Sure, you could make dumpling skins from scratch if you want to impress Instagram


  • 1.5 lb medium ground pork (optional: sub in 0.5 lb of finely chopped shrimp)
  • 1 package wrappers (1 lb)
  • 1 bunch flowering chives or Chinese chives
  • 2-4 garlic cloves, to taste
  • 2 tbsp fresh ginger
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp Shaoxing rice cooking wine (the brown varieties have more flavor, avoid the clear wines)
  • 2 tbsp Chinese chili oil 1-2 tbsp sesame oil
  • A few tablespoons of broth (optional)
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 1 tsp salt


  1. Finely mince or food process the chives, garlic and ginger.
  2. Add to bowl with pork, dump in all the seasoning (and broth if you have it). Stir, in only one direction, until smooth, even a little sticky. ‘Beating in’ the liquid incorporates it into the meat and makes it springy, instead of shrinking while cooking and leaving you with a saggy, empty bag of skin.
  3. Start folding: put about 1 tbsp filling in the center of the wrapper, dip your finger in a bowl of warm water, wet the entire edge, fold in half and pleat from one edge to the other, pinching shut as you go. Pinch the entire the edge again for good measure.
  4. If you’re freezing: set on a baking sheet with space around each dumpling. Freeze for an hour, bang the whole sheet on the counter until they come loose and put in a freezer bag. Keeps in freezer for a month or two.

If cooking immediately:

  1. For pan-fried pot stickers: swirl some oil into a hot pan, set the dumplings in evenly and shake the pan so they don’t stick. Fry on medium-high heat til they have brown crispy bottoms. Add in a 1/4 cup water and cover. Steam until water evaporates, remove lid and fry til crispy again, adding a little more oil if needed. Always shake the pan to prevent sticking.
  2. For boiled dumplings: bring pot of water to rolling boil. Add dumplings.
  3. Stir frequently til it comes back to a boil. Keep cooking for another 3-4 minutes, add some Chinese greens in the last minute if you want some veggies with it. Drain the whole thing.
  4. Serve with a dipping sauce made of equal parts Chinking black vinegar, light soy sauce and Lao Gan Ma chili oil, and a few drops of sesame oil. Minced garlic and sesame seeds are also good additions.
  5. You might end up with leftover filling. If you do, it is excellent stir-fried with Shanghai noodles and sad fridge vegetables.

A Few Notes

Sure, you could make dumpling skins from scratch if you want to impress Instagram, but store-bought is more efficient if you’re mass-producing 300 of these.
Hung Wang in Scarborough produces great skins that are available in every Asian grocery and even gwai lo (Ed. Note: White people) stores like No Frills or Fresco they are pliable, thin and never dried-out. A one-pound package of two vacuum-sealed cells contains about 70 skins.

Lao Gan Ma is my preferred brand of chili in oil, the most important thing is you do not use Sriracha or I will violate the rules of social distancing and come to your house and murder you.

As with all Chinese peasant food, the proportions and ingredients are suggestions — these are adapted from my mom’s, but there are many combinations of aromatics and proteins: shrimp and chive, pork and cabbage, beef and celery, pork and dill, chicken and shiitake, lamb and coriander.

If you’re adding a watery veggie like cabbage salt and squeeze before you add into filling.

Please share, thank you!

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