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Pork Dumplings Jiao Zi with Napa Cabbage

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Pork Jiao Zi {Dumplings} with Napa Cabbage

Pork Dumplings Jiao Zi with napa cabbage is among the most well-liked classic food in China’s Northern Area. They feature homemade dumpling wrappers filled with juicy and tasty pork fillings mixed with nap cabbage. The wrappers are soft but have a firm bite texture. So naturally delicious and satisfying.

Pork Dumplings Jiao Zi with Napa Cabbage
Pork Jiao Zi Dumplings with Napa Cabbage

Dumplings Jiao Zi Fun Facts

What is Dumplings Jiao Zi?

Jiao Zi {饺子} refer to freshly boiled dumplings. They feature soft but firm bite textured dumpling wrappers, made of all-purpose flour, filled with varieties of fillings.

As traditional celebratory food in Northern China, Pork Jiao Zi with Cabbage was reserved for Chinese New Year or other special associations. This is especially true during the old time when food and resources were scarce.

What are Chinese dumplings usually filled with?

Pork, usually combined with chopped vegetables, by far is the most popular filling choice traditionally in northern China. Nappa cabbage, celery, cilantro, chives, and dill are most common vegetables seen in Dumplings Jiao Zi.

Freshly wrapped Jiao Zi Dumplings using homemade dumpling wrappers
Freshly wrapped Jiao Zi Dumplings using homemade dumpling wrappers

Seafood is another regular filling choice. For instance, coastal areas in Northeastern China use shark meat for dumplings. The iconic “Three Deliciousness”, or “San Xian {三鲜} Dumplings Jiao Zi features pork and shrimp mixed with chopped chives.

During modern time after chicken industry took off, chicken has become a popular choice of dumpling filling too.

Beef and lamb are primary dumpling filings in Northwestern China. However, people rarely boil beef or lamb dumplings. Instead, they make pan fried dumplings or Guo Tie {锅贴 potstickers}. Beef Dumplings Guo Tie is a popular pan fried dumplings.

How to serve Chinese Dumplings Jiao Zi?

Serve the dumplings Jiao Zi hot with Zhenjiang Vinegar as a dipping sauce. It is also a tradition to have a bowl of Dumpling Jiao Zi Soup from the water used to boil the dumplings. As the old saying states, “The Original Soup Digest {Hua 化 } Original Food” {原汤化原食}.

Pork Jiao Zi Dumplings with Napa Cabbage
Pork Dumplings Jiao Zi with Napa Cabbage

How to Make Perfectly tasty and healthy Pork Dumplings Jiao Zi with Napa Cabbage?

First thing first is to use Homemade Dumpling Wrappers if you can

Freshly homemade wrappers are excellent for Jiao Zi dumplings. Let the dough rest for 1 hour if possible for softer, tastier dumpling wrappers. See here for a detailed step-by-step recipe.

See for the store-bought substitute.

Homemade Dumpling Wrappers
Homemade Dumpling Wrappers

Traditional Dumplings Jiao Zi has a substantial thickness. Not overly thick, but substantial for a satisfying firm-bite. I use setting 3 (medium) for my Kitchen Aid Pasta Roller.

Tip No. 2 is to use homemade ground pork if you can

Undoubtedly, quality ground pork is the key to a tasty pork dumpling. I usually grind my ground pork at home using a combination of pork belly and pork shoulder or butt. Check it out here for more details.

It worth mentioning that if your meat grinder has two settings, coarse vs. fine, use coarse for grinding meat. This is because meat preferably needs to maintain the “meaty” form for the maximum level of deliciousness. Exact the same reason old-fashioned way people use a cleaver to chop meat on a thick cutting board

Home Ground Pork for juicy delicious dumpling fillings, meatballs and more
Home Ground Pork for juicy delicious dumpling fillings, meatballs and more

Tip No.3 is to marinate the pork filling properly

Simple wholesome ingredients in this recipe do an astonishing job tenderizing and flavor the pork. Chinese traditional cooking condiments Shaoxing wine, soy sauce, and a pinch of Zhenjiang vinegar work perfectly together to season the ground pork. A pinch of Himalayan pink salt, coriander seeds powder and star anise powder elevate the flavor to a new level. Egg and arrowroot flour help bind the pork filling together.

