Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Chinese Dumplings - Filling & Dipping Sauce

Related post: Chinese Dumplings - Homemade Wrappers

Having experimented with various combinations such as pork & prawn, chicken & prawn, cabbage & leek, my favourite dumpling filling is pork & cabbage. Specifically, very little pork to a whole lot of cabbage. It gives a lovely crunch to the dumplings, and is incredibly light on the tum. It's true, you know. Whenever I eat at restaurants, I feel stuffed after eating a few pork dumplings. But at home, even after 15 cabbage & pork dumplings, I don't get that jelak feeling.

Chinese Dumplings

My daughter saw me salting the cabbage (to remove the water content) and I explained why. She said, "Oh yeah, cabbages have very water content at 90%. Potatoes are about 80% and humans, around 70%. I read it in a book."

I burst out laughing in amusement. I love hearing new things from my children because it means that they are getting smarter :)

So, back to the cabbages. Do remember to salt them when you make this filling. You will find copious amounts of water at the bottom of your bowl during/after the salting. Get a cheesecloth or a coffee sock to help you squeeze out all that liquid. Squeeze as much as you humanly can. Wet cabbages will yield soggy dumplings. Not good.

Recipe (for filling)
- 1 large Wong Bok (long cabbage) cut into small shreds for the leafy parts, small squares for the stem part
- Salt (to remove liquid from Wong Bok)
Knob of young ginger, peeled and minced very finely
* Do not use old ginger or the strong astringent bite will overwhelm everything.
- 350 to 400g minced pork
- Dash of sesame oil

- Dash of dark soy sauce
- 5 stalks spring onions (I have made dumplings without these and they turned out fine)

Finely minced young ginger. Young ginger has a smooth, pale coloured skin. Old ginger has a slightly crinkled, drier, darker skin ... a much stronger astringent bite.

Cut the leafy parts from the stems.

Cube the stems, shred the leaves.

1. Prepare the Wong Bok by cutting it and salting it - about 1 tsp salt per large handful of cabbage. Leave for 15 mins for it to sweat. Using a cheesecloth or coffee sock, squeeze the cabbage as dry as you possibly can.

2. Marinate the pork with the rest of the ingredients.

3. When the cabbage has been squeezed dry, add it to the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Do not add any more salt.

That's it! The filling is done and you are ready to wrap. Next up, the fiery dipping sauce which gives the dumpling their kick.

Recipe (for dipping sauce)
For each serving saucer, mix:
- 1/2 tsp minced garlic
- A pinch of finely shredded young ginger
- 1 tbsp light soy sauce
- 1 tbsp black vinegar (I use the Narcissus brand)
- 1/2 tsp sambal or chilli paste or chilli oil
- Dash of sugar (optional)
Note that these proportions can be changed according to your taste preferences.

Boiled dumplings collage
Now you are ready to eat! Boiled or panfried, they are both delicious. Enjoy!


  1. Oh Ju! I was just about to ask you about the filling. You read my mind! :)) Your daughter is adorable and I love it when my children are smarter than me. At least I know the world is progressing!

    I cld use prawns and cabbage instead cant I? Im going ot make this.....and a whole lot of other things on my to do list...ticking them off one by one.. Heh.....

  2. Definitely, Zu! Use more cabbage to prawn ... not so jelak ;) And best to smash the prawns with a cleaver instead of chopping up. Or you could use minced lamb or beef too. Try it out and tell me how it goes! And I know what you mean about ticking off dish by dish on the to-try list! Mine is growing faster than I can tick off!

  3. Hi Little Teochew. I am Teochew too ! Do you know how to make the Teochew kueh with glutinous rice inside and rice flour skin outside ? I don't know what it's called.

  4. I love the crunch too!! I have never salted my cabbage and never knew the water proportions mentioned by your adorable daughter:)

    I could bite into these right now!!I could even eat the half that's left in the first shot:) I love pork the best too.Next or almost equal's the chicken my least fave.
    Thank you!

  5. These look delicious! I have a confesssion, I love dumplings a lot, any sorts of dumplings. I can eat 15 of these at one go!!!

  6. thanks for sharing this classic the them pan fried like yours. haven't heard of black vinegar before though..we'll have to look that up!

  7. Nicely done and beautiful pictures too. I tried a few version but have not got the right combinations. Will definitely try your recipe. Thank you !

  8. Merci pour ce partage, les photos sont magnifiques, j'ai vraiment envie de t'en piquer un (ou deux) !

  9. OK, I am going to give these a shot, but i try to use as little salt as possible... Are we talking a pinch, or 1/4 cup???

  10. oh your child's little comment like that priceless!

  11. I was waiting for this post. Lovely filling.

  12. This is definitely beautiful and nutritious! Your daughter is smart! Like Mummy I guess? haha... nice little dumplings!

  13. wo, I just can't imagine how you could take so nice shots while preparing your dumpling, nice dumpling and awesome shots. I like both, hehehe..

  14. with some vinegar and ginger. mm. dumpling heaven!
    children are geniuses these days.
    sometimes i think my little cousins know more than me! haha.

  15. Looks very yummy. This is the first time I heard about salting cabbages and water content of cabbages! You learn something new everyday!

  16. C'est une belle recette que tu me fais découvrir !
    Merci beaucoup pour le partage de ta recette !
    A bientôt, Doria

  17. I love dumplings!!! In fact, I just finished wrapping my gyozas... heheheh.. I find it enjoyable.. I love the look of your dipping sauce... :)

  18. I've had these only recently and want more now after looking at yours...I'm greedy :O

  19. What do u mean by salting the cabbage? How do i salt the cabbage to remove water? Just add salt to it will make it too salty later on.

    I guess ur crunchiness will come from cabbage. Have a suggestion, add water chestnut =)

  20. gohfengchen: Salt draws out moisture content from anything. You must salt the cabbage, otherwise you will end up with soggy dumplings.

  21. Hi Ju

    I have just done this dumpling last nite. My husband loved it a lot :) He loved the sauce too :)

    As we made too much, we put some in the freezer last nite without putting them in a bag or spreading flour on them. I just left them on a plate. Now I know why we must do that, because the dumpling will stick on the plate and refused to be "pluck" out. Next time, I will listen to you....

    Btw, my dumpling were not very cooked this morning. I guess it's because I didn't steam them enough after pan frying them :( Must pay attention to these details in the future...

    Thanks a lot for the recipe.


  22. I've just made these dumplings for lunch following the recipes exactly from the skin to the sauce, it was really delicious! Thank you Ju!

    Do you have any tips on how to roll the skin out to uniformly thin as I had a really "messy" time rolling the dough out.