Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Road to Perfection: Making Chinese Dumplings

The final product: Half-steamed, half-fried Chinese dumplings or Guo-tie. The wrap should be as thin as possible and the fillings must be tasty and succulent.

The two sides of a Chinese dumpling, it is both crispy outside and soft to bite at the same time.

The most challenging part: how to let them tuck and sit neatly together, fry them until they are slightly golden underneath, then you add water with flour mixture and let it steam with lid covered for a good 6 to 10 minutes.

In my almost empty flat, I have silently created a carnival of Chinese dumplings with keen interest from my Polish dolls on their festive Russian thrones.

The full view in order to count the number of dumplings made, I could count on them for survival for at least 3 days.

All you need: Flour or MUKA, pork or any minced meat, sliced cabbage with seasoning.


500 gram Minced meat
Sliced cabbage to your hearts' content
Chopped green onion
Shreds of chopped ginger
Chicken stock
Soy sauce
Seasame oil
Black pepper


2 cups of flour
1 cup of warm water, about 70 degree celcius
*How to begin:

1.Mix the ingredients of the fillings together and let it rest and season for at least 15 minutes. It should not be too watery, if too dry , you will not achieve the succulent quality of Chinese dumplings which you wouldn't find elsewhere.

2. Mix the flour with warm water, gradually knead it hard and repeatedly to create a dough. Leave it to rest and covered in plastic for at least 30 minutes.

3. Divide the dough and cut into small portion and roll into circular skin wrap and each wrap it with teaspoonful of filling.

4. Frying and Steaming : Tuck and let them sit neatly together on a non-stick pan, fry them until they are slightly golden underneath (do not flip them as a rule), then you add one cup of water with one tablespoonful of flour mixture and let it steam with lid covered for a good 6 to 10 minutes.

5. Freeze the dumplings when done, you could keep it for up to a week or two.

This is my second attempt since I came to Russia. Maybe out of loneliness, or boredom that I started to make dumplings again. However, they are still far from perfection but I will keep striving!

The first time it turned out to be too thick, as I was bored stiff to make too many dumplings all alone. Hence I made less and ended up creating giant dumplings, that look more like manty of Central Asian people. What an affront to the delicate feature of Chinese dumplings, that are meant to be dainty and feast to the eyes!

Today it turned out to be a wee bit too salty to my taste. I shall improve further!

I learned it from my Chinese friend in Singapore before I came here but then I realised in Russia, we are spoilt for choice with frozen dumplings! Nobody knows who created dumplings first, Italians have dumplings, or tortellini or squarish ravioli, depending on the shape.

So are Russians who called them affectionately as "пельмени" (pil-MEN-i). Amusingly, when I came here initially, I always mixed it up with the word "племянник" (pil-MIA-nik) which means nephews. If I am careless, I could end up saying, "I want to eat nephews", instead of eating meat dumplings. In Russia, dumplings are either meat dumplings, or vegetable dumplings, they never mix them.

Not to mention Chinese dumplings, we could easily produce an encyclopaedia on dumplings making, and the variety it could offer.

For a while I thought I didnt need Chinese dumplings, until I realise the weekends here are getting longer and longer, even after reading my Chekhov, doing my homework, labouring on the never-ending household chores, religiously cooking all meals and updating my blog.

And its pure happiness to revisit the art of perfecting the dumplings.

Last but not least, flour in Russian is "мука" (sounds MUKA in English) which stresses on "ka" while it also means torture (yes!! TORTURE!) at the same time, but with stress on "mu". Well, with the simple trick of turning flour with water into dough, and into my favourite dumplings, I have inadvertently turned the lingering 'torture' of loneliness into naught.

The slightest torture imaginable now, is that the fillings are too salty and demand more water to my Chinese tongue.

Yes, that is a good reason for my next attempt!


  1. wow, didn't know you can make dumplings. Wang Run's mom organized a lesson recently, taught some colleagues how to make dumplings.

  2. Its very easy to make! Try once and I am sure you will like it. I also learned how to make from a Chinese friend, I always visited her when I yearned for her guo-tie..until I thought, hey why not I learn it myself!!