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Here's a dumpling wrappers recipe, also known as dumpling skins (jiǎozi pí | 饺子皮), that couldn't be easier to make and requires only two ingredients! If you've ever wanted to make your own dumpling wrappers but have felt daunted by the idea, fear no more - this is a recipe that anyone can master.
But why would you need a dumpling wrappers recipe when ready made frozen ones are available? The primary reason, for me, is taste and texture. Homemade dumpling wrappers are fresher and have a soft and chewy texture, making them (in my opinion!) more pleasant to eat. They are also thicker, and therefore, hold together when cooked (who else hates it when dumpling wrappers break during cooking?! 🙋🏻♀️).
Homemade dumpling wrappers are also easier to use when folding dumplings. Anyone who has used ready made wrappers before will know that you need to use water to seal the dumplings, and even then, they don't always seal perfectly. With this homemade dumpling wrappers recipe, you get nice and soft wrappers that are easy to use and seal completely with a few gentle pinches.
You may have noticed that there are seemingly countless varieties of dumplings out there, and that's just in Chinese cuisine alone. It's worth noting that this dumpling wrappers recipe is ideal for using to make boiled Chinese dumplings (shuǐjiǎo | 水饺) or potstickers (guōtiē | 锅贴), as the thicker texture of the wrappers suits these types of dumplings.
The basic shape of a dumpling wrapper is a flat circle. How you achieve that flat circle doesn't matter too much, although in this dumpling wrappers recipe, I use the traditional rolling method, which requires cutting the dough into small chunks, and rolling each chunk individually into a circle. This may seem like a lot of unnecessary work, but it is a reassuringly mindful process that is really quite easy, once you get the hang of it.
In the traditional rolling method, you take a disc-shaped flattened chunk of dough in one hand, and use the rolling pin with the other. Start by gently rolling from one place on the disc border to the centre and back to the border again. Then rotate the disc slightly until you're rolling along a new bit of border, roll to the centre and back again. Keep repeating these actions, always rotating in the same direction, until you've gone full circle. If the wrapper could be bigger, continue rotating and rolling until it reaches about 8cm to 10cm (3in to 4in) in diameter.
Don't be frustrated if you are not achieving perfectly round circles the first few times you do this - it does take some practice, and once you find your rhythm, you'll see that it's actually not very difficult to do. The best way to pass the time is to gather some friends round for a dumpling making party, where you can have an assistant to chat with and help you fill and make dumplings whilst you roll the wrappers.
The benefit of the traditional method is that the centres of the wrappers are naturally thicker than the edges, providing a good base to support the filling. But feel free to use whatever method you like to roll the disc into a flattened circle. The amazing thing about homemade dumpling wrappers is that they are incredibly forgiving!
If you prefer, rather than cutting the dough into smaller chunks, you could roll it into a very thin sheet (on a well-floured surface), or use a pasta maker, if you have one, and stamp out your wrappers using round biscuit cutters.
The best flour to use for this dumpling wrappers recipe is plain flour, as it is called here in the UK. Even within plain flour, there is quite a lot of variance when it comes to gluten/protein levels. The ideal level of gluten in the flour is about 10-11% (check the nutritional label, the protein level should be 10-11g per 100g of flour). Gluten levels much higher than 11% mean the flour is very strong, and the dumpling wrappers will be quite resilient and elastic. Conversely, weak flour with very low gluten levels will mean very soft dumpling wrappers, which could be difficult to handle.
In this dumpling wrappers recipe, where I use plain four with 11% gluten, half the amount of water (in weight) relative to flour used is the ideal proportion. If you are using flour with more or less gluten, you may need to adjust the amount of water used; flour with higher gluten levels will absorb more water, and flour with less gluten will not absorb as much. It may take some trial and error to find the correct proportions based on your flour.
If you won't be using your dumpling wrappers straight away, it is very easy to store them for later use. Simply dust each wrapper generously with flour before stacking them directly on top of each other. Wrap them in cling film, and seal them in an airtight freezer bag.
I recommend freezing in small batches, as once thawed, you'll need to use them straight away or they will start sticking together. Separate the wrappers as soon as they're thawed to prevent sticking. Use frozen dumpling wrappers within one month or they start to dry out and crack.
Other related recipes to try:
You may also like these other recipes to enjoy at Chinese New Year:
Here's what you'll need to make this dumping wrappers recipe:
(Click here to jump straight to the recipe)
250g plain flour, plus a generous amount for dusting
pinch of salt (optional)
And here's what you'll need to do:
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