This is not the most traditional dumpling recipe you will find… but man, are they good. I make spicy pork dumplings every few months, and should more often than that. For some brain-blocked reason, I imagine the process of filling the wrappers as tedious, and put off making them… only to later shake my head at my own silly stubbornness as I bust out two dozen in less than 30 mins. Perhaps recording my process will help me remember how approachable this recipe really is. I think it takes me longer to chose a bag of premade gyoza in the freezer aisle of my grocery store, and I am never as happy with those.
Similar to those frozen gyoza, these dumplings have a tender, savory filling in a delicate wrapper, and I usually steam or boil them and serve in a simple broth. I am terrible at the pan-frying method of making gyoza and have never deep-fried them at home, though either method would work to cook these dumplings. The filling is a little spicy from the sriracha, and I do use a liberal amount; you can tone it down a little by halving the amount of sriracha. I don’t recommend leaving it out, as the acidity and taste of the sriracha is more important than the heat here. As it is tempered by other ingredients, and especially if served in broth, I have been known to *double* the amount of sriracha to achieve the spice level I prefer. The dumplings also have a hint of garlic, a good amount of fresh, green scallions and just a bit of nutty toasted sesame oil to complement the mild pork and fiery sriracha. Sometimes I add some finely shredded cabbage to the filling when I want to add even more texture than the scallions provide; if you’d like to try that, I recommend starting with about 3 T. and using Napa cabbage. You’ll need a few extra wrappers to account for the increased volume of filling. Spicy pork dumplings can be frozen, and I highly recommend that you do– I like the way they cook when I add dumplings right from the freezer into simmering broth. Alternately, make them fresh and cook them right away, but remember how very delicate they are when you’re working with soft, fresh dumplings.
Whether you double the recipe and make a bunch to have on hand, or reach for this recipe to use up leftover pork from another meal, do try making these spicy pork dumplings. I’m always glad when I realize I have some in the freezer, ready for dinner in minutes. I’ll share my favorite broth recipe soon!
Spicy Pork Dumplings (makes 20-24)
- 1/2 lb. lean ground pork
- 1 large scallion, finely chopped
- 1 – 2 cloves of garlic, minced or crushed
- pinch of kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 T. soy sauce
- 1 T. sriracha
- 1/4 tsp. toasted sesame oil
- 20 – 24 gyoza or wonton wrappers*
Mix all ingredients except for the wrappers in a medium bowl. Do it by hand; it’s not difficult and the results are far superior to using a mixer. I like to keep a little texture by leaving the scallions chopped instead of minced. The filling can be refrigerated for a day or two if you need.
Set up a work station: a clean board, a small dish of room temperature water and a plate for your completed dumplings. In the picture above you see that I use a dumpling folder, which is fun and helpful but not required to make these! The main benefit is that I get the pretty crimped edges, but honestly, I usually skip it and pinch them closed by hand.
Working with one wrapper at a time, wet your finger (or a small pastry brush) and run it around the edge of the wrapper. Place a small amount of filling, about 1 generous tsp., right in the center of the wrapper. You will have to do a few to get the hang of how much filling to use, and I hesitate to specify an amount because of the variance in store-bought wrappers. If you use too much filling, the edges won’t seal properly and you run the risk of the dumplings bursting before or during cooking. If you don’t use enough filling, you might have air pockets in the dumplings that also lead to breakage. The best advice I can give: trial and error.
With the filling centered, fold the wrapper in half and press firmly to seal the edges. The dumpling folder will make a pretty edge, or you can crimp by hand, or use a fork, or just pinch together and leave the edges “plain”. As long as the edges are sealed, you did it! Once you get the hang of the process, start working to minimize air bubbles by pressing the wrapper around the filling gently before completely sealing the edges.
Continue until your filling is gone. This recipe as written above makes 20-24 dumplings. I consider a serving size to be 5-6 dumplings, so this makes about 4 servings.
As I mentioned, I think the dumplings cook best when frozen. Lay the finished dumplings in a single layer on a cookie sheet and freeze for 2-4 hours; you can then transfer them to a sealed bag or container for long-term storage. Dumplings keep up for several months in the freezer.
Steam, gently boil in a flavorful broth (my recipe coming soon!), or pan fry like gyoza to serve.
*I use wonton and gyoza wrappers interchangeably; as far as I can tell the primary difference is round versus square, and these dumplings can be triangular instead of a crescent with no forseeable consequences. A supermarket near us has an extensive selection of Asian specialty foods and I find the wrappers in the refrigerated case there. I usually buy two packs of 40-50 wrappers and toss one in the freezer to use later.