Steamed Dumplings

13 Sep

plated steamed dumplingsAs I’ve shared in previous posts, my friend Toni graciously allows me to steal her inventory and use her beautiful ceramics for Pretty Little Dishes so my readers {and I} don’t get bored of looking at the same white plates week after week.  Usually, she loans me a couple of items…but this past inventory pick up was like I won the {temporary} ceramics lotto.  So my challenge for the weekend was to create something that would do her handiwork justice.

Inspired by the look of the ceramics, I wanted to make something that really made me roll up my sleeves.  Steamed dumplings definitely fit the bill…

steamed dumpling prep

{Gina’s take}

To be successful at this recipe, you have to be in the ‘patience zone‘ because there is a lot of prework.  In order to keep my sanity and not feel overwhelmed, I did all of the veggie mincing and cooked the sausage the night before.  I wanted to keep this dish pretty healthy, so because of the minimal amount of oil used when cooking the veggies, definitely use a non-stick pan.  You could actually cook the filling the night before too to speed up the stuffing process so you don’t have to wait for it to cool to handle it…next time!

steamed dumpling stuffing

Though I highly recommend using them, I had completely forgotten to pick up pre-made potsticker or wonton wrappers, so I ended up making these at home {see the Pretty Little Tip below}.  Either wrapper will work, but depending on the brand, the potsticker wrappers are typically a little thicker, so since these are steamed, I’d recommend the wonton wrapper route.

Steaming dumplings

Plated DumplingsTo prevent the dumplings from getting too soggy when they steam, squeeze out the cabbage – it seems odd, but I chopped it all up, then placed it in a paper towel and squeezed the water out  of the cabbage over the sink.  You’ll be surprised how much water comes out.

Regarding the shaping of the dough – I chose to make a pretty twist on top – basically drawing the wetted edges to the center (the wet edges act as glue), and then twisting.  You could also fold the edges in half and crimp, or just get creative…it’ll still taste the same, right? {wink}

Opened dumplingSince I did a couple of trial runs in creating this recipe, I found it particularly important to not let the buns touch each other or the sides of the pan while cooking – and keep in mind, the dough will expand a little.  When the buns touched, because the dough is so thin, the dumplings tended to tear when removed from the pot.

Speaking of the pot – I used a pot to steam the dumplings, but if you have bamboo trays, they’ll work great too and provide a much more authentic air to the process.

Overall – this is a very flexible dish and could easily be made vegetarian or the pork exchanged for chicken, shrimp, etc.  If you get creative with it, please stop by and let us know!

fat bun

fat buns…aka…dough rolled too thick

{Pretty Little Tip}

If you are in a bind – you can make the wrappers as follows:

2 cups flour + 1/4 tsp baking soda +1/16 tsp salt +3 Tbsp peanut oil +1/3 cup water + another 3Tbsp of water (added one at a time, as necessary).

I mixed mine with a dough hook, but you could do this by hand too, by forming a well with the flour and dry ingredients, then adding the liquid ingredients to the center, and kneading away.  Either way, knead the dough until smooth and let the dough rest for about 30 minutes so it’s workable {this is important}, then divide in to ~12 dough balls, and roll them on a floured surface, SUPER, DUPER THIN  {otherwise you’ll have fat buns.  See image}.


Steamed Dumplings


  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1/2 Tbsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 3/4 cup raw onion, minced (~1/4 medium onion)
  • 2 Tbsp scallions, minced (~2 scallions, the white part and some of the green)
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  • 2 Tbsp carrots, minced (~1 very small carrot)
  • 3/4 cup Napa cabbage, finely chopped, water squeezed out (~1/2 of a small head, save the remaining leaves to line the steamer)
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper, minced (~1/2 of a red bell pepper)
  • 2 hot Italian sausages, removed from casings, cooked, and drained (~1 cup of ground sausage)
  • 12 premade wonton wrappers
  • Serve with your favorite dipping sauce (I used soy)


  1. In a nonstick skillet, heat the sesame oil over medium heat and once warmed, add the garlic, ginger, onion, scallions, soy sauce and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook until the onions start to soften, about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Then, add the carrots, cabbage, and bell pepper, and cook for 2-3 minutes, still stirring occasionally.
  3. Remove from heat, stir in the pre-cooked sausage, and set aside to cool.
  4. While the sausage and veggie mixture is cooling, separate premade wonton wrappers and prepare them for stuffing. Also prep the bamboo trays or pot by lining the bottom with the left over cabbage leaves.
  5. Once the sausage and veggie mixture is cool enough to handle, place 1.5-2 Tbsp of the mixture in the center of the wrapper, keeping the edges free of mixture. Using your finger, wet the edges of the wrapper with water, then draw the edges to the center, and twist.
  6. Place the dumplings in to the cabbage lined pot/tray, being careful to keep them from touching each other or the edges of the pot - this will prevent them from sticking together.
  7. Steam the buns for ~10-15 minutes.

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