How to make Chinese dumplings

My friend Jetsetting Joyce who is a superstar cook has kindly agreed to share her dumpling recipe with Gourmet Chick readers in honour of Chinese New Year on 14 February this year. Thanks Joyce.
For me dumpling making is always a happy social occasion. So gather your family and friends around, sit around the kitchen table and pitch in to deftly wrap armies of won tons. For simplicity and speed I like my won tons scooped straight out of the pot and served with chilli and sesame oil, maybe with a sprinkling of finely chopped spring onion. You can also have the won tons in a broth and I’ve given you the recipe here.

Won tons ready to be cooked
Won ton soup (serves 6)
Won tons
250g green prawns
80g (1/2 cup) peeled water chestnuts. Personally I love my filling extra crunchy so I add double the amount of water chestnuts.
250g (9 oz) lean minced pork
3 ½ tablespoons light soy sauce
3 ½ tablespoons Shaoxing rice wine
1 ½ teaspoons roasted sesame oil
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1 ½ tablespoons cornflour (cornstarch)
30 square wonton egg wrappers. You buy these frozen, either white or yellow.
1.5 litres (6 cups) chicken stock
450g English spinach, bok choi/pak choy or gai lan (Chinese broccoli)
2 spring onions, green part only, finely chopped

Placing the prawn mixture in the wrapper
1. Peel and devein the prawns. Place in a tea towel and squeeze out as much moisture as possible. If you don’t do this the filling will be watery and may affect the texture of the skin.
2. Mince the prawns to a coarse paste using a sharp knife or in a food processor.
3. Blanch the water chestnuts in boiling water for 1 minute, then refresh in cold water. Drain, pat dry and roughly chop.
4. Place the prawns, water chestnuts, pork, 2 teaspoons of soy sauce, 2 teaspoons of Shaoxing rice wine, 1/2 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon sesame oil, black pepper, ginger and cornflour in a mixing bowl. Stir vigorously to combine.
5. In a small bowl, mix a little cornflour with water to make a watery paste. Prepare a tray dusted with cornflour.
6. Place a teaspoon of filling in the centre of each won ton wrapper. This is where opinion diverges as there are many different ways to wrap a won ton. I’ll show you two ways – the tortellini method and the pretty grandma-sitting-with-her-legs-crossed method, which is what
my family prefers.

Step one of the tortellini method
a. Dip your finger in the cornflour mixture and brush all the edges. Fold the wrapper in half, then bring the two folded corners together and press firmly.

Step two of the tortellini method
b. Dip you finger in the cornflour mixture and brush all the edges. Bring two opposite corners of the wrapper together to form a triangle. Take the other two corners, bring them towards the centre, twist the corners away from each other and dab some more mixture to hold the two ‘legs’ in place. She’ll then sit up pertly on the cornflour dusted tray.

Grandma sitting with her legs crossed method
7. If you’re not cooking these immediately, cover the tray with a damp tea towel so the pastry doesn’t dry out. To cook, bring a saucepan of water to the boil. Cook the won tons, covered, for 5-6 minutes until they have risen to the surface (be careful they don’t stick to the pan). Using a wire sieve/slotted spoon, carefully remove the won tons and divide them among six bowls.

8. If you’re having soup, place the stock in a saucepan with the remaining soy sauce, rice wine, salt and sesame oil and bring to boil. Add the greens and cook until just wilted. Pour the hot stock and vegetables over the won tons and sprinkle with spring onion.

Completed dumplings (sans soup)
Jetsetting Joyce is Chinese-Australian, a keen cook and writes and edits two blogs – MEL: HOT OR NOT The decisive guide to Melbourne and BNE: HOT OR NOT The decisive guide to Brisbane. The blogs review restaurants, bars, shops, culture, events and everything in between for locals and visitors to Melbourne and Brisbane. You can also follow Joyce on Twitter. Joyce’s brilliant recipes will be featuring again on Gourmet Chick while I am on my honeymoon in a few weeks time.
If you liked reading this you might be interested in this step by step guide on how to make scotch eggs. If reading about dumplings has put you in the mood for dim sum you can read this review of Yauatcha in London.
Gourmet Giveaway
And the winner of the Valentines day gourmet giveaway for an Interflora breakfast in bed is The Blonde who won by random number generation by virtue of being the 21st comment. The winner has been contacted and hopefully breakfast in bed should be winging its way to them shortly.


  1. Great recipe ! Being unhealthy, I prefer wontons with fatty pork rather than lean pork. Water chestnuts are also a great addition as it gives a contrasting crunchy texture. I’m hungry now.

  2. Lovely photos.

    As a kid my mum, sister and grandmother would sit around the table folding wontons. I couldn’t be bothered folding them in a fancy way (we were making hundreds) so mine were always folded in an envelope shape.

    The great thing is that if you have a spare afternoon to make these, they can be cooked from frozen and they make a brilliant quick mid-week dinner.

  3. These look so delicious, great recipe. Love your blog! It is my first visit, but I shall be back! x

  4. Thanks for having me, Gourmet Chick!

    Mr Noodles: I’ve never tried it with fatty pork – how does it affect the taste/texture?

    Lizzie: You’re right – I currently have a whole batch of wontons sitting in my freezer, ready for a day when I lurch home tired from work.

  5. Your won tons look great and I love how you’ve used water chestnuts as they always give it suhc a nice crunch! 😀

  6. Thanks JJ, i’m going to try and do justice to the recipe next week!

  7. What adorable dumplings! I’ve always wanted to make them but osmehow never get round to it – I always imagine my fat fingers screwing up the delicate folding… 🙂

  8. I really really want to make my own wontons. It’s very helpful to have these pictures showing how you wrapped them up as I’m not very good at parcels!!

  9. These look so gorgeous. Have recently bought myself some wonton wrappers, I like the idea of making tortellini-style dumplings. The flavours of these sound so good.

  10. Jetsetting Joyce – by fatty pork, I mean just normal pork with fat rather than lean stuff. I think the fat adds flavour making it more juicy.

  11. Fabulous tutorial, your photography is absolutely glorious. I’ve been away on hols so I’m catching up on your posts now. xx

  12. Jetsetting Joyce – Thanks so much for the brilliant recipe and step by step tutorial

    Mr Noodles – I think the addition of water chestnuts sounds brilliant as well

    Lizzie – Envelope shape wontons – I like it.

    Lucie – Thanks very much, please do visit again

    Lorraine – They do look great don’t they – well done Joyce

    Steve – Good luck!

    Jeanne – Joyce makes it look rather simple but I agree it could be one of those things that is actually rather tricky with the wonton wrapper sticking to you etc etc

    Sarah – I agree the pictures should be really helpful

    Laura – I like the idea too, I sense a noodle making workshop coming on

    Top Bird – welcome back – sounds like you have been doing lots of travelling you lucky thing

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