Northern Chinese Lamb Dumplings (饺子)

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If you like the juicy, broth-filled Xiao Long Bao, you will love this Northern Chinese lamb version of the famed dumplings. Steamed to release the yummy broth, then lightly fried they are absolutely irresistible and go down a treat. Gluten-free Dumpling Skin recipe features in  The Wholesome Cook cookbook

Northern Chinese lamb dumplings

While the most common stuffing in Chinese dumplings would have to be pork, or a mixture of pork and prawn popular in wontons, cumin-spiced minced lamb used in the North can be a delicious and moreish alternative. Now I am not the biggest fan of lamb so when I say these are super tasty, it means they really are.

Northern Chinese lamb dumplings

Traditionally, these are made by whole families on New Year’s Eve and eaten just after midnight, but in the Northern provinces they are eaten all year round, hence why their name is attributed to that region. We, too, think that making a batch of these dumplings is a nice way to spend some family time any day of the year.

RELATED:  Gluten-free Dumpling Skin recipe features in  The Wholesome Cook cookbook.

Northern Chinese lamb dumplings

For more healthy living inspiration, including additive-free and gluten-free dumpling skins, check out my debut cookbook, The Wholesome Cook, featuring 180 refined sugar-free recipes all with gluten-free options. Plus detailed additive-free shopping guides, wholefood kitchen tips and my take on sugar, fat, gluten and legumes, soy and dairy. 

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Northern Chinese Lamb Dumplings (饺子)
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 (makes 30)
We used store-bought gow gee wrappers and 3 star lamb mince (17% fat content) which helps keep the meat moist and makes up the nice broth inside the dumpling skin.
For the Northern Chinese Lamb Dumplings:
  • 1 packet gow gee wrappers (30 pieces)
For the Northern Chinese Lamb Dumpling filling:
  • 500g lamb mince
  • ½ red onion, diced finely
  • 100g wombok (Chinese cabbage), shredded finely
  • 20g garlic chives, chopped finely
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds, ground
  • ½ tsp coriander seeds, ground
  • ¼ tsp black pepper, ground
  • 3 tbsp peanut oil + extra
To serve:
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 spring onion, chopped
  • 1 slice of ginger, julienned
To make Northern Chinese Lamb Dumpling filling:
  1. Place onion with 1 tablespoon peanut oil in a small pan and cook on low heat until the onion is soft and translucent. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
  2. To the same pan, add 2 tablespoons peanut oil and shredded wombok. Cook over low heat until the cabbage has wilted and halved in volume.
  3. Transfer to your mixing bowl.
  4. Add garlic chives, Worcestershire sauce, ground cumin and coriander seeds and black pepper. Mix well.
  5. Add mince and using your hands mix the filling until well combined.
To make Northern Chinese Lamb Dumplings:
  1. Take a heaped teaspoon of the filling and place in the middle of the gow gee pastry round.
  2. Brush the inside edges of the pastry with a little water to help them stick.
  3. Fold the pastry in half and stick edges together.
  4. You should end up with a half moon-shaped dumpling. Now, working from one end to another, crimp the pastry seal all the way around.
  5. Set aside and repeat with the rest of the dumplings.
To cook Northern Chinese Lamb Dumplings:
  1. You can cook these in rapidly boiling water for 3-4 minutes, but steaming them in a traditional bamboo steamer is a more delicate process that won't rip the pastry.
  2. Place 4-5 dumplings in a bamboo steamer lined with baking paper and set over a pot of boiling water.
  3. Steam for 8 minutes - just make sure to fill up the pot to about half way after every 3 batches.
  4. When ready, (drain boiled dumplings - no need to do this for steamed) and transfer to a pan set over medium heat, greased with extra peanut oil - they may splatter a little.
  5. Cook until they are lightly browned and crisp on the bottom.
To serve:
  1. Serve hot dumplings with a side of a soy, ginger and spring onion dipping sauce. Leftover dumplings can be reheated in a microwave and re-fried.


Northern Chinese lamb dumplings

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23 Responses to Northern Chinese Lamb Dumplings (饺子)

  1. Love love love dumplings. I must admit I am not a fan of lamb, but I know my boys would love these. They look fantastic and would happily whip these up using pork or veal (or combination of both).

  2. Your dumplings are really a work of art! And the colors of the minced lamb.. the plates you’ve used.. Excellent photography! And a fantastic recipe as well:)

  3. muppy says:

    These look so yummy, l love dumplings 🙂 hope you are well.

  4. Sissi says:

    Martyna, these dumplings look so perfect! I never manage mine so neat and beautiful.
    Lamb is not a very frequent meat in Chinese cookery books nor in restaurants, but I have already heard about the Northern regions cooking it. Thanks for the inspiration.

  5. Michelle says:

    Love dumplings. Love lamb. These look fabulous.

  6. I need to make these. They look great and ground lamb keeps going on sale!

  7. Courtney says:

    They look so pretty! And I kinda like lamb, so I bet I’d love these.

  8. Do you have any left over? I love any kind of dumplings. I’ve never had lamb ones. I tried making my own pork and prawn dumplings once and they worked out wonderfully, but I now have a great appreciation at how long each morsel takes to create!

  9. I adore dumplings and these certainly sound fantastic. Lamb is a great variation here.

  10. afracooking says:

    What a fabulous variation – I have made dumplings before but never with lamb. Must try these one day!

  11. Jonathan says:

    i love the use of lamb. i know i’d love these! fabulous change from the everyday pork or shrimp mince.

  12. Jonathan says:

    excellent use of lamb over the same old pork and shrimp mince! i’ll have to try this!

  13. Tifferss says:

    when does one cook the lamb. You never say that

  14. Purely.. Kay says:

    Just look at those dumplings. I honestly think they’re calling my name right about now lol. So delish! Gotta save this

  15. Thanks for your write up Northern Chinese lamb dumplings (饺子) Wholesome Cook. I haven’t looked at this before. It is often a wonder what you are able find out online.

  16. Kim says:

    I want ot make these for a new year’s party. Will these reheat? If so, how would you reheat them?



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