You might be wondering if you can make your dumplings with regular flour if you don’t have any self-raising flour on hand.
Technically, you could, but your dumplings would undoubtedly turn out to be quite dense. Suet dumplings are often very stodgy (in a good way! ), but if you use plain flour, they tend to be overly stodgy.
Adding baking powder will also help them rise and become fluffy if all you have in the house is plain flour. According to this post, 100g of plain flour should be mixed with 1 teaspoon of baking powder.
What kind of flour are the dumplings made of?
Making homemade dumpling wrappers is incredibly simple! You will learn how to master this fundamental technique with ease in this chapter of my comprehensive dumpling tutorial.
I’ve chosen to write a series of posts on Chinese dumplings as a way of saying THANK YOU to my wonderful readers for their continued support throughout the past year as the Chinese New Year (Spring Festival) draws near. This comprehensive manual will cover every facet of making handmade dumplings, the national food of China. We begin our adventure today with homemade dumpling wrappers ().
What flour shall I use?
What kind of flour is needed for Chinese dumplings, first things first? Contrary to popular perception, you don’t need to purchase Chinese-made flour or flour that is particularly designated as “dumpling flour.” Using normal flour from your neighborhood grocery store, you can make delicious dumpling wrappers. In fact, it’s possible that Chinese flour has been highly bleached and polished with some unstated ingredients.
All-purpose flour, which is the most popular, works perfectly! It’s a fantastic idea to comprehend your flour, nonetheless.
- The best flour is one with a moderate amount of gluten. It’s simple to work with the dough. Although the fried wrappers are soft, they still retain a satisfying chewy texture.
- All-purpose flour sold in various nations has variable gluten contents. Check the nutrition label for the amount of protein (per 100g flour).
- 10-11g is excellent.
- 12–14g = more durable
- 10g or less = soft
- If you’d like a softer wrapper, mix more corn starch into the flour or use hot water to make the dough rather than cold water (Continue reading to find out how).
- Add some salt to the dough if you want it to have a more robust texture.
Find the perfect flour water ratio
You would need a dough that is easily rolled out and is moderately soft, but not so soft that it sticks, to make dumping wrappers.
- 2 cups/250 grams of all-purpose flour
- water, 125-130ml, or 0.5 cup
When I use British standard plain flour (also known as all-purpose flour), which has a medium degree of gluten, this is the ideal ratio for me (10-11g protein per 100g flour). If you use flour from another nation, it can have a different ability to hold water. In general, more water is required to maintain the same consistency the higher the protein level.
To discover your own personal ideal ratio, some trial and error may be necessary. If you’ve never made homemade dumpling wrappers before, I advise making the dough by hand rather than using a machine to knead it. By doing this, you will continually be able to “feel the readiness of the dough and add more flour or water as necessary.
How to make the dough by hand?
In a bowl, I typically combine flour and water. You may also just do it on a floured surface that’s flat. Gradually add water to the flour. Using a spatula or a pair of chopsticks, stir just until there is no longer any visible loose flour. After that, combine and knead by hand.
The dough ball should be medium hard and appear rough at this point. After allowing it to rest for 10-15 minutes (covered), knead it into a smooth ball. The dough should be covered and rested for an additional 30 minutes. The dough will become softer during the resting phase. It gets softer the more time it spends resting. It is preferable to give it a bit more time to rest if you use gluten-rich flour. The completed dough should be “as soft as an earlobe,” according to a Chinese cook.
Another two types of dough
The most popular all-purpose dough for Chinese dumplings is what I’ve described. I suggest the following two doughs if you prefer a dough that is easier to work with and more soft when cooked:
- warm water dough. Let’s assume that 300 ml of water total is needed. First, combine 200ml of boiling water with the flour. 100ml of room temperature water will then be added to the mixture.
- somewhat starchy dough Add corn starch in place of about 1/4 of the flour. To guarantee an even mixture, don’t forget to sift. When cooked, these dough-based wraps have a wonderful shine and are soft to the tongue.
When the dumplings are either steamed or pan-fried, these two forms of dough function wonderfully. However, I advise using the standard dough for water-boiling dumplings.
* Some Cantonese dim sum dumplings are wrapped in transparent, wholly starch-based materials. For the recipe for the wrapper, please see my post “Har gow: crystal prawn dumplings ().
How to shape individual wrapper?
Rolling the dough into individual wrappers one at a time is the portion that most people find frightening. I’ll confess it takes a lot of time and effort. However, once you master the technique, you can produce them pretty quickly. Here are the steps (please watch the video above for clarification):
- Make a rope or loop out of the dough.
- Divide it into equal pieces.
- Use the palm of your hand to gently press each piece into a little disc.
