We’ve decided to add these Chinese pork and celery dumplings (with sweet carrots) to our regular dumpling rotation.
American and Western ears may crinkle at the thought of pork and celery dumplings, but in China, they are a common and beloved combination.
Because of this recipe, you don’t have to go out of your way to find exotic Chinese vegetables like napa cabbage, bok choy, or shepherd’s purse. Celery and carrots are in everyone’s pantry.
What’s Chinese Celery?
The celery flavor in Chinese celery, sometimes called leaf celery, is more pronounced than in conventional celery. Thinner and less crunchy than regular celery, fibrous celery has more leaves and a different texture than its ordinary counterpart.
However, normal celery will work just as well in this recipe as the Chinese celery traditionally used in pork and celery dumplings in China.
It should be finely diced to ensure that it mixes thoroughly with the rest of the filling.
Why add Carrots?
Those who have sampled our award-winning carrot ginger pork buns may answer that question without hesitation. The sweetness of carrots complements the savory celery and spicy minced ginger in fillings for dumplings and buns.
Flavor harmony is essential for any dumpling filling!
Homemade Wrapper vs. Store-Bought Wrapper
While homemade dumpling wrappers are recommended, using store-bought wonton or gyoza skins is not a deal-breaker.
This time, I made my wrappers because I ran out and didn’t feel like running to the shop.
As most people do, I had all-purpose flour and water on hand to make dumpling wrappers.
It’s not much more work to create your own, even though mixing the dough and rolling out the wrappers add time to the assembling process. This is especially true if you have the support of close friends or family members.
Alright, let’s talk about the construction of these.
- 4 tbsp. of vegetable oil(divided)
- 1 tbsp. of Sichuan peppercorns (optional)
- 7-8 oz. of Chinese celery
- 1 tsp. of salt
- 2 oz. of carrot (chopped and about 1/3 cup packed)
- 2 scallions (minced)
- 1 tbsp. of ginger (very finely minced)
- 1 1/4 lb. of ground pork
- 2 tsp. of sugar
- 2 tsp. of sesame oil
- 2 tsp. of oyster sauce
- 2 tbsp. of light soy sauce
- 3 tbsp. of Shaoxing wine
- 1/2 cup of water
- 2 packages of dumpling wrappers
For Homemade Dumpling Wrappers:
- 4 cups of all-purpose flour
- 1 1/3 cup of tepid water
Making Dumpling Wrapper Dough (Optional):
- Make the dough first if you want to make your dumpling wrappers from scratch. Flour should be placed in a stand mixer bowl outfitted with a dough hook. Pour the water in slowly while the mixer is on low speed. When a dough forms, knead it for another 8 minutes at a low speed. (Another option is to use a sizable bowl to stir the flour around. To make a dough, add the water to the flour and knead until the mixture is smooth. There should be a 10-minute window for this. Turn over a dish and let the dough rest for an hour.
Making the Filling:
- Muddle 1 teaspoon of salt with the minced celery and use that as the base for your filling. Celery will sweat away excess water if you leave it alone for 30 minutes.
- Put the Sichuan peppercorns (if using) and 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a small skillet or pot. Cook over medium heat; reduce the heat to medium-low as the oil begins to bubble around the peppercorns. Give the oil 10 minutes to infuse. Reduce or eliminate the temperature. If you don’t have Sichuan peppercorns, just heat the oil in a skillet for 5 minutes on medium heat and then set it aside to cool. The flavor of the dumplings will be enhanced by adding this “cooked” oil instead of using raw oil.
- Heat the extra tablespoon of vegetable oil over medium heat in a small saucepan or wok. Carrots need only two minutes in the oil to soften just a bit. Reduce or eliminate the temperature.
- Once the celery has cooled, squeeze off any excess water and add it to the bowl of your stand mixer (or a big mixing bowl) along with the cooked and cooled carrot, minced scallions, minced ginger, ground pork, sugar, sesame oil, oyster sauce, and soy sauce.
- To include the Shaoxing wine and water, start your mixer (with the paddle attachment) on low speed and add the liquids gradually.
- Keep going for another 5–7 minutes on low speed until the ingredients have emulsified, soaked up the liquid, and formed a sticky paste.
- Alternately, you can use a pair of chopsticks to stir in one direction for as long as necessary to achieve an emulsified paste (around 10 minutes). Not mixing the filling long enough can produce a gritty texture and a moist appearance once cooked.
- Using cooled oil, strain the peppercorns before adding them to the filling. Remix for another minute at low speed to incorporate the oil into the mixture. So, that’s what goes inside!
- If you’re using homemade dumpling wrappers, cut the dough into small pieces (each piece should weigh about 15-20g) and roll each piece into a ball in your hands before assembling the dumplings. Roll out the ball into a thin 3 1/2-inch circle on a clean, smooth surface (such as a cutting board or clean tabletop). Fill the center well of the dumplings with roughly 1 spoonful of filling and close with a pleat.
- Moisten the wrapper’s edges and place 1 spoonful of filling in the center if using store-bought dumpling wrappers. You can use more water to ensure a watertight seal if you pleat the dumpling shut.
- Arrange the dumplings, 1/2 inch apart, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. The dumplings can now be individually wrapped and frozen on the tray. Then you can place them in a freezer bag and keep them for up to three months. (You may steam, pan-fry, or boil them straight from the freezer.)