Making dumplings at home can be a fun and enjoyable experience for the entire family! Each step can be done individually, making this dish possible to be made by the entire family, with each person contributing to the final dish! One of the most fulfilling methods to make dumplings is by using herbs grown in your own backyard, such as chives and even iceberg lettuce.
In order to make dumplings, it’s essential that each step is done at the right time and in the correct sequence. While the methods may seem meticulous at first, once successfully made, the process and the food will be very delicious. Here’s the ingredients you’ll need to make your own chive and pork dumplings, using home grown chives and hand tossed dough. Keep in mind that this recipe will be able to feed around 3 to 4 people.
- 1 ½ lbs of ground pork
- 1 ½ lbs of chives
- 6 cups of wheat flour
- 2 ½ cups of water
For the pork/chive filling:
- 2 tsp soy sauce
- 2 tsp dark soy sauce
- 1 tsp white sugar
- 2 tsp table salt
- 1 tsp granulated chicken flavor mix
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 3 tsp diced ginger
Preparing the chives:
1. From your backyard, pick around 1 ½ lbs of chives and cut them at the lower part of their stems, as close to the ground as possible. This gives room for future chives to grow and not get old too quickly.
2. Cut the ends of the chives that are old and bitter.
3. Wash and rinse the chives under cold water, then dice them into small pieces.
4. Leave the chives in some water and do not mix them with the pork yet so that they don’t lose their moisture.
Preparing the dough:
1. Around 5 hours before you want to eat, put the 6 cups of dough into a large mixing bowl and slowly add water to it, adding a total of 1 cup of water. To do this, add a sprinkle of water to the dough first, then mix until the water has been absorbed, then add more water again. Do this until water runs out.
2. Next, depending on how watery or dry the dough is, either let it sit and raise for a while or add some more water. Be flexible in this stage of the process, as it’s important to have firm but not dry and hard dough. If too hard, add a bit more water and mix.
3. Every hour or so, use hands to hand toss the dough and add to its firmness and texture.
Preparing the filling:
1. If the ground pork is frozen, make sure to defrost before any of this preparation is started.
2. Start mixing the ground pork first in a mixing bowl or a cooking pan and make sure it’s not in large chunks after mixing. In order to add moisture to the pork and mix it easier, do the same method of sprinkling the last ½ cup of water and mixing the pork, then adding more water like with dough.
3. Once the pork is mixed well and watery, add the soy sauce, and then add the diced ginger and mix in a single circular direction. We mix it this way for the pork to stick together better so it’s easier to form into balls once we actually form the complete dumplings.
4. Then add the salt and the granulated chicken flavor mix. Make sure not to add salt too early in the preparation process so that the pork isn’t immediately dried up.
5. Then add the sesame oil and continue mixing in one direction.
6. Lastly, let the ground pork sit for a while so that the flavors sink in.
Note: After each step, take a couple minutes to mix the ground pork so that the texture is better in the end result. This way, the filling is sticky and well mixed once we make the dumplings.
Making the dumplings (Can be done faster if 2 people work together!):
1. Use a large cutting board and sprinkle some flour on it to prepare for making the dumpling wraps out of the prepared dough.
2. Grab the raised dough and cut it into 4 equal pieces, then pull each piece until they are in elongated shapes, almost like a snake. Then, cut each elongated piece into separate smaller pieces, each piece being the wrap for one dumpling. This will depend on how big you want your dumplings to be.
3. Flatten out each piece of dough into thin circular pieces, then use them to put the filling on.
4. Add the diced chives into the ground pork mix and mix in one direction again for a couple minutes.
5. Put the filling onto the thin pieces of dough and form the dumpling shape. Use this video below to help guide you in this process. The most important part is using the hand that’s holding the dumpling correctly to form that curved dumpling shape by cupping your thumb and other fingers together. Put the formed dumplings onto a tray that also has some flour spread on it (to avoid sticking) to boil in water later.
6. Repeat this process until all of the dough or all of the filling (preferable) is used up.
Boiling the dumplings:
1. Add the made dumplings onto a tray, and start boiling water in a cooking pot at high heat. Wait for the water to boil, then add around 30 dumplings into the pot. This will depend on how big your cooking pot is; make sure not to add too many or else the dumplings might stick together.
2. Throughout the cooking process of the dumplings, stir them with a large spoon so that they don’t sink to the bottom of the pot. This ensures that they don’t stick to the bottom of the pan and so that the dough doesn’t break once you try to stir them again.
3. Keep stirring until the water boils again and the dumplings rise to the top of the water, then add half a cup of water to stop the boiling. This process takes around 5 minutes.
4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 in this section two more times, adding the last ½ cup of water after the first repetition.
5. From experience, after the dumplings have flipped upside down in the pot, where the folds are facing down, then the dumplings are ready.
6. Optional: In order to make sure the dumplings aren’t too hot, use a spoon to pick some up from the pot and add to a nearby bowl with cold water, then take them back out after 5 seconds and serve.
Written by Brenton Cai, Landscape Designer