Chinese Dumplings – Homemade Wrappers

Chinese Dumplings - Homemade Wrappers

Related post: Chinese Dumplings – Filling & Dipping Sauce

I have a confession to make. I have been subsisting on boiled Chinese Dumplings (饺子) for the past 2 months. I have them as a main dish, as a side dish, as a snack, as a reward, as a pick-me-up … oh, you get the idea 😉

This happened after I learnt to make my own dumpling wrappers. The texture of homemade wrappers is light years away from store-bought, frozen ones. I kid you not. It’s silky, smooth and delightfully chewy. I love the taste and texture so much that I have been eating them boiled instead of panfried, like I used to (as Potstickers/Guo Tie/Gyoza). Boiling is the best way to truly savour their texture.

Homemade dumpling wrappers – in perfect circles because I used a cutter 🙂

Now, making your own wrappers is so easy, I just wonder why I have never attempted to make my own. How difficult is it to mix flour, water, salt and oil together? If you can bake cakes or breads, this one’s a no-brainer. I learnt this fromNice Mrs Tan who also taught me Teochew-Style Ngoh Hiang and Hay Bee Hiam.

Note that all these photos were taken on different days, so excuse the terrible “mix-and-match” quality!

Recipe (for wrappers)
– 500g plain flour
– 1 cup slightly warm water (1/3 cup boiling water + 2/3 cup room temperature water)
– 1 tsp vegetable oil
– 1/2 tsp salt
Yields about 800g of dough

1. Add salt and oil to the warm water. Stir till the salt has dissolved completely.

2. In a big pot or deep bowl, pour in plain flour. Add the warm water mixture slowly and stir (using chopsticks). Add a little water each time so that you can judge how wet or dry the dough is. Stop when it looks slightly sticky. Just continue stirring (or using your hands when it gets too sticky) till the dough comes together in a large, clumpy ball. As long as most of the dough clumps together, it’s time to stop. Don’t worry that it looks lumpy and dry.

3. Seal the bowl with clingwrap and allow to relax for about 10 – 15mins.

4. Now, start kneading. You will notice that the dough no longer looks as lumpy and dry. As you knead, it will become elastic and shiny. If you find that it’s too dry, add a little more warm water; if it’s too wet, add a little more flour – as simple as that! Throw the dough onto your work surface in between kneads to improve the structure. Those of you who have made breads by hand will be familiar with this routine.

5. The dough is ready to be rolled into wrappers as soon as it is smooth and pliable.

6. Nice Mrs Tan pinched off little balls of dough, one at a time, and rolled them into circular wrappers. Or, you can opt to roll the dough into a thin, flat sheet and use a cutter to cut out circular wrappers.
* Note that there is a reason why Nice Mrs Tan did it her way: wrappers should ideally be thicker in the centre and thinner at the edges (so that the pleats will not be too thick). I saw that as she rolled each ball into flat circles, she smoothed out the edges more, while avoiding the middle. Having said that, if you are a novice making dumplings for the first time, don’t fret the small details.

7. Ensure that the rolled wrappers are not too thin, otherwise they will break where the fillings “sit”. Sprinkle flour into each wrapper as you “pile” them up in a stack.

Top left: Sticky mixture when warm water mixture is added.Top right: The clumpy dough after some stirring and moulding.Bottom left: After letting it rest, knead the dough, slam it against your worktop, and it should look like this.Bottom right: Pinch into little balls of dough to be rolled out into round wrappers. Or roll out the dough into a flat sheet, then use a round cutter to cut out all the wrappers.

Now you can start wrapping the dumplings. One way is to pleat the edges (to get that gorgeous crescent effect), another is to press the edges firmly with your fingers (and get a simple semi-circle). The wonderful thing about wrapping with homemade, fresh dough is that there is no need to wet the edges with water. The wrappers are naturally adhesive.

These dumplings freeze beautifully. Simply place them neatly on a tray (sprinkled with flour) in the freezer for 10mins. When they have hardened into individual hard blocks, seal them in bags or containers, in quantities of your choice. I usually pack 10 in a bag, enough for 1 serving. When cooking these frozen dumplings, DO NOT thaw. Go straight from freezer to pan/pot.

Chinese Dumplings 1 P1070177
Pleating is easy – 3 pleats on the left, 3 pleats on the right. Gather the pleats inwards, towards the centre. You will get the “crescent” effect. Team work is highly recommended when making dumplings. When Nice Mrs Tan and I made them, we had an unspoken division of labour – she rolled the dough, I did the wrapping. Emile Durkheim would be proud!

Cooking the Dumplings
Panfried (aka Potstickers/Guo Tie/Gyoza)
1. Add some oil in a huge skillet. When the oil is heated up, place the dumplings neatly to fill up the skillet. Ensure there is sufficient space in between.

2. Allow the skin to crisp and brown.

3. Pour a little hot water into the skillet and cover for 5 mins, so that the steaming effect can cook the dumplings through. Once there is no more water left, dish up the dumplings and serve immediately.

1. Heat 1 pot of water (salted).

2. Prepare another pot of cool water (at room temperature).

3. When the first pot of water starts to boil, drop in the dumplings and allow them to cook, about 4 mins.

4. Dish them up with a slotted spoon and plunge them into the pot of cool water for a few seconds.

5. Put them back into the boiling water again for another few seconds and serve.
Trivia: Do not discard the water used for boiling the dumplings. If you have eaten too much and feel like you’re suffering from indigestion, drink some of that water. It will take away that full, bloated feeling. Apparently, all old folks who know will tell you that 😉

Chinese Dumplings Boiled P1080249
I highly recommend eating plain, boiled dumplings to appreciate the texture of your homemade wrappers 🙂 Boiled Chinese Dumplings are now my everyday food. What’s yours?

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Eva Rosenberg

Eva Rosenberg

Welcome to Eva's Kitchen where I share my adventures in cooking. My creations may not always turn out Pinterest perfect, but I usually end up with a funny picture or an interesting meal. Thanks for stopping by!


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