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Chinese Northern-Style Dumplings

The plump-looking dumplings that we are most familiar with are Chinese northern-style dumplings called "jiao zi" 饺子 in Mandarin. 

This is a popular dish in most regions of China, but it holds a special significance to people from the north. Dumplings are enjoyed during New Year dinners, on the first day of Chinese New Year, during Winter Solstice, and whenever guests are hosted by the family.

I come from the southern part of China, where, during traditional festivals, we usually eat wontons and tang yuan. However, my dad's experience of living in the north for seven years when he was young and his preference for dumplings over wontons has influenced our family to make dumplings more often.


Ingredients - 40 to 45 Dumplings

  • 1 pkg dumpling wrappers  Recommended

  • 12 oz ground pork. Substitute with chicken or beef

  • 1/2 cup of finely chopped celery or cilantro

  • 1/2 cup of finely chopped carrots

  • 2 tsp sesame oil 

  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil 

  • 1⁄2 tsp ground white pepper 

  • 1 Tbsp Shaoxing cooking wine 

  • 1 Tbsp light soy sauce 

  • 1/2 cup of stock or water

  • 1 tsp salt 

Dipping Sauce - 2 servings

  • 2 Tbsp Zhenjiang Vinegar 

  • 1 tsp light soy sauce 

  • 2 cloves of coarsely chopped garlic 

  • 1⁄2 tsp sesame oil 

  • 1⁄2 tsp crushed red peppers or 1 tsp chili oil (optional)


  1. Chop all vegetables finely. 

2. Mix all the ingredients together in bowl. Slowly drizzle 1/3 to 1/2 cup of water or stock while stirring until the filling texture becomes sticky and pasty.

3. Wrap 1 Tbsp filling in each dumpling. 

Watch this VIDEO to learn to wrap dumplings. And this VIDEO on how to pick wrappers.

Boil Dumplings 

(10 dumplings, 1 serving) 

  1. Add 5 cups of water to a pot and bring it to a boil. 

  2. Add dumplings one by one to the boiling water. Stir gently with the back of a spoon immediately so the dumplings do not stick to the pot. 

  3. Once the water is boiling again, turn the heat to medium. Simmer dumplings for 5 minutes (making sure the water is not boiling but moving and creating tiny bubbles). Turn the heat off when all the dumplings float on top, and the wrappers turn translucent. Fish dumplings out with a handled mesh strainer. 

  4. If you want to save some dumplings for later, remove them from the cooking water and rinse the dumplings under cold water for 15 seconds, then drain. Reheat in Microwave.

Pan-Sear Dumplings 

(10 dumplings, 1 serving)

 And this VIDEO on how to pan-sear dumplings.

  1. Add 1 1⁄2  Tbsp vegetable oil to a 12 to 14-inch non-stick, flat-bottom pan. 

  2. Once the oil is heated, add the dumplings to the pan with gaps between each one. You should hear sizzling. Sear over medium-high for 3 minutes until the bottoms turn golden. 

  3. Pour 1⁄2 cup water into the pan. Make sure the water level is about 1⁄4 of the dumplings. 

  4. Turn heat to medium-low and cover the pan with a lid. Sear dumplings for 8-10 minutes. Watch the water level closely. If the pan is dry, add more water before the time is up. 

  5. Uncover half of the pan and turn up the heat to let the remaining water evaporate, and you will get crispy bottoms. 

Freeze Dumplings

  1. Line up the freshly wrapped dumplings, leaving small gaps between each one. 

  2. Put them into the freezer for 3 hours until frozen. 

  3. Remove them from the baking sheet and place them into the freezer bags. Store in the freezer for up to two months.  Do not thaw them before cooking. Boil and pan-sear while frozen.



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