Asian-style dumplings are delicious to eat out and even more delicious when you make them at home. There are many varieties of dumplings you can make, from steamed to fried to boiled, and the fillings are endless. So get the family together and have homemade dumpling night!
There are two options for dumpling wrappers—you can make them or buy them. Of course, buying them is the quickest way but, if you have some extra time, you can make them. The ingredients are simple (flour and water), but kneading, rolling, and cutting them to size can take some work.
Some people believe homemade wrappers taste better because they are fresh and not dry, but store bought are perfectly fine if you're short on time.
You can most likely find won ton or dumpling wrappers (both work fine although dumpling wrappers are a bit thicker) in the Asian aisle of your local grocery store or gourmet market. If you live near any Asian grocery store, go there for the most authentic kind (and some tips on dumpling making).
The sky is literally the limit for dumpling fillings. Traditionally, the fillings are minced and combined with cabbage, ginger, scallions, sesame oil, and soy sauce. You can vary the meats, using anything from chicken to pork to shrimp to vegetables. You can add herbs and spices for added flavor or extra spice if you like. Be creative and mix all kinds of meat and vegetables together with your favorite spices for interesting and unique dumplings.
Some of my favorite dumplings are made from edamame. You can even make sweet dumplings filled with chocolate or fruit!
Dumplings can come in a few shapes and sizes. They are usually half-moon shapes or round, and vary in size depending on what part of the meal they are for; you can make them a little larger if they are for the main course. It's up to you to decide which shape you like best.
No matter which shape you choose, you should only spoon about 1 teaspoon of filling into each wrapper, unless you get larger wrappers, which can be filled more. (The wrappers will break easily if they are overfilled.)
Pan frying, deep frying, boiling, and steaming are some of the most common ways to prepare dumplings. Of course, boiling or steaming are the healthiest ways, but pan frying and deep frying are great every once in a while.
If you are pan frying the dumplings, add a little butter or oil to prevent them from sticking. If you want to steam them, having a bamboo steamer will help, however, you can use a steamer basket in a pot of water.