Marinated Pork Fillings for Dumplings and Buns

I usually get organic whole coriander seeds and then use a spice grinder to turn them into powder.

Tip No.4 is to stir-fry thin cabbage slices first before mixing with the pork

Use the top half cabbage, which is the leafy part if you can. Chop cabbage leaves into small pieces. Stir-fry with a bit of oil and a pinch of salt until they wilt, about 2 minutes. Wait about 10 minutes for them to cool down and then add to the pork filling. Mix and fold into the pork filling.

Combine stir fried cabbage and pork for Dumplling Filling

I always include the additional juice coming out of the cabbage during the stir-fry to the filling. This is the secret behind juicy dumpling filling. This might make the filling seem watery, keep churning the pork in the same direction using a wooden spatula to let the pork absorb the juice.

Napa Cabbage and Pork Filling for Dumplings

Tip No.5 is to Wrap Dumplings Jiao Zi using easy traditional way

There are many ways of wrapping dumplings. See here for a Northern China classic style done in a simplified easy-to-follow way.

Wrap Jiao Zi Easy Classic Way
Wrap Dumplings Jiao Zi Easy Classic Way

Last but not least is to Cook the Pork Dumplings Jiao Zi Properly

In a nutshell, we need to cook dumplings relatively fast so that the wrappers remain refreshing, firm bite texture. This means we use a large amount of boiling water to cook dumplings in small batches.

Fill a large stockpot (at least 8 Qt.) with 75% water and bring it to a boil. Once the water reaches the boiling point, carefully add dumplings into the pot. Do not over-crowd the pot, a maximum of 20 dumplings at one time. This way, the dumplings can cook faster to avoid wrappers become soggy.

Immediately stir gently and touching the bottom of the pot using a bamboo spatula with a long handle to make sure Jiao Zi Dumplings are not sticking to the bottom of the pot. Cover the pot with the lid and wait for it to reach the boil again, about 1-2 minutes.

When it does, pour a cup of tap water into the pot and cover the lid and wait for it to reach boil again. Repeat this for another 3 times.

By now, all Jiao Zi dumplings are floating to the surface and look plump. Turn off the heat and remove the Jiao Zi from the pot using a spider skimmer and place them onto a plate.

Freshly Boiled Jiao Zi
Freshly Boiled Jiao Zi

Immediately stir and turn the dumplings to let the steam off so that they do not stick to each other or get soggy.

A spider skimmer is a very handy tool to fetch boiled food from the pot. We re-use the same pot of boiling water to cook all the dumplings.

Pork Jiao Zi {Dumplings} with Napa Cabbage

Pork Dumplings Jiao Zi with Napa Cabbage {猪肉白菜饺子}

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

Pork Dumplings Jiao Zi with napa cabbage is among the most well-liked classic food in China’s Northern Area. It features juicy and tasty pork fillings mixed with nap cabbage and homemade dumpling wrappers that are soft but have a firm bite texture. So naturally delicious and satisfying.

Ingredients

For Homemade Jiao Zi Dumpling Wrappers:

  • 495 g all-purpose flour, organic, about 3 cups {additional 1/2 cup for dusting and coating the dough}
  • 25 g avocado oil, about 1.5 tbsp
  • 225 g room temperature water, a little under 1 cup
  • 1/8 tsp Himalayan pink salt

For Marinating the Pork:

  • 1 lb ground pork, preferably home ground
  • 2 tbsp Shaoxing wine
  • 4 tbsp light soy sauce (1/4 cup)
  • 1/2 tbsp Zhenjiang vinegar
  • 1 large cage-free egg
  • 1 tbsp arrowroot flour or other types of starch
  • 1/2 tsp Himalayan pink salt
  • 1/2 tsp cane sugar, organic unrefined preferred
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp coriander seeds, freshly ground
  • 1/2 tsp ginger powder, or finely minced fresh ginger
  • 2 stalks of green onion, finely chopped

