pork (you can use ground beef, chicken, or turkey)
  • 1/3-1/2 small bag of prewashed baby spinach (you can substitute with other vegetables of your liking)
  • 3-4 heads of green onions (scallions)
  • one small piece of ginger root
  • cilantro (for sauce)
  • garlic (for sauce)
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • sesame oil, 1/4 teaspoon
  • vegetable oil, 2-3 tablespoons
  • 1-2 packages of dumpling wraps (make sure that you DON’T get the thick style kind)

To make:
Chop ginger, green onion, and spinach in a food processor.
Combine with ground meat in a big bowl. Add vegetable oil, salt, pepper, sesame oil, mix well with a spatula. Place some stuffing in the middle of the wrap (make sure to thaw out the wraps ahead of time, microwave is NOT recommended), make sure you don’t over-stuff it.

Apply water to the edge of the wrap and seal the edge by folding one side over the other. It’s important to make sure that the seal is tight. Have a pot of boiling water ready.

Put the dumplings in one by one (you might need to do it in batches). Gently stir once to make sure that the dumplings are not stuck to the bottom of the pot. If you do it too hard you’ll break the dumplings.

Add one cup of cold water after the dumplings have boiled and repeat three times. After you the dumplings out, rinse them quickly with cold water to prevent them from sticking to each other. You can probably also coat them with some olive oil to prevent sticking.

Chop a few heads of garlic and some cilantro, mix with some soysauce, sesame oil, and a bit of water. If you want, you can also add vinegar, chili sauce.

This amount is enough to serve 2 adults and 3 kids age 10–14.