The Secret to Perfect Homemade Dumplings: Understanding Flour Composition and Water Ratio
- 400g / 14oz / of wheat flour (at least 10% protein content)
- 200g / 7oz / of water
- 1/2 tsp of salt
- 400 grams (14oz) of ground chicken
- 150 grams (5.3oz) of spinach
- 1.5 tbsp of soy sauce
- 1.5 tbsp of oyster sauce
- 1/4 tsp of salt
- 1 tbsp of sesame oil
- 1 tsp of chicken bouillon powder, optional
- 1 tsp of five-spice powder
- 20 grams (1/3 cup) of diced basil, can be replaced diced scallion
- 60 grams (1/4 cup) of chicken stock
- 2 cloves of garlic, grated
- 1 tsp of grated ginger
- 2 tbsp of diced scallions
- 1 tbsp of chili flake
- 3 tbsp of oil
- 3 tbsp of soy sauce
- 1 tbsp of Chinese black vinegar
Make the Wrapper
Make the Filling
Make the Dipping Sauce
Make the Dumpling Wrapper Dough
- Dissolve the salt with the water, pour the solution into the flour in batches, and mix simultaneously. Feel the moisture level of the flour to adjust the water ratio as needed.
- Gather the flour until a rough dough forms; then knead the dough. If the dough feels tight and stubborn, please cover and rest it for 15 minutes then knead it again. Repeat the rest and knead process until the dough becomes smooth and elastic. A proper resting period allows the gluten to expand and absorb water in the dough, making it more flexible and easier to work with. If you own a KitchenAid, use the hook attachment and let it run on medium speed for 10 minutes.
- Shape the dough into a log, cover it with a damp towel, and rest for 30 minutes.
Make the Filling
- In a big mixing bowl, season the ground chicken with soy sauce, oyster sauce, salt, sesame oil, five spice powder, chicken bullion powder, and 1/3 cup of julienned basil. If you don't like basil, switch it to diced scallions.
- Stir the filling until the seasonings are well combined. Then add 1/4 cup of chicken stock in batches and stir it within one direction for about 5 minutes. The stirring will gelatinize the protein, which helps the filling to absorb the liquid and leads to juicy and tender filling. Set it aside for now.
- Add the spinach to boiling water, blanch for 15 seconds, cool it down under running water, squeeze the water out, and dice it finely. You can use any other leafy vegetables that you like.
- Add the spinach to the filling and combine thoroughly. I mix the vegetable into the filling last because it will inhibit the protein gelatinization. Set the filling in the fridge.
Divide the Dough and Wrap the Dumplings
- After the dough has been rested for about 30 minutes, roll it into a long even log, about 32-35 inches. If you don't rest the dough for enough time, it will bounce back while rolling, which is frustrating.
- Divide the strip into 50 pieces, 12 grams each. No need to use a scale; go by the feeling.
- Sprinkle some flour to prevent the dough pieces from sticking to each other. Then, cover them with plastic wrap so they don't dry out.
- Put one piece of dough on the working surface with the cut cross section facing vertically, and flatten it into a small round pancake. One hand uses a rolling pin to roll the edge of the dough back and forth. The other hand rotates the dough. Repeat that, and you will get a round wrapper with a thick middle and a thinner edge.
To fold a classic half-moon shape dumpling, put some filling in the middle, and pack it tight. Next, use your right hand to pinch the corner to create the first pleat. Then, with the help of your left hand, repeat the following actions: stretch, fold, and pinch until you reach the end. Half-moon shape dumpling takes a lot of practice to be perfect; if you are a beginner, please check this video to find an easy folding method.
- Thoroughly sprinkle the tray with flour before setting the dumplings aside to prevent sticking. Then continue to fold the rest.
Pan-fry the Dumplings and Serve
- Add a general amount of oil to a frying pan and swirl it to cover the bottom. No need to wait for the pan to get hot; directly add the dumplings one by one and pan fry over medium-low heat without the lid for a few minutes until the bottom becomes golden brown.
- Pour in 1/4 cup of water and put on the lid. Let the steam cook the dumplings for 6-8 more minutes. Don't worry that the dumpling will lose the crust due to the added water. Once the water is fully evaporated, the bottom will be crispy again.
- While waiting, make the dipping sauce. Press 2 cloves of garlic through a garlic presser. Add 1 tsp of grated ginger, 2 tbsp of diced scallions, and 1 tbsp of chili flake. Heat 3 tbsp of oil until smoking hot, then pour it onto the aromatics to activate the fragrance. Add 3 tbsp of soy sauce and 1 tbsp of Chinese black vinegar, then mix well.
- Serve the dumplings with the dipping sauce.