According to my husband…

Photography by Matt Hocking

Photography by Matt Hocking

How do you hand shape over 150 shumai dumplings?

Step 1: Suggest to your friends that making dumplings by hand would be a fun way to spend time together. If they need convincing, tell them you saw it on Pinterest.

Step 2: Buy the ingredients, make the filling and shape the first three or four dumplings. It is particularly important that you do all the work up to this point.

Step 3:  Now show your friends how to do it. “See, it’s not that hard. This is fun!”

Step 4: Take an important phone call, rearrange your sock drawer, do your taxes, or anything else you’ve been avoiding.

Step 5: Show back up as the last few dumplings are being completed and express your readiness to jump back in! When they say they’re all done, hand someone your phone to get some group pics. Post them online so everyone can see how much fun you had together that day. Remember the hashtags #hardwork #totallyworthit.

Step 6: Steam and eat the dumplings.

According to my husband Jason this is an accurate account of the first time we made dumplings. However, the way I remember it, Step 4 – the important phone call? –  was actually me moving on to prepare some of the 800 other hors d’oeuvres we served that night.

What ever really happened that day, they were delicious. So much better than frozen or take-out. And good enough that Jason agrees to make them again, and again and again. Enjoy!

Asian Pear Pork Dumplings

Makes 60-75 dumplings

Asian pears are harvested locally in the Mid-Atlantic in early fall. Their crisp texture and sweet, spiced flavor add nice crunch and depth of flavor to these dumplings.


  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten
  • 2 tbs minced ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbs soy sauce
  • 1 tbs toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tsp maple or brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup minced garlic or common chives
  • 1 tbs corn starch
  • 1 1/4 lbs ground pork
  • 2 Asian pears, cut in 1/4” dice
  • 2 pkg gyoza skins – 3.5” round wonton wrappers*

For sauce:

  • 1 tbs minced ginger
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 4 tbs soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar

*Or you can cut square wonton wrappers with a round biscuit cutter.


  • Photography by Matt Hocking

    Photography by Matt Hocking

    In a medium bowl, whisk together egg white, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil, salt, sugar, garlic chives and corn starch.

  • Add ground pork and Asian pear and mix together until well incorporated.
  • To test filling, fry a small patty of filling and taste. Add additional salt for flavor, soy for depth, or sugar to bring out the Asian pear, as needed.
  • Take one wrapper from stack. Keep remaining skins/wrappers covered with a barely damp towel. Dip your finger in a bowl of cold water and run it around the edge of the wrapper. Turn the wrapper over and wet the other edge.
  • Place a generous tsp of filling in the middle of the moistened wrapper. Fold the sides of the wrapper up around the meat, pleating as you go. Repeat until you run out of skins or filling.
  • Line a steamer basket with parchment and poke a few holes to allow steam to rise through. Place dumplings in the steamer basket and place basket over simmering water until dumplings are cooked through, about 10-15 minutes. The pork may still look pink when cooked. You can check with a food thermometer. The safe temperature for ground meats is 160.
  • While dumplings cook, make sauce: Mix ginger, garlic, soy sauce, 1/4 cup rice vinegar, 1 tsp sugar and 1/4 cup water together.

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