- It can be rolled out into a thin disc with a rolling pin.
The wrappers should ideally have a thicker center and a thinner edge. so that after sealing, the dumpling’s edge wouldn’t be excessively thick. A specific hand coordination is needed when rolling out the dough to get a nice result. Rolling pin is moved halfway over the dough with one hand, then is rolled back. The wrapper is rotated in a circular motion by the other hand. Turn, roll, turn, turn.. (see how it works in my video above). You can quickly create the ideal wraps after you’ve found your rhythm.
* If the dough sticks, always remember to flour the surface. To keep the dough from drying out, cover any leftover portions.
* An alternative method is to roll the dough into a thin sheet using a pasta maker. Then use a wine glass rim or a similar object to cut out the wrappers.
How to keep the wrappers?
Dumpling wrappers that have just been prepared must be used right away. Otherwise, they become hard to shape and dry. Making dumplings is typically a family activity in Chinese homes, involving everyone. The people in charge of making the dumplings always use the wrappers right away.
Remember to roll and assemble no more than 10 wrappers at once if you are working alone. Resuming your rolling motion, create the following batch. If you want to arrange the dumpling wrappers in a pyramid, don’t forget to dust them with flour.
Make them ahead of time: Wraps made from scratch can be frozen. Every wrapper should have extra flour between them. Put them into a tight-fitting plastic bag (squeeze out the air as much as possible). Use them right away after defrosting in the refrigerator.
No dough is ever wasted in my Red House kitchen, so use up the leftovers. I always prepare Cong You Bing with leftover dumpling dough (, spring onion pancake). I believe the effort is worthwhile, even if it is only sufficient for a small one.
Homemade dumpling wrappers ()
Making homemade dumpling wrappers is incredibly simple! This portion of my comprehensive dumpling guide will teach you how to master this fundamental skill quickly and easily (Video demonstration in post).
How are dumplings made, step-by-step?
We lived in different cities for a while while my wife Adri was still my girlfriend Adri. I used to load up the old Saab every other weekend and drive from Boston to New York for the weekend. My one assignment each time I came? Bring the frozen dumplings.
Not that frozen dumplings couldn’t be found in New York, but we had a special hankering for the ones from Qingdao Garden that were sold in bags of 50 up on Mass Ave between Cambridge and Arlington. Each bag might, with any hope, endure the two weeks between deliveries. Since my wife loves dumplings, we continue to keep a ready-to-eat stock in the freezer at all times.
As long as they are kept free of freezer burn, dumplings do extremely well compared to many other frozen dishes; they are practically indistinguishable from freshly cooked. You may enjoy a hot, delectable snack in just a few minutes whether you make your own homemade Chinese dumplings or Japanese gyoza dumplings or use a store-bought brand.
Here are my top three methods for preparing frozen dumplings. All of them begin with freshly frozen dumplings.
How to Freeze Fresh Dumplings
First things first: you have to cook the frozen dumplings, right? While you can purchase them from a store (stay tuned for our taste test recommendations), you’ll have much better success making your own or purchasing uncooked fresh or frozen dumplings from a nearby restaurant. (If there is a particular store you like, inquire; they may sell you uncooked dumplings.)
The secret is to freeze each one separately and store them to avoid freezer burn.
Fresh dumplings should be placed on a big dish that has been lightly dusted with flour or cornstarch before freezing, or on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Uncover the entire tray of dumplings and place it in the freezer to freeze completely, which should take about 30 minutes. After that, transfer the frozen dumplings to a zipper-lock freezer bag, press out as much air as you can, seal the bag, and keep the dumplings in the freezer for up to two months.
Ice crystals that sublimate—that is, turn instantly from ice to water vapor without ever passing through the water phase—cause freezer burn. By reducing the quantity of airflow around the dumplings, sublimation may be controlled. Standard zipper-lock bags aren’t the best for long-term freezer storage since air can very slowly pass through the plastic. You should use a zipper-lock freezer bag because it is made of thicker plastic and is intended to stop freezer burn. Use a regular zipper-lock bag as an alternative, then tightly wrap the object in two layers of aluminum foil. This will successfully prevent air from reaching the dumplings.
The Easiest: Steam or Boil
The simplest approach involves boiling frozen dumplings, but it also takes the longest because you must wait for a pot of water to come to a boil.
Fill a big pot two thirds full of water before starting to boil the dumplings. Over high heat, cover and bring to a boil. Put as many dumplings in the pot as will fit easily in one layer; cook until they float. Give them two or three more minutes to cook. With the use of a sieve, remove them, then drain and serve.
