These fried pork dumplings are filled with ground pork, napa cabbage, chives, soy sauce, fresh ginger, and sesame oil. They’re fried in just a bit of oil and then steamed. On the side is a piquant dipping sauce.
Fried pork dumplings may be something you’ve only experienced in Chinese restaurants. Until now. We taste-tested these alongside store-bought frozen dumplings and there’s seriously no contest. And these couldn’t be simpler to make. This easy approach will have you getting your entire family involved in an assembly line to make a big batch and stash them in the freezer so you can indulge in these whenever the craving hits. Which, trust us, will be quite often.–Joanne Chang
☞ Table of Contents
CAN I STEAM DUMPLINGS INSTEAD OF FRYING THEM?
Prefer not to fry your pork dumplings? No problem. After filling and shaping the dumplings, line a bamboo steamer (or steamer insert) with napa cabbage leaves and place the dumplings on top. Place the steamer in a pot filled with two inches of water, making sure the water doesn’t touch the dumplings. Cover the steamer or pot (if using an insert) and steam for 10 minutes.
Fried Pork Dumplings
For the black pepper scallion dipping sauce
- 2 scallions, white and green parts finely chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
- 1 medium garlic clove minced
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons black Chinkiang vinegar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon store-bought or homemade Sriracha
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon chile oil
- 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
For the fried pork dumplings
- 8 large napa cabbage leaves thinly sliced (about 4 cups)
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 pound ground pork (don’t choose super lean ground pork or your dumplings will be dry)
- 1 cup minced fresh garlic chives or regular fresh chives
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon peeled and finely chopped fresh ginger (about 1-inch | 25 mm knob)
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- One package round wheat dumpling wrappers (such as Twin Marquis brand)
- 4 tablespoons vegetable oil, such as canola plus more as needed
Make the black pepper scallion dipping sauce
- Combine all the ingredients in a blender and blend quickly until combined but not totally smooth. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 month. Stir well before using.
Make the pork dumplings
- Place the cabbage in a large bowl with the salt. Toss well and set aside for at least 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the ground pork, chives, soy sauce, ginger, and sesame oil and use your hands to mix all the ingredients thoroughly together.
- Take the cabbage in your hands and squeeze as hard as you can. You'll be amazed by the amount of water that comes out. Dump the water from the bowl. Add the drained cabbage to the pork mixture and mix well with your hands until the filling is well combined.
Fill and form the dumplings
- Fill a small bowl with warm water. Place a dumpling wrapper on a clean work surface and scoop a scant tablespoon of the filling into the center of the wrapper. Dip your finger in the water and paint all around the edge of the wrapper to moisten. Fold the wrapper over in half to look like a half-moon. Pinch just the top of the wrapper together, leaving the sides exposed and open. To start pleating the left side of the dumpling, hold the dumpling on the top, fold a pleat on one side of the wrapper about halfway down the arc toward the center of the dumpling and press it into the facing side of the wrapper. Repeat the pleating almost to the bottom of the arc so that you have two pleats on the left side of the dumpling. Repeat the pleating process on the right side of the dumpling, again pleating toward the center. When the dumpling is completely pleated, you should be able to sit the dumpling on its bottom and it will look like a little love seat. The smooth side of the dumpling will be the seat and the pleated side will be the back of the couch.
- Continue with the rest of the dumpling wrappers and filling until the filling has been used up. (The dumplings can be made up to 1 week in advance and stored uncooked in an airtight container in the freezer. The easiest way to freeze them is to place them on a flat plate or tray lined with parchment paper and freeze until the dumplings are completely frozen. Move them into a resealable freezer bag or an airtight container and return them to the freezer. Thaw in the refrigerator on a flat plate lined with parchment before cooking.)
Fry the pork dumplings
- To cook the dumplings, heat a large, heavy, flat-bottomed skillet with a lid or a nonstick skillet with a lid over medium-high heat and add 2 tablespoons oil. When the oil starts to shimmer, carefully add as many dumplings as will comfortably fit in the skillet with space between them and turn the heat down to medium. You'll need to cook the dumplings in batches. Cook the dumplings, without moving the skillet, until the bottoms are golden brown, about 3 minutes. Check by lifting them up with your fingers and peeking underneath.
- Carefully add about 2 tablespoons water to the bottom of the pan and immediately cover with the lid. The pan will sizzle and steam up immediately, so don’t be startled. Shake the pan from time to time to keep the dumplings from sticking. Let the dumplings steam for 2 minutes, at which point most of the water will have evaporated. Add another 2 tablespoons water to the pan, cover again, and steam again. Wait till the water has mostly evaporated again and repeat one last time with a final 2 tablespoons water. Turn off the heat, keep covered, and rest for 1 minute. Uncover and turn the heat back to medium-high to crisp up the bottoms. Remove from the pan.
- Continue to cook the remaining dumplings in the same manner, adding a tablespoon oil to the pan as needed. Serve the dumplings immediately with the black pepper scallion sauce.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
With the new year approaching, I chose to challenge myself to attempt a new skill—making homemade fried pork dumplings. I was a bit intimidated by the idea of folding and pleating, but I can now say with confidence, “Try it. You'll like it!”
We did a side-by-side taste test with frozen store-bought dumplings and this recipe easily won out, even if my pleating is that of a novice. My first and worst-looking folded dumplings tasted just as good as the later beautiful ones. Don't miss out on one of the best parts of the recipe—the dipping sauce. It had a nice bite to it and complimented the dumpling nicely. Such a lovely change and upgrade from the basic soy sauce mixture that sometimes comes with frozen potstickers.
These fried pork dumplings are little pockets of dumpling heaven! The combination of pork and chive works exceptionally well together and the filling is seasoned perfectly.
The dumplings held up well after being frozen in advance, thawed quickly in the fridge, and cooked up exactly as described in the recipe. Not to mention the black pepper and scallion sauce, which is seriously addictive. This recipe will always make an appearance any time I'm doing an assortment of Asian dishes.
Originally posted February 10, 2018