Sunday Video: Make Your Own Chinese Dumplings

Delicious things come in doughy packages.

Happy Chinese New Year, y’all! In keeping with the lunar calendar, today is the first day of 2013. If I were in China right now, my relatives would be giving me mad money in red envelopes called hongbao, hounding me about why I haven’t married my boyfriend yet, and finally retreating to the dinner table, where we all would spend the rest of the night feasting until we passed out.

My grandparents have been known to cook upwards of 30 different dishes for a gathering of 12 people; one thing that’s always on the menu for the Chinese New Year is dumplings. Chinese dumplings, or jiaozi, in case you haven’t had the fortune of consuming any, are basically footballs of dough wrapped around delicious fillings—traditionally pork and veggies—and then boiled or fried. I tried my hand at making some, and guess what? There are a million steps, but none of them are hard. Year of the Snake, come at me.

What you’ll need:

• A cutting board
• A kitchen knife that’s sharp enough for veggie chopping
• A small mixing bowl
• A large mixing bowl
• Chopsticks or a wooden spoon
• A small bowl filled with water
• A large aluminum pan or a casserole dish
• A stock pot (i.e., a really big pot) filled with water

• Chinese dumpling wrappers (look for a pack of 45 to 50 in “Happy New Year” or “Shanghai” style—or just double-check that they’re made for dumplings and not wontons).
• 1 pound of ground pork (or any other type of ground meat OR a veg protein like tofu or seitan chopped up into bits)
• 1 head of napa cabbage
• 1½ cups of chopped veggies. Choose your own adventure: I used mushroom stems, bamboo shoots, and dou miao, which is a leafy green Chinese vegetable that you can usually find in any Asian supermarket. In English, it’s usually translated as “pea shoots,” “pea tips,” or sometimes “pea vines.”
• 1 egg
• Salt
• Soy sauce
• Optional: fresh garlic and fresh ginger

• Rice vinegar
• Sesame oil
• Sriracha sauce (also sometimes known as rooster sauce)

How to make them:

Part One: Setting Up

* Chinese dumplings actually were first made some time between 206 BC and 220 AD. The point is that IT WAS A REALLY LONG TIME AGO.

** OK, so I know I said in this video to get two heads of napa cabbage, but for this recipe you only really need one. And in addition to your veggies and pork/protein, you can add like five cloves of minced garlic and/or a thumb of ginger (also minced) to the filling, too, if those are flavors you’re into.

Part Two: Making the Filling

* There’s nothing inherently vom-inducing about raw pork or raw eggs—as long as you take the totally easy yet necessary precautions detailed in those links when you’re with cooking with them. Food safety, you guys. It’s for real.

Part Three: Assembling the Dumplings

Part Four: Cooking and Eating Them!


  • KatGirl February 10th, 2013 12:20 PM

    Where is the video?

    • Phoebe February 10th, 2013 1:34 PM

      We are resolving technical issues, sorry everyone, it will be up asap.

  • Emma S. February 10th, 2013 12:34 PM

    The picture of you with the giant knife is my favorite, Jenny. <3

  • AmyL February 10th, 2013 3:08 PM

    Ahhh! Happy Lunar New Year, everyone~
    I’m spending my afternoon downtown at the festival!

  • jenaimarley February 10th, 2013 3:21 PM

    I miss China SO badly right now, it’s ridiculous! Hopefully this time next year I’ll be there!
    Thanks for this, Jenny! You are awesome as always!

  • darksideoftherainbow February 10th, 2013 4:06 PM

    oh my. this made me SO HUNGRY for dumplings!! i studied childhood education in college and for one of our classes, we had to form groups and teach the rest of the class how to do something (basically it was for lesson plan purposes). anyway, one group made dumplings and i loved it so much. i’ve always loved dumplings but it was so nice to make them fresh yourself. i literally went home and would not shut up about them until we went out and bought the stuff to make them ourselves. thanks so much for reminding me how (relatively) easy it is to make them.

  • MissKnowItAll February 10th, 2013 4:50 PM

    I will pay you with my soul if you come to my house and make me dumplings.

    Fair Deal?

  • StrawberryTwist February 10th, 2013 4:56 PM

    I will have to try this! :) this looks really yummy

  • Dick February 10th, 2013 5:27 PM

    I actually live right across a huge Chinese super market. Stoked to make some. Seems simple. Thanks :)

  • amazeedayzee February 10th, 2013 5:31 PM

    Jenny, you are kind of really adorable. And yay for jiaozi! I agree, they really are the best food. Thanks for the tutorial :)

  • umi February 10th, 2013 5:41 PM

    oh yissssss this is happening thank you jenny thank you thank you you thank you

  • Adrienne February 10th, 2013 6:34 PM

    Xin Nian Kuai Le!!
    I have fond memories making jiao zi with my mom. I was so bad at the part where you fold/pinch the dumplings. I remember being frustrated that my dumplings never looked as pretty as hers!

    Another favorite Chinese New Year Dish of mine is niangao. Soooo good!

  • hannahfee February 10th, 2013 8:35 PM

    This website makes it impossible for you to be bored. You are astronomical Jenny!

  • Nimble February 10th, 2013 9:44 PM

    I really love Saobao. My dad spoke Hakka, so it may have different meanings, but it’s basically a hot BBQ pork bun and ohmyglob it’s delicious. I could eat it all day.

  • Killjoy February 10th, 2013 11:22 PM

    Happy Chinese New Year, Rookies! I live in China btw.

  • sissiLOL February 11th, 2013 3:29 AM

    I have one question! I am a grl from Germany and I think about a exchange semester at an high school in the USA. Did you have exchange students at your school? Do you think this is something good? What experiences have you done with them?
    Thank you very much :-)

  • Teez February 11th, 2013 5:34 AM

    i love jenny! and will be making these!

  • Jamia February 11th, 2013 7:59 AM

    Thanks Jenny. So fun!!!!Dumplings are one of the things I miss the most now that i’m gluten free. I need to figure out how to make the with rice paper. YUM.

  • Mintvirgin February 11th, 2013 10:11 AM

    i want to eat//////
    you make me wanting to eat!

  • Melisa February 11th, 2013 10:11 AM

    Jenny, I love you fellow Chinese. <3

    Anyways, one food that's always on the table for CNY in my family is PORK/PIG. Various parts of pigs (flesh aka pork, pig's ears, nose) cooked in various delish ways. Yum yum.

    Oh and let's not forget those little red envelopes we all feel so giddy about seeing.

    Happy Chinese New Year fellow Rookies. :)

  • monsters February 11th, 2013 1:04 PM

    Rookie needs more food articles! This was great, lookin yummy!!

  • Helvetica February 11th, 2013 7:26 PM

    Can’t wait to make these!

  • victoria February 11th, 2013 8:52 PM

    omfg YAY JENNY! 饺子 are so freaking delicious man !!!!!!!

    also I think you missed a v. important part of NYE celebrations in your description in the first paragraph because who doesn’t watch 春晚 on CCTV1?!?!?!

    • Jenny February 11th, 2013 11:21 PM

      Haha totally. My mom made me watch it this year but usually I try to weasel my way out. It’s a super spectacle! xo

  • lucylu February 11th, 2013 10:50 PM

    mmmm yay for jiaozi! all i want is a steaming plate of them in front of me right now. also you are very cute jenny. xin nian kuai le!

  • Yani February 13th, 2013 6:31 AM

    JUST yesterday, I was salivating over the fried dumplings a guy sitting at the window table with a t shirt that said ‘I annoy everyone I meet’ was eating. they looked absolutely delicious. but unfortunately, meaty. so I left and lost hope. maybe I’ll try these out. x x