The Easiest, Cheapest Way to Make Delicious Dumplings

By Laurel Randolph on 26 September 2014 0 comments

When you compare restaurant or store bought dumpling prices to making your own, there's just no contest. Dumplings are one of the cheapest entrees you can make at home (50-60 wrappers cost about two dollars), and the flavor possibilities are endless. Plus, they freeze great and don't require defrosting, so you can have a quick homemade meal at a moment's notice. (See also: How to Make Scrumptious, Quick Homemade Rolls)

Don't let the folding part of dumpling making scare you off. It's simple and once you get the hang of it, you'll be a dumpling making machine. Just follow these steps to dumpling heaven, and get creative with the fillings.

Dumpling-Making Demystified

You'll find recipes below, but let's start with an overview of the process.

1. Prep Your Filling

There are tons of options for filling your dumplings. Below are two recipes to get you started. Mix up the ingredients and set aside.

2. Set Up Your Assembly Line

Making your dumplings will go much faster if you have everything at arm's length. You'll need:

  • dumpling or wonton wrappers
  • two wet and wrung out tea towels or paper towels
  • a small bowl with water
  • a pastry brush (optional)
  • a teaspoon measuring spoon
  • a parchment-lined baking sheet

3. Fill Your Dumplings

Take out two dumpling wrappers and cover the remaining wrappers with a damp towel. Place a heaping teaspoon of filling in the middle of each wrapper and brush the edges all around with water using a pastry brush or your finger. Use just enough water to make the edges damp. Do not overfill your dumpling!

4. Fold Your Dumplings

You can fold your dumplings by simply folding them in half and pressing around all of the edges to make a seal. Press firmly so that the filling will not leak out during cooking. If you'd like to get more creative, there are a number of methods.

5. Repeat

As you fold your dumplings, place them on the parchment-lined baking sheet and cover with a damp cloth so they don't dry out. Repeat until the filling runs out. If you are going to freeze your dumplings, you can place them in the freezer now.

6. Freeze Your Dumplings

If you aren't taking these straight to the stovetop, freeze them for later. Here's how.

Lay finished dumplings out on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Place in the freezer, uncovered, for 30 minutes to an hour, or until frozen. Freezing them individually this way means they won't freeze together into a big clump of dumpling.

Transfer dumplings into a freezer bag or freezer-safe container. Use veggie dumplings within a month, use meat dumplings within about two weeks.

Cook straight from the freezer according to the directions below, but add 2-4 minutes to cooking time.

7. Cook Your Dumplings

You can steam or pan fry your dumplings.

To steam: Lightly grease your steamer and bring a couple of inches of water in the bottom to a boil. Steam for about ten minutes.

To pan fry (the most delicious way to cook dumplings): Heat about a tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook dumplings, 8-10 at a time (don't overcrowd the pan) until browned on the bottom, 3-5 minutes. Add about ¼ cup of water and cover with lid, leaving a crack for some steam to escape, and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook until all water has evaporated, or 3-5 minutes.

8. Eat Your Dumplings

Serve with dipping sauce, recipe below.

Dumpling and Sauce Recipes

Now that you've got a handle on the process, here are some delicious dumpling recipes to get you started. Note: These recipes are easily halved or — even better — doubled.

Chicken and Corn Dumplings

Makes 30-35 dumplings

Ingredients

  • 35 dumpling or wonton wrappers, defrosted if frozen
  • ⅔ lb ground chicken (or ground turkey or lean pork)
  • ¾ cup frozen or fresh corn
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 T chopped spring onions
  • 1 T chopped Thai basil (or Italian basil)
  • 1 T hoisin sauce
  • 2 t rice vinegar
  • salt and pepper
  • water

Method

Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Follow the process for forming the dumplings outlined above.

Edamame and Butternut Squash Dumplings

Makes 30-35 dumplings

Ingredients

  • 35 dumpling or wonton wrappers, defrosted if frozen
  • 1 ½ cups shelled edamame, cooked according to package directions
  • 1 cup frozen or fresh butternut squash, diced small and cooked
  • 2 T chopped spring onions
  • 1 T grated fresh ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 t chopped fresh mint
  • 1 t soy sauce
  • 1 t sesame oil
  • juice of 1 lime
  • salt and pepper
  • water

Method

Combine squash and edamame in a food processor and process until edamame is in medium-to-small sized chunks (or mash together in a bowl by hand). Add other ingredients and mix well. Follow the process for forming the dumplings outlined above.

Dipping Sauce

Makes enough for one batch of dumplings.

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup soy sauce
  • 2-3 T Sriracha (optional, add soy sauce to compensate)
  • 1 T sesame oil
  • 2 spring onions, chopped
  • juice of one lemon or lime

Method

Combine ingredients in a bowl. Serve with dumplings.

What's your favorite dumpling recipe? Please share in comments!

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