When I was growing up steamed pork dumplings was a very common thing to eat. It was popular in Chinese restaurants and a lot of people make it at home with the whole family participating. Mothers, grandmothers, aunts, cousins and children will gather on the table and they will all work on filling dumpling wrappers. The best part of this was the conversation and stories shared during the process.
Steamed dumpling varieties include pork, chicken, shrimp or vegetables. Tofu and mushrooms are sometimes added. A lot of people have different versions of preparing it when it comes to the ingredients and seasonings. Other methods include frying the dumpling first and adding water to steam it.
In the old days we used an organic bamboo steamer basket that fits in any big pot. Now I use a multi pot with 2 levels of steamer basket which is convenient because you can steam more dumplings at one time. Of course, you can also use a collapsible steamer basket that fits in any big pot you already have.
In this pork dumpling recipe, I use simple ingredients and the process is not that hard. Here you don’t have to make the dough from scratch. You can buy frozen dumpling wrappers conveniently available at the supermarkets and Asian stores. Trust me, if you can pinch the edges of a pie dough, you can fold a dumpling wrapper.
It is important to spray the steamer basket with non-stick cooking spray before laying the dumplings on it as they tend to stick to the surface. Also, once cooked, it can stick to the plate so lining the plate with lettuce, banana or grape leaves prevents that. You can even use wax paper but I prefer using the leaves for a lovely presentation.
Making this pork dumplings is a fun activity for the whole family, especially now that we have more time in our hands. It’s fun to have the family make it with you. It’s really a conversation starter. Try it!
Thaw the frozen dumpling wrappers before you begin. Wash lettuce leaves and dry them with paper towels. To make the filling: In a bowl mix together ground pork, 4 chopped green onion, carrots, ginger, garlic, oyster sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil, egg, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper. Set aside.
Prepare a steamer by filling the pot with water level required. Make sure the water is not touching the bottom of steamer basket. Remove and spray the bottom of steamer basket with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
To assemble dumplings: You will need 1 Tbsp measuring spoon to scoop filling. Place 1 dumpling wrapper in your left hand. Scoop 1 rounded Tbsp of filling and place it on center of wrapper. Gently pinch the edges to make small folds in counter clockwise direction. Gently squeeze the dumpling to make it taller. Transfer dumpling inside the sprayed steamer basket. Repeat procedure until all filling is used. Make sure there is space in between dumplings. Meanwhile, heat up the pot with water to medium heat and cover it. Once it starts simmering, lower the heat. Place the steamer basket with the dumplings inside the pot and cover it. Steam the dumplings for 18 minutes. You may have to do this in batches.
Prepare the dipping sauce: In a small bowl, mix together 2 Tbsp soy sauce, 1 Tbsp plain rice vinegar, 1 Tbsp chopped green onion, and 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes. Reserve the remaining chopped green onion for topping the dumplings.
Transfer steamed dumplings on a platter lined with lettuce or grape leaves. (This will prevent dumpling from sticking to the plate). Serve warm or at room temperature with dipping sauce. Sprinkle remaining chopped green onion on top of dumplings.
Any leftovers can be refrigerated. Once refrigerated, the dumpling wrapper may get a little thick to the bite, but you can resteam it for 5 minutes and it will get soft again.