Author: squaw valley institute
In the past, you’ve always boiled or steamed your dumplings to make sure they get fully cooked without burning the edges. But with the right cooking methods, you can quickly and easily fry your dumplings without burning them or having them stick to the pan. Here’s how to pan fry dumplings in your own kitchen.
How to Make the Dumplings
Before you begin, you’ll need to gather your ingredients. Traditional dumplings are usually filled with a mixture of pork, vegetables, ginger, soy sauce, and Chinese seasonings, but you can use any recipe you like to make delicious, hearty dumplings. Most of these ingredients can be bought at the local grocery store. If you want to make wonton wrappers from scratch, you can use a simple recipe made from egg, water, and flour. If not, you can typically find pre-made wrappers at your local grocery store in the Asian foods section.
Once you’ve gathered your ingredients together, it’s time to make the filling. As you can see in this video from Things We Like TV, making the filling is as simple as chopping the vegetables and mixing it all together with the pork and spices. Make sure the vegetables are finely chopped, as you’ll only be using a small amount of filling for each dumpling. You can buy ground pork at the grocery store or grind it yourself with a food processor. Mix everything together in a bowl and add some flour to make the filling thicker.
Now that you’ve prepared your filling, you need to stuff the wonton wrappers. Dust your hands with flour to keep the dumplings from sticking as you work. A small spoonful of filling is usually enough for a traditionally-sized dumpling. Don’t pack in too much filling, or your dumplings might burst while they’re cooking. Seal the edges of the wrappers with water, then fold them over to seal the dumpling. For an extra touch, you can fold over the top edge of the dumpling to create the classic “scalloped” look. You can cook the dumplings now or refrigerate them for later use.
What Kind of Equipment Do I Need to Make Dumplings?
Before you start frying your dumplings, you’ll need to have the perfect equipment so they come out crisp and juicy instead of blackened and stiff. For starters, you’ll need to have a cover for your new fry pan so you can steam the dumplings as they cook. Yes, this is a recipe for pan-fried dumplings, but if you toss them in the pan without covering them, they’ll become hard and lose their moisture. The dumplings must be steamed while they’re cooking to retain all their delicious juiciness.
You’ll also need a non-stick fry pan to prevent the soft dough from clinging to the bottom of the pan. You can use either a seasoned pan or a non-stick pan that you bought from the store. Non-stick sprays can be effective, but it’s best to have a non-stick pan so the dumplings will cook evenly without burning on either side.
To start, moisten the pan with vegetable oil and bring it to a medium heat. It might be tempting to turn it on “high” to get the dumplings cooked as quickly as possible, but a high heat will sear the bottoms while leaving the tops raw and uncooked. A balanced temperature is the key to making the perfect dumplings with crisp edges and hot, juicy centers.
How Do I Pan-Fry the Dumplings?
Once your skillet is heated to perfection, you can start adding your dumplings to the pan. Don’t overload the pan by adding several dumplings at once–instead, arrange five or six in a neat row so they can all cook evenly on the bottom. Give the dumplings about thirty seconds to cook before you add the water. Pour some water in the bottom of the pan, then cover the pan with a lid. By steaming the dumplings directly in the pan, you ensure that they’ll cook perfectly and the dough will retain its soft chewiness.
When the water has evaporated, remove the lid and take the dumplings out of the skillet. The bottoms of the dumplings should be a crisp golden brown, while the tops should have a soft “doughy” appearance. Add the next set of dumplings and repeat the process. You might have to occasionally add more vegetable oil to the bottom of the pan. When the dumplings have been cooked, safely remove them with a pair of tongs. The dumplings should be served immediately, as reheated dumplings tend to be a little dry and rubbery.
To serve your dumplings, consider using a small ceramic plate with a bowl of soy sauce for a restaurant-inspired touch. Dumplings are best served with chopsticks so they can be dipped and eaten without making a mess. You can use a fork and knife, but the fillings might fall out when you’re cutting the dumplings. You can add small garnishes like scallions or green onions, or even a drizzle of soy sauce. These tasty dumplings are perfect for parties, get-togethers, and even backyard cookouts.
When you know how to pan fry dumplings, you’ll want to make these delicious appetizers just about every night of the week. They’re hot, juicy, and bursting with flavor, and you can add any kind of filling you like. And frying the dumplings cuts down on the cooking time and allows you to spend more time enjoying this classic Chinese dish.