Shandong Pork and Fish Dumplings are a staple dish in Northern Chinese New Year’s Eve meals and hold a special place in the hearts of families. Made with mackerel and other delicious fillings like sour cabbage and scallions, these dumplings are a must-try for anyone looking to experience the authentic taste of Chinese cuisine.
Different Than One Might Have Anticipated
Despite the unusual combination of pork and fish, the resulting dumplings are surprisingly mild in flavor and texture, thanks to the mackerel.
Although these Pork and Fish Dumplings are typical in Shandong, we (and perhaps you) are just learning about them. These dumplings were put through a rigorous taste test by the experts at TWOL, so you can eat them confidently.
By adjusting the proportions of the pork, fish, chives, and other vegetables in this dumpling recipe, you can create an infinite number of delicious dumplings and wonton fillings.
For the dumpling dough:
- 6 cups of all-purpose flour
- 2 cups of water
For the dumpling filling:
- 2½ pounds of mackerel
- 12 ounces of ground pork
- 3 tablespoons of light soy sauce
- 1¼ cup of cold water
- 3 tablespoons of finely minced ginger
- 3 ounces of finely chopped Chinese garlic chives
- 1½ teaspoons of salt
- ½ teaspoon of white pepper
- ¼ teaspoon of ground
- 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons of sesame oil
- ¼ cup of minced scallions
- Sichuan peppercorns
- ½ teaspoon of sugar
- ¼ cup of Shaoxing wine
For the dipping sauce:
- 2 cloves of garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon of water
- ½ teaspoon of homemade chili oil
- 1 tablespoon of light soy sauce
- Get rolling on the dumpling dough first. Put the all-purpose flour into the mixer’s bowl. Slowly add the water while the mixer is on low speed. Turn on the mixer and keep going until the dough forms a ball. As a minimum, you should drink 2 cups of water. In humid climates, you might not require as much water as in a dry climate or season (i.e., winter).
- The dough’s final texture should be soft and pliable without being sticky or wet. Cover the dough with an inverted bowl or plate and let it rest for an hour on the counter. This will allow the flour to absorb more moisture, resulting in a smoother, more manageable dough. Make the filling while the dough rises.
- Use the spoon to scrape the fish meat off the tough membrane, a little at a time. Roughly dice the fish (no need to make it into a paste-like texture at this stage). Combine the fish with the rest of the filling ingredients in a large mixing bowl. For about 5 minutes, whip the filling in one direction using chopsticks or a wooden spoon until it becomes sticky and gooey. Marinate for 15 minutes in the fridge, covered.
- We can now start putting together the dumplings. After letting the dough rest, divide it into eighths. Keep the remaining dough covered to keep it from drying out while you use one of the smaller pieces. Roll the small piece of dough into a thick cylinder on a clean, lightly floured surface. You can use a kitchen scale to measure out 10-gram increments after you’ve cut up the cylinder. Now, working with one piece at a time, roll the dough out from the outer edge to the center using a small rolling pin and a circular motion. The finished product is a wrapper for dumplings with a diameter of three inches, thin at the edges and slightly thicker in the middle.
- Fold the wrapper half, then add about a tablespoon of filling to the center. Place your thumb and index finger on either side of the dumpling and hold it firmly (this is a two-handed operation). Then, press the two sides of the wrappers together firmly but gently. At the same time, bring your wrists together and press the filling down slightly. As the saying goes, “practice makes perfect.” Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper and arrange the dumplings on it.
- Stop making dumplings for a moment and try one before continuing. Just as you’re about to start putting the dumplings together, bring a small pot of water to a boil. Cook a couple of test dumplings in boiling water, following the cooking instructions below. Before continuing with the rest of the batch, taste a little and see if the seasoning needs to be changed. For instance, you could request more Shaoxing wine, vinegar, ginger, or soy sauce.
- Put the dipping sauce in a small bowl before cooking the dumplings.
- Since the filling is somewhat wet, the dumplings will lose their shape if they are cooked in large batches and allowed to sit for too long before being served.
- To prepare a large soup, fill a large soup pot with water halfway. Toss it in the microwave and microwave it until it boils. The dumplings should be added to the pot slowly while the water is stirred to prevent them from sticking. Do not cover the pan.
- Boil the water again before adding another cup of cold water to end the boiling. Keep repeating step 3 until the water in the pot is boiling and the dumplings are rising to the surface. The dumplings are ready to eat when the water boils three times after cold water has been added.
- Take them out with a strainer or slotted spoon and immediately dive into the dipping sauce. Make as many extra servings as you like!