recipes that teach you how to cook without recipes


As with most of the cooking I do, this is not a “recipe” per say but some general guidelines on how to make some kick-ass dumplings. As you’ll see there are no ingredients amounts, just ingredient suggestions. It’s really up to you what ingredients and how much you use. I suggest starting with 1-2 tsp of the flavourings and aromatics you like, cook and taste the mixture, then adjust. My dumplings come out a little different every time but I tend to steer towards a South East Asian/East Asian style dumpling.

Makes about 50-60 dumplings.


500g ground meat (pork/beef/chicken)

Try different meats, combinations of meats and meat-to-fat ratios. My favourite is pork.

Use crumbled tofu, soy protein and/or mushrooms for veggie dumplings. 

Add a handful of chopped shrimp to pork dumplings for extra flavour.

aromatics, chopped finely or minced (include any or all, according to your tastes)



onions or shallots

Chinese chives

chili (dried or fresh)


I think garlic is essential because garlic is essential in all most savoury dishes but if you really hate garlic, feel free to leave it out. My go-to combination is garlic, ginger, chives and chili.

flavourings (include any or all, according to your tastes)

salt and pepper

soy sauce or tamari

fish sauce (just a drizzle)

sesame oil (just a drizzle)

This also depends on your tastes – I usually add soy sauce, salt, pepper and sesame oil.

extras (some ideas)


shredded carrots

shredded cabbage

chopped kimchi

Shitaake mushrooms are a great addition, especially for veggie dumplings.

dumpling wrappers

dipping sauce 

light Soy Sauce

rice vinegar

sesame oil

finely sliced ginger

sugar (optional)

Combine 2 parts soy sauce to 1 part vinegar, a splash of sesame oil and some finely sliced ginger. Add sugar to your taste.


1. Combine all your ingredients until well mixed. Chill the mixture for about and hour or up to overnight to let the flavours meld together.

Tip: Cook a small meatball of your filling in a pan before you start making the dumplings. This allows you to taste the filling and add anything if necessary. Keep in mind these will be eaten with a salty dipping sauce.

2. Depending on the size of dumpling wrapper, use about 1-2 teaspoons of filling per dumpling. Any more and you may have trouble closing the dumpling or they may explode while cooking. Use water to seal the dumplings. They need not be pretty, you just want to ensure all open ends are sealed so the juicy filling doesn’t leak out.

3. Cook the dumplings:

Steam-fry method: Add 1-2 tsp of oil in a frying pan and when the oil is hot, lay the dumplings down in a single layer and let them sit for 1 minute. Then, add enough water so the dumplings are about 1 cm submerged. Cover and let the dumplings steam on low heat for about 5-6 minutes. Once cooked, remove the lid and turn up the heat so the remaining water evaporates. Let the dumplings sit in the pan for 2-3 more minutes to allow a crispy bottom to form. Serve immediately with the dipping sauce.

You can also steam the dumplings or boil them in a soup.


To freeze the dumplings, form them and lay them in a single layer on plate or baking tray. Freeze for about 30 minutes until the outside of the dumplings is frozen and dry. Place the dumplings into an air tight freezer bag and store for up to 3 months. When cooking from frozen, cook for about 10 minutes.

If you don’t want to making the dipping sauce, use any store bought dipping sauce (sweet chili, sriracha, ponzu).

Of course, I haven’t listed all the possibilities you can add to dumplings so experiment with different ingredients. You do you!

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