This popular snack, eaten in many Asian countries, is called guotie in Chinese and dumplings in English. Follow the instructions below to make your own guotie, or buy dumpling sheets at the grocery store and put your own filling in it. With the following recipe you can make about 20 dumplings, enough as a main course for three to four people, or for ten people as an appetizer.
- Dumpling Sheets (you can also buy ready-made sheets):
- 200 grams flour (keep some extra on hand)
- 80 ml boiling water
- 160 ml water at room temperature
- 1 egg (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil (optional)
- 250 grams of ground meat (pork, shrimp or beef are commonly used)
- 350 grams finely chopped Chinese cabbage or pak choi
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil or Chinese cooking wine
- 1 teaspoon fresh ginger
- 1 teaspoon fresh garlic
- 1-2 spring onions
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 60 ml chicken stock (optional)
- 2 tablespoons dark vinegar (e.g. Chinkiang)
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- Ground white pepper to taste
Part 1 of 4: Making the dough sheets
Step 1. Mix the boiling water and the room temperature water
The dough will get a better consistency if the water is a little lukewarm. Boil 80 ml of water, remove from heat, then add 160 ml of room temperature water.
You can also heat 240 ml of water at a low temperature and remove it from the heat after one to three minutes. If the water starts to simmer or boil, remove it from the heat and let it cool until it's just slightly warmer than room temperature
Step 2. Consider adding the optional ingredients
While these ingredients aren't necessary to make dumpling dough, some recipes call for adding salt, vegetable oil, or egg. If you stir about 1/4 teaspoon of salt into the water, your dough will get a little more flavor. You have to add the other ingredients to the flour before you go to the next step. Mix 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil and/or 1 small egg into the flour so that it sticks together. Continue as normal, but be aware that the egg will add a little more liquid to the dough, so don't add all the water at once in the next step.
If this is your first attempt at making dumplings, you may want to skip this step to keep it simple. If the dough falls apart or tastes too bland, you can add one or more of these ingredients the next time you try
Step 3. Gradually add the water to the flour until it is sticky
Place 200 grams of flour in a large bowl. Add the lukewarm water little by little, stirring with chopsticks or a ladle. Do not add more water if the dough is sticky and no dry flour is visible.
Depending on the type of flour and how humid your kitchen is, you may need to use all the water you have prepared. Also keep the extra water nearby in the following steps, in case the dough dries out
Step 4. Knead the dough with your hands until it becomes smooth
If the dough becomes too sticky to stir, place on a clean, floured work surface and knead the flour and water together. The dough should become smooth after a few minutes of kneading. Stop when there are no more lumps and if you can make a ball out of it.
- By sprinkling some flour on your work surface and hands, the dough does not stick to it. Add some extra flour to your dough if it is too wet to knead.
- If you can still see dry flour, or if the dough does not form into a ball, add some more lukewarm water and knead it through.
- Remember to wash and dry your hands well before kneading.
Step 5. Wrap the dough in foil and let it rest for 10-30 minutes
Wrap the dough in cling film or place it in a dish that you cover with foil or a damp cloth. The moisture then remains in the dough so that it remains soft. Let the dough rest for at least 10 minutes, but preferably 30 minutes.
To save time, you can make the filling while you wait. The stated rest time is not very precise, so just continue with your dough once the filling is done
Step 6. Divide the dough into about 20 pieces
When the dough has rested enough, return to the dough and make a ball again. Pull it apart into about 20 small pieces. You may find it helpful to divide the ball into four large pieces first, then cut each piece into five pieces again.
You can also roll out the ball into a very long roll about an inch thick. Cut this roll into slices about 1.5 cm thick
Step 7. Roll out each piece of dough into a circle
Sprinkle some flour on a clean work surface so that the dough does not stick to it. Use a rolling pin to flatten the pieces of dough so that you get circles about 7 cm in diameter. Make smaller circles if the dough is falling apart, or if it looks translucent, as the dumplings may fall apart if the dough is too thin.
- You can speed up the process by using the heel of your hand to flatten the piece of dough before going over it with the rolling pin.
- Filling the dumplings is easier if you keep the center of the circles slightly thicker than the edges.
Step 8. Sprinkle each circle with a little flour
When the circles are done, you can lightly flour both sides so they don't stick together. Put all the circles that are ready together. You are now done making your dough.
Step 9. Keep the dough moist
Place damp paper towels over the dough to keep it moist while you're at it. When the dough is ready, it's best to start filling them right away before they dry out. Keep the dough in the fridge if you don't want to use it for a few days, or freeze it and use it within a few months.
Part 2 of 4: Making the filling
Step 1. Finely chop the cabbage
Chop the Chinese cabbage or pak choi into fine strips. You can basically use any hard, green leafy vegetable, but guotie is originally made with pak choi or Chinese cabbage.
If you want to make vegetarian dumplings, finely chop 700 grams of vegetables
Step 2. Remove excess moisture from the cabbage
Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of salt over the cabbage. Leave for five minutes to allow the salt to draw out the moisture, then rinse the cabbage in a sieve or colander.
