Recipe: Dumplings

Dumplings are one of those foods that have become particularly popular in the last few years; if you asked people 15 years ago, I’m sure many probably wouldn’t even know what you were talking about. There is a huge spectrum for the quality of dumplings; it is so easy to go out and buy horrendous ones from somewhere where you’d expect to be good and then stumble across some of the best dumplings you’ve ever had at some foul looking Chinese takeaway shop. I have discovered my local dumpling shop in Wellington (Dumpling’d – so delicious, conveniently close to work and at a great price too) but sometimes it can be really nice to just make them yourself – that way you can always guarantee their taste (although maybe not always the presentation!).

This recipe is for chicken and chive dumplings, but there are so many different kinds you can make. It basically comes down to the consistency of the mixture. It is important that it really ‘squelches’. We have been making dumplings a lot recently and we have just started throwing in whatever we have! Pork mince, (purple) cabbage, grated potato and spring onion works really well. We only used potato because we needed to get rid of some, but then we found that the watery consistency of grated potato was great for adding moisture and squelch to our mixture! Pick the substance and then add some soy / ginger / garlic combinations for flavour.

Collect for the dipping sauce

  • 1/4 c soy sauce
  • 1 t minced garlic
  • 1 t brown sugar
  • 2 t lemon juice
  • 1 t sesame oil
  • pinch chili flakes

Collect for the filling

  • 250 g chicken thigh, chopped finely
  • 1/4 c fresh chives
  • 1 spring onion, chopped
  • 1 T lemongrass
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 t finely grated ginger
  • 1 T soy sauce
  • zest of 1 lemon/lime

Collect to serve

  • dumpling wrappers  (probably available from your local supermarket, potentially sold as wanton wrappers)
  • 1 T rice bran or canola oil
  • 1/2 c water


  1. For the dipping sauce, combine ingredients and set aside.
  2. For the dumplings, chop up the chicken (2 – 3 times as chunky as chicken mince would be). Add rest of filling.
  3. Hold dumpling wrapper, spoon 1/2 t mixture onto the wrapper. Fold into semi-circle. Pinch them and crumple the edges. Place on a clean damp tea-towel to stop it from sticking.
  4. Heat oil in a large frying pan. Add dumplings. Add boiling water to the dumplings so they are about 2/3 – 3/4 covered. Boil for approximately 7 minutes. Drain most of the liquid but use the remainder as moisture to fry off the dumplings and give them some colour. Throughout the process it will most likely be necessary to constantly rotate the dumplings to ensure they don’t stick, burn or cook unevenly.
  5. Serve with sesame seeds.


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