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Chinese Pork and Shrimp Dumplings (Jiao Zi)

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Yields thirty-six 3-inch dumplings.

A savory pork, shrimp and salted cabbage filling, seasoned with ginger, garlic and scallions, is the most traditional filling for jiao zi. Butcher counters in Asian markets often offer several grinds of pork. For dumplings, use a coarser grind with more fat to ensure a tender, juicy filling. Hand-minced or ground beef or lamb, both typical in northern Chinese cooking, can be substituted for the ground pork and shrimp.

Web extra: Watch Thy Tran’s step-by-step demonstration of how to make the dumplings.

For the dough:
  • 6-3/4 oz. (1-1/2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour; more for kneading
For the filling:
  • 2 cups finely chopped napa cabbage
  • Kosher salt
  • 12 oz. ground pork
  • 8 oz. peeled, deveined shrimp, coarsely chopped
  • 3 medium scallions, thinly sliced
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbs. Shaoxing (Chinese rice wine) or dry sherry
  • 1-1/2 Tbs. grated fresh ginger
  • 1 Tbs. soy sauce
  • 2 tsp. toasted Asian sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp. granulated sugar
  • Freshly ground black pepper
To finish the dumplings:
Make the dough:

Pour the flour into a mound on a clean work surface. Make a deep, wide well in the center and pour in 1/2 cup cold water. Stir with your fingers, staying in the center at first and being careful that the water doesn’t breach the wall. Little by little, using your hand and a bench knife, mix in flour from the sides until the dough starts to come together. (Alternatively, put the flour in a medium bowl. Make a well, add the water, and stir first with a spoon and then your hand.) If the dough remains in shreds, sprinkle in additional water, a teaspoon at a time, until it begins to stick together. Don’t add too much water or the dough will be difficult to work.

Knead the dough for 5 minutes to form a smooth, firm, elastic ball. (If you began the dough in a bowl, lightly dust a clean, dry surface with flour before kneading.) The dough should not be sticky and should bounce back when pressed with a fingertip. Divide in half with a bench knife and roll into two 6-inch logs. Sprinkle each log evenly with flour, cover with a clean kitchen towel, and let rest for at least 30 minutes at room temperature before rolling and filling.

Make the filling:

In a medium bowl, toss the cabbage with 2 tsp. salt and set aside for 30 minutes to shed moisture. Wring out in a clean kitchen towel to extract as much liquid as possible.

In a large bowl, combine the cabbage with the pork, shrimp, scallions, garlic, Shaoxing, ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Stir until well mixed. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.

Cut and roll the dough:
Tip:
If you have helpers, set up an assembly line and roll out each wrapper, then pass it along to the next person to fill. If you're filling all the dumplings yourself, it's best to roll out several wrappers, and keep them covered with a kitchen towel as you fill them, to prevent them from drying out.

Cut each log in half crosswise. Cut each half crosswise into thirds, and then slice each of those pieces into three even coins. You should have 36 pieces of equal size. Toss the pieces in flour to coat evenly and then cover with a clean towel so they don’t dry out.

Using a small rolling pin, roll a piece of dough into a thin 3-inch circle; with the dough in one hand and the pin in the other, roll from the edges toward the center as you rotate the dough. This rolling technique helps create a round with thin edges and a thicker center.

Fill and shape the dumplings:

Spoon 1 to 2 tsp. of the filling onto a dough circle, fold it in half, and then if you’re going to boil the dumplings, seal it by pinching along the curved edge. If you’re planning to pan-fry the dumplings for pot stickers, make your first pinch at the center of the curved edge and then pleat toward the center on both sides to create a rounded belly. This wider shape allows the dumplings to sit upright in the pan and form a flat surface for browning.

Repeat with the remaining wrappers and filling. As you work, arrange the filled dumplings in a single layer without touching on large plates, so they don’t stick together.

To cook: either boil the dumplings...

Bring a large (7- to 8-quart) pot of salted water to a boil. Working in 2 or 3 batches to avoid overcrowding, quickly add the dumplings one at a time, making sure they don’t stick to each other. Lower the heat to medium and continue to boil, gently stirring occasionally, until the dumplings float and are cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and serve immediately with your choice of dipping sauce.

