There are hundreds of dumpling varieties in China, but only a few ways to cook them. This is dumpling genius Helen You’s recipe for making the wrappers for boiled or panfried dumplings. If you’ve been lucky enough to try Helen’s dumplings at her New York City restaurant Dumpling Galaxy, you’ll be thrilled to finally be able to make them at home.
ON-DEMAND: Listen to Faith and Max Falkowitz discuss recipes from The Dumpling Galaxy Cookbook.
Recipe excerpted from The Dumpling Galaxy Cookbook by Helen You with Max Falkowitz. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Crown Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC. Copyright ©2017 Helen You. Photographs ©2017 Ed Anderson.
MIX THE DOUGH
- Add the flour to a wide mixing bowl and stir in the salt. Stir in the water and egg white with your fingers. The flour will look shaggy, like biscuit dough; as the dough comes together, run an open palm around the edge of the bowl and fold the flour into the center, spinning the bowl with your other hand as you go, until it all forms a rough clump. It’s fine if there are still pockets of dry flour.
KNEAD THE DOUGH
- Coat your work surface with a fine dusting of flour and turn the dough out of the bowl. Dust your hands with flour and shape the dough into a fat log about the width of your hand. Knead the dough by pushing your hands and wrists into the log and rolling it forward. Then roll it back and push again. Repeat a few times until the log moves easily, adding more flour if it sticks, then spin the log 90 degrees, shape it into a horizontal log again, and knead a few more times, adding more flour if necessary. Use no more flour than you need to keep the dough from drying out.
- As you knead, the dough will get firmer and tougher with a texture reminiscent of a gummy bear. It’s ready when it’s smooth to the touch, like the surface of a pearl, not tacky, with no cracks or pockets of dry flour. There may be some lumps. Put the dough back in your work bowl and cover it with a sheet of plastic wrap. Let it sleep for 15 to 30 minutes. While it relaxes, you can prepare your filling.
- Dust your work surface with a little more flour, then knead it as before. Work out all those lumps; after kneading about ten times you should have satin-smooth dough that forms a clean ball you can easily push into, like the gel of a shoe insert.
PORTION THE DOUGH
- Form your dough into a log, dust a dough scraper with a little flour, and cut the dough into four equal sections. Roll each section into a log and chop it into six pieces for a total of twenty-four balls of dough, each about an inch in diameter. Toss the balls with a light coating of flour and cover with a lightly moistened towel.
ROLL THE DOUGH INTO WRAPPERS
- Gently smash the balls of dough into flat disks, then lightly roll an Asian-style rolling pin across them to flatten them out a bit more. Hold one disk by its edge and firmly but gently roll your pin from the disk’s edge to its center. Roll the same edge a few more times, using more pressure at the edge than at the center. Use your other hand to turn the dough disk and reveal a new edge of the disk; roll again. Continue until all edges are rolled out and the wrapper is about 3 to 4 inches in diameter.
- Hold your rolled-out wrapper up to a light. If you can see through it faintly, your wrapper is ready to go. Otherwise, keep rolling.
- Roll the edges to half the thickness of the center of the wrappers.
- As you get faster, you’ll notice that all your active hand needs to do is roll the pin back and forth while your other hand just rotates the wrapper. As long as your hands stay in these fixed motions, you’ll easily make even, round wrappers though they don’t need to be perfectly uniform. Place freshly rolled wrappers under a lightly moistened towel to keep them from drying out.
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