Chinese Pork Dumplings

Makes 40 dumplings

WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS Chinese dumplings are as much fun to make as they are to eat—with the right recipe. Our simple dough made from boiling water and flour is easy to stretch and roll out, moist but not sticky, and sturdy enough that it won’t tear during cooking. To seal the filled dumplings, we modified the traditional multipleated crescent for a simpler, effective, two-pleat shape that retained the spirit of the original. We also perfected a simpler halfmoon method of sealing. For a flavorful filling, we added vegetable oil and sesame oil to ground pork to mimic the richness of the fatty pork shoulder that is traditionally used. Soy sauce, ginger, Shaoxing wine, hoisin sauce, and white pepper added plenty of punch, and cabbage and scallions contributed crunch. Mixing the filling in the food processor was quick and tidy; the fast-moving blades also worked to develop myosin, a protein that helps the filling hold together when cooked. For dough with the right moisture level, we recommend weighing the flour. For an accurate measurement of boiling water, bring a full kettle of water to a boil and then measure out the desired amount. To ensure the dumplings seal completely, use minimal flour when kneading, rolling, and shaping so that the dough remains slightly tacky. Keep the dough covered with a damp towel except when rolling and shaping. There’s no need to cover the shaped dumplings. A shorter, smaller-diameter rolling pin works well here, but a conventional pin will also work. You will need a 12-inch skillet with a tight-fitting lid if pan-frying the dumplings. For the chili oil, try the Sichuan Chili Oil (this page) or use store-bought.

Dough

2½ cups (12½ ounces) all-purpose flour

1 cup boiling water

Filling

5 cups 1-inch pieces napa cabbage

1 teaspoon table salt, divided

12 ounces ground pork

1½ tablespoons soy sauce, plus extra for dipping

1½ tablespoons toasted sesame oil

1 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus 2 tablespoons for panfrying (optional)

1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine or dry sherry

1 tablespoon hoisin sauce

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

¼ teaspoon ground white pepper

4 scallions, chopped fine Black or rice vinegar

Chili oil

1 For the dough Place flour in food processor. With processor running, add boiling water. Continue to process until dough forms ball and clears sides of bowl, 30 to 45 seconds longer. Transfer dough to counter and knead until smooth, 2 to 3 minutes. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes.

2 For the filling While dough rests, scrape any excess dough from now-empty processor bowl and blade. Pulse cabbage in processor until finely chopped, 8 to 10 pulses. Transfer cabbage to medium bowl and stir in ½ teaspoon salt; let sit for 10 minutes. Using your hands, squeeze excess moisture from cabbage. Transfer cabbage to small bowl and set aside.

3 Pulse pork, soy sauce, sesame oil, 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, wine, hoisin, ginger, pepper, and remaining ½ teaspoon salt in nowempty food processor until blended and slightly sticky, about 10 pulses. Scatter cabbage over pork mixture. Add scallions and pulse until vegetables are evenly distributed, about 8 pulses. Transfer pork mixture to small bowl and, using rubber spatula, smooth surface. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

4 Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Dust lightly with flour and set aside. Unwrap dough and transfer to counter. Roll dough into 12-inch cylinder and cut cylinder into 4 equal pieces. Set 3 pieces aside and cover with plastic. Roll remaining piece into 8-inch cylinder. Cut cylinder in half and cut each half into 5 equal pieces. Place dough pieces on 1 cut side on lightly floured counter and lightly dust with flour. Using palm of your hand, press each dough piece into 2-inch disk. Cover disks with damp towel.

5 Roll 1 disk into 3½-inch round (wrappers needn’t be perfectly round) and re-cover disk with damp towel. Repeat with remaining disks. (Do not overlap disks.)

6 Using rubber spatula, mark filling with cross to divide into 4 equal portions. Transfer 1 portion to small bowl and refrigerate remaining filling.

7A To seal using two-pleat method Working with 1 wrapper at a time (keep remaining wrappers covered), place scant 1 tablespoon filling in center of wrapper. Brush away any flour clinging to surface of wrapper. Lift side of wrapper closest to you and side farthest away and pinch together to form 1½-inch-wide seam in center of dumpling. (When viewed from above, dumpling will have rectangular shape with rounded open ends.) Lift left corner farthest away from you and bring to center of seam. Pinch to seal, pressing out any air pockets. Pinch together remaining dough on left side to seal. Repeat pinching on right side. Gently press dumpling into crescent shape and transfer to prepared sheet. Repeat with remaining wrappers and filling.

7B To seal using half-moon method Working with 1 wrapper at a time (keep remaining wrappers covered), place 1 scant tablespoon filling in center of wrapper. Brush away any flour clinging to surface of wrapper. Fold wrapper in half and pinch dumpling closed, pressing out any air pockets. Place dumpling on 1 side and gently flatten bottom. Transfer to prepared sheet. Repeat with remaining wrappers and filling. (To make ahead using either sealing method, freeze uncooked dumplings on rimmed baking sheet until solid. Transfer to zipper-lock bag and freeze for up to 1 month. Do not thaw before cooking. Dumplings can also be refrigerated for up to 24 hours.)

8A To pan-fry Brush 12-inch nonstick skillet with 1 tablespoon vegetable oil. Evenly space half of dumplings in skillet, flat sides down. Cook over medium heat until bottoms begin to turn spotty brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Off heat, carefully add ½ cup water (⅔ cup if dumplings are frozen; water will sputter). Return skillet to heat and bring water to boil. Cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook for 6 minutes (8 minutes if frozen). Uncover, increase heat to medium-high, and cook until water has evaporated and bottoms of dumplings are crispy and browned, 1 to 3 minutes. Transfer dumplings to platter, crispy sides up. (To cook second batch of dumplings, let skillet cool for 10 minutes. Rinse skillet under cool water and wipe dry with paper towels. Repeat cooking process with 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and remaining dumplings.)

8B To boil Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large Dutch oven over high heat. Add 20 dumplings, a few at a time, stirring gently to prevent them from sticking. Return to simmer, adjusting heat as necessary to maintain simmer. Cook dumplings for 7 minutes (8 minutes if frozen). Drain well. Repeat process for remaining dumplings.

9 Serve dumplings hot, passing vinegar, chili oil, and extra soy sauce separately for dipping