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Continuing a Family Tradition: Making Pork Dumplings

December 20, 2021
A paper illustration of a grandma carrying a tray of dumplings.
Grandma making dumplings

Growing up in China, my family would make pork dumplings for Christmas or Chinese New Years. My mom and dad, me, my cousins, and sometimes my grandparents would gather and spend a whole day making dumplings.

My mom taught me how to fold dumplings when I was six years old. It was one of my favorite cooking tasks to do. I loved molding them into "tiny couches" and placing them in a row. Watching my mom kneading the dumpling dough was fascinating. And of course, cleaning up afterwards was always a huge task for a small kitchen.

When I left home for college, one of the things I really missed was my mom's dumplings. So I thought of making some myself. Over the years, I slowly perfected my version of the pork dumplings. And now, I can share this family recipe with you on an illustrated recipe card. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I do.

Ingredients:                                                                                                                  

For the filling:

1 pound ground pork

1 napa cabbage

8 bunches of green onions

1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger root

1 egg

2 tablespoons of vegetable oil

Salt and pepper to taste 

For the dough:

8 cups of all purpose flour

3 1/5 cups of warm water

Tools needed:

Rolling pin

Small knife

Cutting boards

Large mixing bowls

Instructions:

1. Finely chop the napa cabbage into small pieces. In a large bowl, mix in 2 TBSP of salt into the cabbage. Set it aside and let it rest for 10 minutes.

2. Finely chop the green onions and place them in another big bowl.

3. Return to the cabbage bowl. Squeeze out extra water from the cabbage and mix it into the green onion bowl. Add ginger, oil, egg, ground pork and a pinch of salt and pepper in the mixture.

4. In a large clean bowl, gradually add warm water to the 8 cups of flour.

5. Knead the flour dough until it’s smooth and not sticky. Place a wet cloth on top of the dough and let it rest for 10 minutes.

6. Roll the dough out into a 1.5 inch diameter tube. Cut the tube into 1 inch thick pieces. Roll out the pieces with a rolling pin into your palm size circle shape. Fill each dough skin with 1 TBS full of fillings. Fold the edges to seal.

Cooking Tips: Boil a pot of water and gently place the dumplings into the water. Cover the pot with a lid over medium heat. Add a little bit of cold water whenever the water is boiling over. Cook for about 15 minutes.