To prepare the dough
- Add flour into a large bowl. Slowly pour the water into the bowl, mixing them together with a pair of chopsticks.
- When the water is mixed with the flour, dust both hands with flour and start kneading to form dough. The dough will be quite tough and should easily be able to be lifted from the bowl without sticking to the bottom.
- When dough has formed, dust the working surface with flour and dust hands again. Transfer the dough to the working surface and continue to knead it until its surface becomes smooth, about 10 minutes.
- Rinse a clean dish towel with water. Dust the bottom of a large bowl with flour and transfer the dough into it. Cover bowl with the damp dish towel and a lid (or plastic wrap). Let the dough rest for 2 hours. You can let the dough rest longer, 4 to 5 hours.
- After resting, the dough will be softened and have a smooth texture. Dust the working surface and your hands with extra flour and transfer the dough onto the surface. Knead the dough repeatedly for another 3 to 5 minutes, until the dough hardens again. Let the dough rest for about 30 minutes (or longer).
- During this time, you can prepare the dumpling filling(s).
To make dumplings
- Dust the working surface again and transfer the dough onto it. Slice 1/6 of the dough off and place the rest back to the big bowl. Cover it with the damp dish towel.
- Roll the dough into a long stick, 2.5 to 3 centimeters (1 inch) in diameter. Use a knife to cut the dough stick into about 12 small doughs, each weighing 12 to 14 grams (0.4 to 0.5 oz) (*see footnote 2).
- Slightly dust both sides of each small dough with flour. Work on them one at a time.
- Dust the working surface again. Take one dough and press it to a round disc. Roll it with a rolling pin into a round sheet (refer to the video to see how). Try to roll it so that that the edge is thinner than the center. The wrapper should be about 1 millimeter thick (i.e. almost same as the thickness of a CD), and the diameter should be about 7 centimeters. It is ok if the wrapper is not perfectly round.
- Starting here, you should work as quickly as you can, because the wrappers will dry out quickly. And if they do, you will find it very difficult to seal the dumplings later. If the wrappers dry out when you start to fold the dumplings, brush a bit of water over the edge so you can still seal the dough.
- Scoop about 1 tablespoon (or less, so you can easily fold the dumpling) of dumpling filling and place it in the center of the wrapper. Hold the dumpling with one hand and start sealing the edges with the other hand (refer to the video to see how to fold a dumpling). Be careful, when you press the edges together to seal the dumpling, do not let filling touch the sealing area (the dumpling will fall apart if you do). After folding, press edge again to seal well. You don’t need to fold beautiful dumplings here; our goal is to make the dumplings hold their shape during boiling.
- Place the dumplings on the working surface and work on the rest of the doughs in the same manner.
- Try to wrap and cook dumplings in small batches (20 to 25 dumplings at a time). If you won’t cook dumplings soon after wrapping (within 30 minutes), freeze them first (refer to the session “to store dumpling” below). If you want to know the reason, read the session of “Things you should take note of” above.
To cook boiled dumplings
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
- Carefully add dumplings one at a time into the water. Use a big ladle to stir the water gently and continuously, until the water starts to boil again, so the dumplings won’t stick to the bottom, for about 1 minute. Adjust the heat so the water is at boiling point, but isn’t bubbling too fiercely.
- When the dumplings float to the surface, continue boiling until the dumplings are filled with air and swollen, and the dough starts to become transparent, about 1 minute (*see footnote 3). Immediately transfer all the dumplings to a plate.
- (*) Be careful, the dumplings cook quickly and you should always stand beside the pot throughout the boiling process. When the dumplings are cooked, they will start to fall apart within seconds, so transfer them as soon as possible.
To cook potstickers
- Heat a tablespoon of oil in a nonstick skillet over medium high heat. When oil is hot, place potstickers in the skillet, pleat side up.
- Swirl 2 tablespoons water in the skillet, cover immediately, and turn the heat to medium. Cook covered until the water is evaporated and potstickers are cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes.
- Remove the cover and flip one potsticker to see whether the bottom side is charred. If not, turn to medium high heat and cook until the bottom side turns golden brown.
- Transfer the potstickers to a plate.
To serve dumplings
- Option 1: Serve with Chinese black vinegar and a few ginger slices.
- Option 2: Serve with 1 tablespoon Chinese black vinegar + 1 teaspoon light soy sauce + 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil.
- Option 3: Serve with Chinese black vinegar and a few drops fresh Chili oil.
To freeze raw dumplings
- If you plan to store dumplings or won’t serve them immediately, always freeze them uncooked. It won’t affect the texture or flavor of the dumplings.
- Dust the bottom of a big airtight box with a thin layer of flour. Place the dumplings, one finger’s width apart. Store in the freezer for up to 2 months.
To cook frozen dumplings
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add dumplings into the water. Use a big ladle to stir a few times. Cover and cook until the water starts to boil again. Adjust the heat so the water will keep boiling without spilling. Cover and cook for 3 minutes (up to 5 minutes for bigger dumplings). Uncover pot. Continue to cook for about 1 minute (up to 2 minutes for bigger dumplings), until cooked through. Transfer to a plate immediately.
To store and reheat cooked dumplings
- Store leftover boiled dumplings in airtight container in the fridge and consume as soon as possible, within 1 to 2 days.
- To reheat in microwave – Add dumplings into a bowl and sprinkle with a few drops of water. Cover and heat until warm.
- To reheat by steaming – Place dumplings in a bowl. Place a tall-rimmed plate upside down in a pot and add water to cover. Place the bowl of dumplings on top. Heat over high heat until water is boiling. Continue cooking for 5 minutes.
- To pan fry – Grease a nonstick skillet with a thin layer of oil and heat over medium heat. When skillet is hot, add dumplings. Swirl in a tablespoon of water, cover immediately, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
(1) Make sure you sift the flour into the cup and level it with a chopstick. If you scoop the flour with the cup directly, you will end up with 1/3 too much flour.
(2) This recipe makes relatively small dumplings. They are easier to wrap and work better for fillings that contain more moisture. Depend on the filling you use, you can also make slightly bigger dumplings.
(3) The cooking time here is just for reference. Actual cooking time will depend on the heat, the type of stove you use, the size of the dumplings, and the type of filling.