How to Make Dumplings

By grace.g.yang · December 23, 2009
Under: Cheap Eats,Desserts,Dinner,My Life,NYC Thanksgiving,Recipes

Over Thanksgiving, my mom came to visit and we had a couple of parties with some of our friends. One of the easiest and most fun parties to have is a dumpling making party; there’s very little prep work before the party and everyone has to help out if they plan on eating. Instead of shopping the day after Thanksgiving, we invited our friends over to make dumplings, play Settlers of Catan, and hang out. The dumpling filling can vary based on what ingredients are available at the grocery store (or what’s available in your garden). We used to have epic dumpling making parties in Champaign and I would always have to go to the back yard to cut the chives for the dumplings, but my mom mixed it up with this party – instead of using chives, she used green onions. I was a little skeptical about the green onions, but as usual, my mom is always right – this recipe is delicious and you will definitely want to try this.

Chinese Dumplings


2 pounds ground pork
10 stems finely chopped green onions
1 bag Shepard’s Purse vegetables (frozen food aisle in a Chinese grocery store)
3 eggs
2 large tablespoons of fresh ginger
10 Chinese mushrooms
Dumpling wrappers (refrigerated section in a Chinese grocery store)

In a large bowl, combine the 2 pounds of ground pork and 10 stems of chopped green onions:


Then add your 3 eggs:


Open a bag of Shepard’s purse vegetables:


Squeeze out the excess juice and chop off the fibrous stems:


Chop up the shepard’s purse vegetables and add it to the bowl:


Finely chop up 2 large tablespoons of fresh ginger and add it to the mix:


Soak some Chinese mushrooms in water (save the water for later):


And chop the mushrooms up after they’ve softened a bit:


Mushrooms and ginger:


Combine all of the ingredients and use your hands to mix everything together:


To make the dumplings juicier and more flavorful, add the mushroom water to the filling. Now is also a good time to add about 3 tablespoons of soy sauce, 2 tablespoons of sesame oil, and 1 tablespoon of salt. Our dumpling operation:


Now that the dumpling filling is complete, invite friends over to help you wrap them! We invited Dorren and his wife, Diane, over to wrap dumplings. Dorren, as you may know from my other posts, is a developer I work with and is possibly the nicest guy ever. He brings me fruit everyday at 4pm, bought me a tripod because I said I didn’t have anyone to hold my video camera for me while I was cooking, and lent me and David his car when we wanted to go to Costco. Dorren and Diane are also expert dumpling wrappers – all of their dumplings were uniform in size and shape and they were all stuffed to the brim!

Dorren, Diane, my mom, and me (in matching sweaters!):


Dorren might have been making fun of my dumpling wrapping skills (or lack thereof):


Sealing a dumpling with a little water:


Success! One dumpling from David:


Dorren carefully assembling a dumpling:


The uniform dumplings I was telling you about:


Some more dumplings:


Dorren, hard at work, even though the food was on the table!:


My mom prepared the dumplings two ways: fried (potstickers) and boiled. To make fried dumplings, oil a pan and set the dumplings on the pan (you can do this with fresh or frozen dumplings):


After the dumplings get a nice crust (about 3 minutes on a medium heat if they’re fresh, about 5 if they’re frozen), pour water over the dumplings so they’re about 1/2 covered:


Cover the pan until the majority of the water has been absorbed by the dumplings. The water helps the pork filling cook – don’t worry, the dumplings come out really well! Look at these fried potstickers:


To boil them, cook them the way you would cook pasta – these also came out really well:


And because my mom can’t throw a party with just one dish, here are some other things she prepared:


All of us before dinner:


After dinner, we played Chinese card games and Settlers of Catan:


And also enjoyed Chinese cake AND chocolate covered cookies and biscuits that Dorren and Diane brought over. The party was a ton of fun and a great way to spend a Friday night!

We had ANOTHER dumpling party while my mom was here – this time, we invited one of my dad’s friends from Taiwan. Pearl went to UIUC just like me and David and now lives and works in NYC. She brought her friend, Julie, and we had a great time making dumplings as well:


My mom is teaching everyone how to make them (Ariel likes to make empanada style dumplings):


All of us hard at work:


David contributed by making a couple dumplings as well:


All of us before feasting on dumplings:


Two great parties and both very easy to prepare for – try having a dumpling making party and let me know how it goes!

Reader Comments

Grace- I’m so glad that you posted this. I want to have a dumpling making party for my bday (in 2 weeks) and don’t know where to start. I use to help my parents make dumplings a long, long time ago but have forgotten just about everything. So I have a few questions for you, if you have time to help:

How many dumplings does your ingredients list make? Would it be enough to cover 10 people?

How long do you boil the fresh dumplings for?

Is there an alternative to Shepherd’s Purse?

What other kitchen equipment will I need?

Thank you!

Written By Julie on January 1st, 2010 @ 11:59 am

Julie – a dumpling making party for your birthday sounds like a super fun idea! Here are the answers to your questions about making dumplings:

Q: How many dumplings does your ingredients list make? A: You can make around 130 dumplings for 2 pounds of meat (especially if you add different veggies) I would assume that everyone will eat around 10 dumplings (although this may vary if you very hungry guests!) I think it’s always better to have more food, so if you’re afraid there won’t be enough food, buy another pound of meat and another package of wrappers (2 pounds should cover 3 packages of dumpling wrappers). If you have extras, just freeze them on a cookie sheet and once they’re frozen, you can transfer them to plastic bags for another meal!

Q: How long do you boil the fresh dumplings for?
A: I’d say around 15 minutes – the way my family prepares boiled dumplings is pretty similar to the way we prepare pasta – let the water come to a boil, drop in the dumplings, turn down the heat to medium and let the water come to a boil again. Once the water comes to a boil again, drop in a cup of cold water and once it comes to a boil again, the dumplings are ready.

Q: Is there an alternative to Shepherd’s Purse?
A: The great thing about dumplings is that you can add any kind of veggie you like! My mom likes frozen spinach, cabbage, or even shredded carrots! (If you use shredded carrots, I’d recommend using beef rather than pork) When we were kids, my mom used to add tofu and wheat germ, so really, anything you want to add is a-ok!

Q: What other kitchen equipment will I need?
A: Chopsticks (or spoons) to scoop up the filling, bowls of water to dip your fingers in to close the dumpling skins, a big pot for boiling dumplings, a skillet for frying dumplings, and a slotted spoon or a colander for removing the dumplings from the water (although, when people boil dumplings, they sometimes drink the water as well).

Best of luck with your birthday party and let me know how it goes!

Written By grace.g.yang on January 1st, 2010 @ 2:09 pm

A dumpling party and making guests work for their food – this is a great idea! And more importantly, I’m digging the simplicity of the recipe!

Written By Diana (girlfeedsboy) on January 15th, 2010 @ 3:17 pm

Thank you for the post Grace. My girlfriend and I will have to add dumplings to our next Pho Party!

Written By Chris Jett on April 10th, 2016 @ 8:21 am

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