Yes, dumpling stands are ubiquitous on the streets of Taipei, but making this takeout favorite at home is a special kitchen project for most families. Especially when the Lunar New Year rolls around–dumplings are served at practically every traditional feast as an auspicious food–everyone gathers around the kitchen table, grabs a spoon for scooping filling, and gets busy wrapping.
I recently published a recipe for wonton soup in New York Family as a good indoor activities to do with kids. This thin-skinned and triangular-shaped variety of dumplings is easier to wrap than the thicker-skinned kind with scalloped edges. But the truth is that every so often, when I’m craving something cozy and familiar, it’s a whole lot of fun for me and the Asian friends I rally into the kitchen, too. For us, the recipe is delicious and hassle-free–and it tastes like home.
P.S. Curious about the dumpling scene in Taipei? Check out my write-up in National Geographic Traveler!
- 1 pack thawed wonton wrappers, available in Chinatown or specialty grocery stores
- 1/2 lb fatty ground pork
- 1/3 lb minced leafy greens, like bok choy or spinach
- 3 stalks of chopped scallion or chives
- 1 tsp minced ginger, optional
- 1/3 tsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp ground pepper, preferably white
- 2 tsp soy sauce
- 1/2 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp rice wine
- 1 egg
- chicken broth soup, to taste
Place everything but the wrappers and chicken broth in a large bowl. Mush up the filling with a spoon or your bare hands–the latter is more fun as long as you wash your hands after touching the raw meat. The more vigorously you mix the better.
Set out a small dish with water. Use a spoon or your fingers to pat approximately one teaspoon of filling in the middle of each wonton wrapper. Dip a finger in the water and wet the edges of the wrapper, so the dough becomes a little sticky but not too soft. Fold the wrapper into a triangle and press down firmly on the edges—make sure the seal is tight so the wontons stay intact while cooking.
To get that classic wonton look, you’ll have to take the two bottom corners of the wonton and press them tightly together. But for less nimble fingers, wontons left in the triangle shape taste just as good. Set the wontons on a dry plate in a single layer to avoid sticking. To prevent drying, cover with plastic wrap.
Bring a pot of chicken broth soup to a boil. Drop the wontons in and bring back to a boil until translucent, about 3-5 minutes. If you’re not sure about doneness, remove one wonton to check the color of the meat; overcooked wontons will fall apart.