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Passing on the art of making dumplings

21 December 2018

Chinese dumplings are one of the many aspects of Chinese life South Islanders have embraced.

Steamed, fried or boiled, you can not only order dumplings when eating out, but can make them at home, thanks to Chinese supermarkets which sell the ingredients.

Fang Zhou is typical of her generation, having learned to make dumplings by watching her grandmother make them. She now teaches her own grandchildren how to make them and says they all have fun cooking together.

"I remember making my first dumplings when I was about ten years old," she says. "I was very curious about cooking and was excited I could finally help my mother do something in the kitchen."Dumplings are a regular part of the Chinese diet and I often make them when my grandchildren come to visit. The children like to help make them, mostly so they can eat them!"

Fang says the secret ingredient for dumplings is water.

"When I make the fillings, I add water gradually and mix it with the minced meat until the meat is fluffy. This makes the dumplings become juicy and will make the filling tender and melt in your mouth when you eat them."

"When I make the fillings, I add water gradually and mix it with the minced meat until the meat is fluffy. This makes the dumplings become juicy and will make the filling tender and melt in your mouth when you eat them."

Fang Zhou

Fang's favourite dumpling filling is minced pork, prawns and garlic chives. The dumplings are served with Chinese vinegar, perhaps with chilli added.

Though many Chinese families make their own dumpling wrappers, Fang says it's not necessary, because Chinese supermarkets make packs of wrappers for a small cost.

Chinese dumplings will be one of the most popular foods at the South Island Lantern Festival in the Avon River Precinct, Christchurch, February 22 - 24. The festival promises music, dance, food and lanterns in and around the Avon River, Worcester Boulevard and Cathedral Square.

Dumpling recipe

400g pork mince
2 eggs (fried and minced)
8 prawns (chopped)
Small bunch of garlic chives (finely chopped)
1 spring onion (finely chopped)
1 tbsp grated ginger
1/2 tbsp salt
1 tbsp chicken stock
1 tbsp cooking wine
1 ½ tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp cooking oil
1 tbsp sesame oil
1/2 cup water
1 pack of dumpling pastry wrappers (50 pieces)

1. Mix pork mince with salt, grated ginger, chopped spring onion, soy sauce, and cooking wine.
2. Slowly add water and mix it with the meat, until the meat is fluffy.
3. Add chopped garlic chives, minced eggs, chicken stock, cooking oil, and sesame oil into the meat mixture. Stir it until all the ingredients are well combined. The filling is now ready to make your dumplings.
4. Get one piece of dumpling pastry, and put some marble sized filling in the centre of the pastry. Fold the pastry to seal the dumpling.
Tip: Dip your finger in some water and put the water on the edge of the pastry before sealing. This will help the dumpling seal perfectly.
5. Put dumplings in a pot of boiling water and cook for 10 minutes, or until they float to the surface.

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