...or pan-fry the dumplings

Heat 2 Tbs. vegetable oil in a heavy-duty 10- or 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Working quickly and in batches if necessary (adding more oil for the second batch if needed), arrange the dumplings belly side down in concentric circles starting from the outer edge. Cook until golden brown on the bottom, 1 to 2 minutes. Pour in about 1/2 cup water or enough to come about a third of the way up the sides of the dumplings, bring to a boil, cover, and cook until all of the water has been absorbed, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the lid, reduce the heat to medium, and continue cooking just until the dumplings are dry and crisp on the bottom, 1 to 2 minutes. Loosen the dumplings from the pan with a spatula. Invert the pan over a plate to flip the dumplings, browned side up, onto the plate (or transfer with a spatula). Serve immediately with your choice of dipping sauce,.

Make Ahead Tips

The dough can be covered with plastic and refrigerated for up to 8 hours. If refrigerated, return to room temperature before rolling. The filling can also be made up to 8 hours ahead and refrigerated. Filled, shaped dumplings may be covered and refrigerated for up to 4 hours or frozen for up to three months. To freeze, arrange just-formed dumplings in a single layer on lightly floured baking sheets and freeze for at least four hours. Once they are frozen through, tranfer the dumplings to freezer storage bags. The dumplings can be boiled or pan-fried directly from the freezer; simply increase the cooking time by three to four minutes.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : per dumpling; Calories (kcal): 60; Fat (g): 3; Fat Calories (kcal): 30; Saturated Fat (g): 1; Protein (g): 3; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 1.5; Carbohydrates (g): 5; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 0.5; Sodium (mg): 85; Cholesterol (mg): 15; Fiber (g): 0;

Photo: Scott Phillips

I made this tonight. The only change I made was pork only and 1 shallot in the filling. They came out so perfect I couldn't believe my taste buds! I will never buy them again! Excellent recipe!

The dough is really easy to do, I'll never buy wontons agains. The filling was a little bland for me, so I gave it some shallot and a little extra salt and pepper, as well as made an easy hoisin sauce that really set it off. Excellent both pan-fried and boiled. My changes and hoisin recipe are on my blog http://imreallywritingafoodblog.wordpress.com/

YUMM YUMM! These were easy to make, I bought the premade fresh wonton wrappers from the store and used my dumpling press and they are so easy and so tasty to make. I didnt' use the shrimp, just the pork this time, but it's easy to add other things to the main seasonings.

Simply delicious. We used store-bought dumpling wrappers from the freezer section of an Asian grocery to save a little time. Filling was delicious. We've frozen the extras to enjoy later.

Making these was easier than I thought... the filling smelt wonderful.....I did the frying method and made up 10 to sample with my husband. After the first dumpling I tried, I was hmm they're ok but by the fifth dumpling....I was thinking about making another batch to "sample" some more. They are rather addictive. Will make these again...PS I did make up my sample a week after putting together the dumplings...they DO freeze very well.

Very tasty. My family really liked these and it was fun to make.

Excellent - I made them last night for our Valentine / Chinese New Year dinner and used the pan fry method. They were as good or better than any I have ever had.

These were delicious! I confess I used store-bought wonton wrappers instead of dough made from scratch. Next time around, I'll make time to make my own dough. I used the pan fry method and the dumplings came out beautifully.

We are making these dumplings for the 2nd time today. The filling is excellent and the video makes dumpling construction a snap. We had more filling than wrappers for our first batch, so made a hot water dumpling wrapper for the remaining filling. The hot water wrapper recipe is not as good as the cold water recipe given here. Knowing how to make great pot stickers has eliminated our once-weekly trip to our excellent local chinese take-out. Better and cheaper made at home!

I was surprised at how easy these were to make. I thought for sure that they would be cumbersome. I left the shrimp out (I am not a shrimp eater) and added extra pork. I had a lot of filling left over that I froze for the next time I make the dough. These little dumplings are full of flavor and quite tasty when dunked in the ginger sauce. Definitely going to be made again.

The filling was delicious! I made up the whole batch, and then put half in the freezer. I think the pan frying method tastes better than boiling. Will definitely make again!

These dumplings were perfect! Especially with a fresh squeezed ginger Martini. I only used half the filling with the first round of dough, so made them the next day to freeze. It was easier to put dough through a pasta maker,and then cut perfect 3 inch circles with a biscuit cutter.

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