For Stir-Fried Cabbage

  • 1 lb Napa cabbage leaves, the top leafy part of a regular-sized cabbage, chopped into small pieces
  • 1/4 tsp Himalayan pink salt
  • 1 tsp avocado oil

For Cooking Jiao Zi Dumplings:

  • One large stockpot (8 Qt.) filled with 75% water
  • Additional 3 quarts for re-fill

Instructions

Gather All Ingredients:

Pork Jiao Zi Ingredients

For Homemade Jiao Zi Wrappers:

See here for a detailed step-by-step recipe for homemade dumpling wrappers.

For the patches left behind after cutting the round shape dumpling wrappers, press them together and re-knead into a dough and re-use.
Homemade Jiao Zi Wrappers

For Marinating the Pork:

Add everything under "For Marinating the Pork" into a big mixng bowl, break down the pork using a wooden spatula first and then mix everything togetehr using a wooden spatula.

Once the filling is loosely combined, turn the wooden spatula switfly in the same direction until everything is binding together into a paste. Use a mini silicone spatula to scrape off the wall of the mixing bowl.

Prep Napa cabbage:

Separate napa cabbage leaves, wash, rinse and air dry them.

Chop them into small pieces.
Chopped Napa Cabbage Leaves

Turn the heat to medium-high, heat a wok for 1 minute. Spray about 1/2 tsp canola oil using a homemade oil sprayer, add chopped napa cabbage, stir-fry till the leaves are wilt, about 2 minutes
Stir-Fry Napa Cabbage Leaves

Add cabbage along with the juice coming out of napa cabbage during the stir-fry to the pork filling.
Mix Gently Stir-Fried Napa Cabbage with Pork Filling Base

Fold the Napa cabbage into the pork. If the filling appears to be too watery, turn the wooden spatula in the same direction for the pork to absorb the juice.
Pork Jiao Zi With Napa Cabbage Fillings

For Wrapping Jiao Zi {Dumplings}:

Read here on how to wrap Jiao Zi Dumplings northern China classic style via a simplified way easy-to-follow tutorial.
Freshly Wrapped Jiao Zi

For Cooking Jiao Zi {Dumplings}:

Turn the heat to medium-high. Fill a large stockpot (at least 8 Qt. capacity) with 75% of water, bring it to a boil.

Add 20 Jiao Zi dumplings into the pot, immediately stir gently to separate them. Use a bamboo spatula with a long handle to scape across the bottom of the pot too to ensure Jiao Zi is not sticking to the bottom either.

Cover the lid and wait for the pot to reach a boil again. When it does and large foams are rising up, remove the lid and pour in a cup of tap water, gently stir and cover the lid and wait for it to reach a boil again.

Repeat this another 3 times. By now, Jiao Zi is all floating to the surface and look plump.
Freshly Boiled Jiao Zi

Remove Jiao Zi from the pot using a spider skimmer and place them onto a large plate.

Immediately stir and turn Jiao Zi to let steam out so that they do not stick to each other or get soggy.

Reuse the water in the pot to cook the rest of the dumplings.

For Serving Jiao Zi {Dumplings}:

Serve Jiao Zi hot with Zhenjiang vinegar as a dipping sauce. It is also a custom to have a bowl of Jiao Zi soup from the water boiling the dumplings. Enjoy a super naturally delicious pork Jiao Zi Dumpling with Napa Cabbage.
Pork Jiao Zi Dumplings with Napa Cabbage

Notes

  • This recipe can approximately make 60 dumplings.
  • You can cook 20 dumplings max at a time. Do do overcrowd the pot.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 servings Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 331Total Fat: 21gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 102mgSodium: 1117mgCarbohydrates: 11gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 23g

Nutrition calculation is provided by Nutritionix to the best knowledge per ingredients description and isn't always accurate.

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