When I decided that I wanted to learn to cook I started with dumplings. Dumplings have always meant family to me, but Chinese cooking is pretty arbitrary so learning a recipe isn’t easy. The recipe below is my standardized version, but really, go with what you feel. Your newly created family dumpling recipe doesn’t have to be the same as the Ma family recipe for dumplings.

Speaking of personalizations, the sauce you dip them in is totally up to you. I combine rice vinegar, white vinegar, soy sauce, and a tiny amount of sesame oil. My friend mixes vinegar, hot chili oil and peanuts.

I’m more than happy to welcome you into my family. All I ask is that you use this recipe to bring your family together, like it does mine.

Dumpling Skin Dough

  • Prep Time:5 Minutes
  • Cook Time:0 Minutes
  • Total Time:5 Minutes
  • Servings:About 50-75 Dumpling Skins (depending on how big you make them)
  • Easy


  • 3 cup flour
  • 1-1 1/4 cup water
  • Step 1

    Measure out flour and water. Pour the water into the flour and slowly work it all together until it turns into a ball of dough.

    #SpoonTip: If the dough seems too sticky, add more flour! If it doesn’t quite stick together, add more water!

Ma Family Dumplings

  • Prep Time:60 Minutes
  • Cook Time:10-20 Minutes
  • Total Time:70-80 Minutes
  • Servings:About 50-75 Dumplings (Depending on how big you make them)
  • Advanced


  • 1-1 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1-1 1/2 pound jiu cai (Chinese chives)
  • 1 egg
  • ~5 frozen pre-cooked shrimp
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon Chinese five-spice powder
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup sesame oil
  • Dumpling skins
  • Step 1

    Defrost your shrimp. Set aside.

  • Step 2

    Put the ground pork into a large bowl and pour the water in. Mix it well.

  • Step 3

    Add the oil and mix it in.

  • Step 4

    Add in the Chinese five-spice, and then the soy sauce and sesame oil. Make sure to mix it well so it all incorporates.

  • Step 5

    Scramble the egg and add it to the ground pork mixture. As before, mix it well.

  • Step 6

    Cut the jiu cai (Chinese chives) into pieces about 1/2 inch to 1 inch long. Add these to the pork mixture as well, making sure to mix it evenly.

    #SpoonTip: Make sure they’re pretty small because if they’re too long they will poke holes in your dumpling skin!

  • Step 7

    Cut the shrimp up into about 1/4 inch pieces and mix it into the filling.


  • Step 8

    Prepare the dough for filling. This is where it gets tricky, so bear with me.

    If you have premade dough, then skip to step 13.

  • Step 9

    Cut into fourths to make the dough easier to work with.

  • Step 10

    Roll out the dough so that it turns sort of into a skinny snake-like piece.

  • Step 11

    Cut or rip the dough into about 1-inch long pieces and flatten them into semi-circular sort of disks.

    #SpoonTip: Put quite a bit of flour on the cutting board while you’re doing this so that the dough doesn’t stick to the board

  • Step 12

    Take that disk and a rolling pin, and roll it into a flat circle. Ideally, it should be smaller then the size of your palm, probably a little less than 3 inches in diameter.

    #SpoonTip: Start at one point of the circle, apply pressure until you reach the middle, and rotate the disk. Repeat until you’ve rolled out the entire circle

  • Step 13

    Take that rolled out piece of dough, called the dumpling skin, and put it in the palm of your hand. Using a spoon, scoop up a ball of filling and place it in the center of the dumpling.

    #SpoonTip: Be careful not to overfill! You won’t be able to close your dumpling properly and when you cook it, it might break or leak. 

  • Step 14

    Take one side of the dumpling and pull it towards the other. Pinch it closed.

    #SpoonTip: Make sure when you’re pulling, that you don’t do it too quickly or pull too hard. You want it to meet the other side naturally so that nothing breaks in the process!

  • Step 15

    Pinch the rest of the dumpling shut. Don’t worry about how it looks, as long as it’s sealed tight!

  • Step 16

    Place the finished dumpling on a plate or a sheet that is lined with waxed paper.

    #SpoonTip: Try to make sure the dumplings don’t touch in case they get stuck together.

  • Step 17

    Boil a large pot of water (about 3/4 of the way full) on the stove.

  • Step 18

    Drop your dumplings in, making sure not to overcrowd. Bring to a boil again and take the lid off. The dumplings are done when they start to float on their own.