Step 3. Peel and chop the other herbs and vegetables
To give the guotie a spicy taste, peel fresh garlic and fresh ginger and chop until you have 1 teaspoon of each. Finally, finely chop one or two stalks of spring onions.
Step 4. Mix the vegetables and the ground meat
Add the vegetables to a large bowl containing the ground or finely chopped meat. In various parts of Asia, ground pork, beef, shrimp, or a combination of these is used.
Wash your hands with warm, soapy water after handling raw meat to avoid transmitting harmful bacteria. Also clean all surfaces and tools that have come into contact with the meat
Step 5. Add spices and seasonings
Add 2 teaspoons soy sauce, 2 teaspoons sesame oil or Chinese cooking wine, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Other options you can add are 60 ml chicken stock, a pinch of chili powder or Chinese five spice powder.
If you want to be able to adjust the flavor before making the dumplings, take a spoonful of the filling and fry it in oil until browned enough. Taste the filling and add more spices if necessary
Part 3 of 4: Filling the dumplings
Step 1. Place a piece of dough on the palm of your non-dominant hand
Take one of your dough circles and place it on the palm of your non-writing hand.
Step 2. Put the filling on the dough
Take 1/5 to 1 tablespoon of filling and place it in the center of your dough circle. If the dough is very thin, or if you have made a small circle, use less filling.
Step 3. Loosely fold the dough around the filling
Fold the dough in half so that you get a half moon, but don't press the edges together yet. Only press the middle of the edges together, so that the corners still remain loose.
If using ready-made dough, wet your fingers to moisten the edges so that they become soft enough to stick together
Step 4. Fold a piece of dough in half at one of the corners
Grab a sheet of dough at one corner with your index finger and thumb, and fold it toward the center of the edge of your dumpling, where the two sides of the circle are already pressed together. The soft dough will now stretch so that you get the typical folds that dumplings always have. Firmly press the two layers of dough together at the crease so that it stays in place.
Step 5. Repeat until you have three or four pleats on one side
Using the same technique, grab a layer of dough at one corner and fold it towards the center of the edge. Press it well against the other layer. Repeat this until you have three or four pleats per dumpling, so that the dumpling is closed.
Part 4 of 4: Baking the dumplings
Step 1. Heat a pan with oil
Put oil in a wok, frying pan or deep-fat fryer so that the entire bottom is coated with a thin layer of oil. Heat it over medium heat until the oil begins to simmer, or a small piece of vegetable or filling starts to sizzle when you put it in the oil.
Use vegetable oil with a high smoke point, such as canola oil or peanut oil
Step 2. Place the dumplings in the hot oil
Carefully slide the dumplings into the hot oil. Place them well with a heat-resistant spatula so that they are close together, but not touching.
You will probably need to bake your dumplings in several batches. Do not put them on top of each other or they will not cook properly
Step 3. Lower the heat and put a lid on the pan
Put a lid on the pan, lower the heat and fry the dumplings for a few minutes until the bottom is crispy and golden brown. Depending on the temperature of the pan, this can take anywhere from two to seven minutes. You may need to take the lid off to check how far along your dumplings are.
Remove the pan from the heat immediately if you smell it burning. Loosen the dumplings from the bottom of the pan with a heat-resistant spatula and return to the heat after one or two minutes
Step 4. Add a little water to the pan
When the dumplings begin to brown, remove the lid and add 1-3 tablespoons of water, just enough to cover the pan with a small amount of water.
Pour in the water while stirring very quickly around the edges of the pan. Then you distribute the water evenly and the pan does not cool down too quickly on one side. This also prevents the oil from splattering when the water is added
Step 5. Put the lid on and let it sit for a few more minutes
Cover the pan again and cook the dumplings over low or medium heat for another 4-5 minutes. Add more water if it has evaporated before the dumplings are done. Note that you never have to flip the dumplings; they are meant to be crispy on one side only.
Take out a dumpling and cut it open to check if it is cooked. The filling should be brown and cooked through
Step 6. Serve immediately with dipping sauce
Remove the dumplings from the pan and fry the remaining portions. When all the dumplings are fried, serve them with a sauce of your choice:
- You can use dark vinegar on its own, or mix it with equal parts soy sauce and a drizzle of sesame oil.
- Mix vinegar with sherry or dry white wine and soy sauce for a sweeter dipping sauce.
- Black pepper and slices of ginger add a refined taste, and you can serve it with or without dipping sauce.
- You can also cook the dumplings in water for 4-6 minutes instead of frying them in oil. This method is also widely used in areas where they are eaten fried.
- Depending on your preference, the filling can be made in a variety of ways--from pure meat (pork, shrimp, chicken, etc.) to pure vegetables (bamboo, shiitake, cabbage, pak choi, etc.) or a mixture of these.
- The proportions when making the dipping sauce depend on how sour or salty you like it. Experiment on it!