Because you just need to heat a few cups of water instead of a whole pot, steaming is a considerably speedier way. The skins will also become a little firmer and stretchier in texture as a result. Generally, I like this texture better than the softer texture that boiling produces. For your wok or pot, you must use a bamboo steamer insert. If you prepare any amount of Asian food, it’s a wise investment. They also make excellent stacking storage containers for alliums and potatoes.
You must line a steamer first since frozen dumplings will stick to the bamboo inside of it. The leaves of Napa cabbage make excellent steamer liners if you have any on hand. As an alternative, you can create a porous non-stick surface using parchment paper. Once you get the hang of it, you can make one in roughly the same amount of time it takes to steam a wok’s water. How? Read on.
What is the key to making delicious dumplings?
The dumpling dough shouldn’t be overworked. Stir everything together until there is no longer any dry flour visible and the wet and dry ingredients are well-combined. Although the dough can appear a touch lumpy, it’s acceptable! The easiest method to make tough dumplings is to overwork the dough.
Why won’t my dumplings puff up?
Hello everyone My editor at Stabroek News wrote me an email last month, relaying the details of a letter that was forwarded to the publication. Today, I’ll share that letter with you and dedicate this installment of the column to the letter’s author.
Making those lovely, fluffy dumplings as our elders did is my challenge. My husband enjoys it, but I can’t manage to get it perfect, so I’m not sure if I used too much baking powder or not.
I wrote about the two main types of dumplings we have in 2008—the ones we use in soups and the duff variety, which is steamed and served with dry foods like dry cereal, fried salt fish, and callaloo. We all have our preferences when it comes to food. My mother prefers her dumplings soft and fluffy, while my closest friend Sue prefers hers hard and chewy. Some individuals dislike soup with dumplings (yours truly). Okay, refrain from rolling your eyes and declaring that I must be mentally ill. And then there are others among us who will only eat the inferior form of dumplings, which are steamed either on top of boiled rice or by themselves in a pot.
In this article, I only speak to dumplings that have been prepared separately, not ones that have been incorporated into a soup or stew. There are a few things I should make clear before I attempt to transport you to pleasant, fluffy, dumpling nirvana.
The best leavening agent for fluffy dumplings is baking powder. It’s crucial to measure baking powder and flour in the proper proportion. If there is not enough baking powder, the dumplings won’t rise properly; if there is too much, the dumplings will rise and fall unevenly. This means that because there won’t be enough gluten (from the flour) for the baking powder to expand, too much gas will be released from it, causing it to rise, explode, and then shrink, hardening the dumpling.
One cup of all-purpose flour to one teaspoon of baking powder is the suggested ratio. I am referring to proper measuring cups and spoons, not the regular cups and spoons we use for drinking tea or coffee or for dining.
The dough needs to be kneaded to become soft and malleable. I’ve discovered that cooking the dough with a little vegetable shortening keeps it soft. Allow the dough to rest for at least 30 minutes before using it in the kitchen. For the dough to stretch and maintain its good structure after cooking, the gluten must form while the dough is resting.
While some people steam their dumplings, others really boil them in water. Although I like steaming the dumplings, you are welcome to boil them if you want. The texture of the dumplings’ exterior—sticky from the boiling liquid—will be one of the distinctions. When you steam food, you get a lovely, homogeneous texture with tiny burst spots that you can see where the dumplings swelled during cooking.
The cooking time is the trickiest factor in ensuring that the dumplings stay fluffy. The dumplings will become hard if they are cooked for an excessively long time. The dumplings will compress and turn hard if they are prepared and left in a heated environment, such as a hot liquid or a pot that is being covered. I would advise turning off the heat first, then lifting the top and taking the dumplings out. If anything, there shouldn’t be any deflation. The outside skin might contract slightly, but not enough to affect the dumpling’s actual texture.
Therefore, there are three important considerations: the baking powder to flour ratio, the length of time the dough is kneaded and rested, and the cooking time.
Make a soft dough by adding just enough water. Knead the dough for two minutes after it comes together. The dough should be covered and left to rest for at least 30 minutes after being lightly oiled.
A steamer rack should be placed in a pot after 2 inches of water have been added. Put on a lid and heat till boiling. In the meantime, divide the dough into 45 equal pieces and roll each piece into a ball or an oblong shape that is 2 inches thick and 4 inches broad.
Place the dough onto the steamer in batches (depending on the length and width of your pot), cover, and cook for 89 minutes. Cook for 1012 minutes if adding steam on top of the rice. The length of time will always vary based on the size, thickness, and method of cooking the dumplings.
Cut a piece of wax/grease proof paper or parchment paper to the width of the pot, brush it with a little oil, and then transfer the dumplings to the pot with the steamer. This will prevent the dumplings from sticking to the steamer. To make it easier for the steamer handle to pass through, make a small hole in the centre of the paper.