Growing up as a norther Chinese, I remember that dumpling has played a huge part in our life. We eat dumplings for most of the important occasions: Chinese New Year dinners, family gatherings, farewell/ welcoming meals, etc. It is a social food, as it can involve many people into the preparation; meanwhile it brings together everyone to the table to taste their hard work. Each dumpling represents a heart, and is wrapped with love and good wishes of the person, who made it.
There are countless versions of dumplings out there, starting from the fillings, shapes, to the way of cooking them, etc. Dumpling is a family of thousands of siblings. Today I am making the steamed version of dumpling with a seasonal filling: Daikon and Pork.
To steam the dumpling is because the wrap is made of leavened dough. In my memories, when we made dumplings using leavened dough, usually their size was much bigger than the boiled ones. This is simply because the steamer is a protection to the dumplings while cooking, and the dumplings can remain well their shapes inside. While the boiled ones are smaller, otherwise the wrap may not be able to hold the fillings during the movement inside the boiling water. I used to take the steamed dumplings as snack and held one in hand while playing. My parents were angry and criticized me for doing that, of course. But kids are kids. And now it almost becomes my turn to criticize my kid for that same reason. 😂🥟
- Flour 350g
- Yeast 3g
- Warm water
- Pinch of salt
- Daikon x 1
- Minced pork 300g
- Egg white x 1
- Chopped green onion
- Grated ginger
- Five spice powder
Note: I am not listing the quantity of each flavoring here, because it depends on your personal preference to add a bit more or less of each ingredient. You can adjust the quantity as you want, and even feel free to eliminate those that you don’t like.
- Activate the yeast by dissolving them in a cup of warm water (40℃). Wait for 5 – 8 minutes until you see foam at the surface of the water.
- Put flour and salt inside a big bowl. Then add in the yeast-water mixture, and mix everything using a fork/ chopstick.
- Add in more warm water into the bowl, and mix well. Now use your hand to knead the dough, and meanwhile feel the proportion of the flour and water.
- Add in another small portion of warm water, and try to knead all the dry flour together into the dough. Stop add in water once no dry flour is left.
- Cover the dough with plastic wrap, and leave it in a warm place for leavening. Here it needs 1 – 2 hours until the dough doubles its size.
- Grate the daikon into short and thin strips. Boil the grated daikon in boiling water for 1 minute to get rid of its bitter flavor. Squeeze out the water and leave the daikon for later use.
- Put all the ingredients for the filling (listed above), and mix them together. Add in a little water to make it smoother. Keep stir everything in one direction until the pork start to get sticky.
- Mix the daikon of step 1 and the pork of step 2 together.
- Rub the leavened dough into a long shape, then cut it into small cubes. Sprinkle some flour on top to prevent them from sticking on the board.
- Use rolling pin to roll each cube into a round shape wrap. It is preferred to have the center thicker than the edges, so that it holds the filling better.
- Put some filling in the center of the wrap, then seal the wrap to make it a dumpling.
- Leave the dumplings inside the steamer for 10-15 minutes to let the dough leaven for the 2nd time.
- Then put the steamer on top of a pot full of cold water. Switch on the fire and starting the steaming process. Once the water is boiling, keep steaming for another 10 minutes.
- Switch off the fire, and let the dumplings rest inside the steamer for another 5 minutes before removing the lid.
It is up to your preference to make your own sauce. In north China, vinegar is a must in our dumpling dipping sauce. People also like to add in chopped garlic to give the flavor a stronger kick. My usually go-to ingredients for the dipping sauce are:
- Soy sauce (1/2 quantity of the vinegar)
- A drizzle of sesame oil OR
- Hot chili sauce (when I feel like some spicy, as in the photo)