These dumplings are simpler to make than they look. Honestly! A basic dough made from flour, salt and water, an easy filling of sautéed pak choi and firm tofu and then a lot of fun rolling, filling and crimping. Put this recipe on your list of meditative kitchen moments.
I like them pot sticker style, where you fry the dumplings with a little veg oil until they have crisp, golden bottoms, then add some water and a lid and steam-fry them until they are juicy and tender. But you can pop them into a broth to simmer or even just steam them if you like. This kind of firm tofu filling is our favourite. If I have a jar of kimchi on the go, I just mix chopped kimchi, tofu, soy sauce and white pepper for an even easier filling with no need to pre-cook. Of course you can fill them with whatever you like. Just make sure the mix isn’t too wet.
Ingredients (makes about 40 dumplings)
- 2 mugs of plain flour (strong flour works well too)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 mug of freshly boiled water
- 1 pak choi
- 4 cloves of garlic – chopped
- 1 thumb of ginger – grated or finely chopped
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 3 tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 1/2 tsp white pepper
- chilli flakes to taste
- 2 packs of extra firm tofu (400g total)
- vegetable oil for frying
- dipping sauces to serve – sweet chilli or a simple soy-sesame oil-lime juice mix?
- Start by making the dough as it needs time to rest before you start rolling.
- Put the flour and salt into a bowl and stir in the boiling water.
- Squish together into a firm dough with your hands, then move onto a clean work surface and knead well until the dough is smooth and stretchy. It should be quite firm too, not sticky.
- Form the dough into a neat ball and put it back into the bowl. Then cover with a damp tea towel and leave to rest for 30 minutes while you make the filling.
- Dice the stems of the pak choi and sauté in a frying pan with the sesame oil until softened.
- Add the tofu to the pan. Scrunch it up with your hands into a small crumble. Then add the soy sauce, white pepper, garlic, ginger and chilli flakes. Stir and cook until well combined.
- Shred the green leaves of the pak choi and add them to the pan. Stir fry for just a few more minutes until the leaves are wilted.
- Transfer the filling to a bowl to cool down.
- Cut the ball of dough into quarters, put 3 of the pieces back into the bowl and cover again with the damp tea towel so that they don’t dry out.
- Roll the quarter of the dough you have out into a 2cm thick snake then chop it into 10 or so pieces.
- Roll each piece into a ball the squash it down flat with the palm of your hand.
- Then roll each piece into a thin circle, it needs to be just a couple of mm thick and as even and round a circle as possible.
- Then place a tbsp of filling in each circle and form the dumplings. There are loads of different techniques around. Have a watch of some youtube videos for inspiration.
- I like to place the circe and filling in the palm of my left hand, then using my right hand, fold the circle of dough over and pinch it at the top in the middle. Then pull and fold and crimp the right side towards the middle like in the photo below. Then transfer the dumpling to your right hand and do the same on the left side with your left hand.
- Once the dumpling is crimped and sealed, pinch firmly all along the seal to ensure it is secure. Then place it on a large tray that has been lightly floured (or lined with baking parchment).
- Repeat with all the dough and filling. Ensure the dumplings are not touching each other as they will start to stick together if they do.
- Then heat up a frying pan (one that has a lid) with a little vegetable oil to medium-high. Place as many dumplings, flat side down, into the pan that will fit. Allow them to cook until golden brown and crispy underneath.
- Then quickly pour in a small glass of water – enough so that there is a cm of water in the pan – and pop the lid on so that the dumplings can steam and absorb most of the water.
- Steam them with the lid on for 3 minutes then remove the lid and allow any excess water to evaporate. Then move the dumplings onto a plate to keep warm while you cook the rest in batches like this.
- Serve with dipping sauces alongside steamed greens and other veggies, or with a stir fry, noodles, rice, miso soup, kimchi… anything like that. Enjoy!