Dumplings are a universally loved food. Every culture has some type of filled dumpling. For Chinese New Year, dumplings represent good luck and the rounded shape resembles the shape of gold ingots from ancient China. Usually, the Chinese eat boiled dumplings at New Year's, but my family loves eating the pan-fried version.
Technique tip: If you make this a group activity and set up an assembly line, the prep time will shrink.
Swap options: You can use any type of protein, such as ground beef, chicken or lamb.
For the soy-ginger dipping sauce:
Mix all the ingredients in a small bowl. Let sit for at least 30 minutes to let the flavors meld together (the longer the mixture rests, the more intense the flavor becomes). Once mixed, the sauce will keep in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to a week.
For the dumplings:1.
Place the flour in a mixing bowl. Add the water and, using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, stir the water and flour together. Continue to stir gently until a ball of dough starts to form. Start kneading the dough to make a ball. The dough should feel slightly tacky but not damp. Cover the dough with a clean, damp towel or plastic wrap and let it rest for a minimum of 20 minutes.2.
Combine the pork, cabbage, green onion, ginger, soy sauce, white pepper (if using) and sesame oil in a bowl and mix well.3.
To roll out the wrappers, divide the dough in half. Roll each half into a rope that's about 3/4-inch in diameter and about 18 inches or so in length. Cut each rope into pieces that are about 3/4-inch thick (or about 9 or 10 grams). Roll each piece into a ball, then press it between your palms into a silver-dollar-size disk. With a Chinese rolling pin (available in Asian markets) or a 3/4-inch wooden dowel from a hardware store, roll each disk into a flat circle about 3 inches in diameter. Don't worry about making a perfect circle.4.
Place a dollop of filling, about a teaspoon or so, into the center of a wrapper. Fold the round wrapper in half over the center into a half-moon shape and pinch shut along the edges (the dough should be just sticky enough to seal without using water or egg). Repeat until you have used up all the dough or you run out of filling.5.
To panfry the dumplings, heat an 8- to 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat (you may have to adjust the heat according to your stove). Add the vegetable oil and swirl it around to coat the bottom. Place as many dumplings in the skillet as will fit. Add 1/2 to 3/4 cup water to the pan, depending on the size of the pan. Cover immediately with a lid and do not remove or the steam will escape. Cook until bottoms are crisp and brown but not burned, about 7 to 9 minutes. The sizzling will subside as the water evaporates.6.
Serve with the soy-ginger dipping sauce on the side.