These Northern Chinese lamb dumplings or dim sum are traditionally made for Lunar New Year. Steamed to release the yummy broth, then lightly fried they are absolutely irresistible and go down a treat.
Chinese Lamb Dumpling Recipe
Traditionally, these lamb dumplings are made by whole families on Chinese for Lunar New Year and eaten just after midnight. In Chinese culture, dumplings signify wealth so many consider them a lucky food for the festivities. In the Northern provinces, they are eaten all year round, hence why their name is attributed to that region.
The most common stuffing in Chinese dumplings would have to be pork. A mixture of pork and prawn popular in dim sum. However, lamb used in the North can be a delicious and moreish alternative. A mixture of cumin, coriander and black pepper adds depth and warmth to the flavour of the filling. They are truly delicious.
For ease of preparation, use store-bought wonton wrappers. The pastry comes ready-rolled and is easy to work with. Most grocers nowadays stock them. Or you can choose to make your own using this dough recipe.
You can use regular cabbage, shredded finely, but wombok (or Chinese cabbage) is more of an authentic choice for the filling. Use any leftover to make a tasty slaw.
I love how these Chinese lamb dumplings are a communal affair. We, too, think that making a batch of these dumplings is a nice way to spend some family time any day of the year.
Now I am not the biggest fan of lamb so when I say these are super tasty, it means they really are.
If you prefer a gluten-free lamb dumpling and dim sum, I have provided such dumpling skin recipe in The Wholesome Cook cookbook.
Northern Chinese Lamb Dumplings (饺子)
For the Northern Chinese Lamb Dumplings:
- 1 (30 pieces) packet gow gee wrappers
For the Northern Chinese Lamb Dumpling filling:
- 500 g lamb mince
- 1/2 red onion diced finely
- 100 g wombok (Chinese cabbage) shredded finely
- 20 g garlic chives chopped finely
- 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp cumin seeds ground
- 1/2 tsp coriander seeds ground
- 1/4 tsp black pepper ground
- 3 tbsp peanut oil + extra
- 4 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 spring onion chopped
- 1 slice ginger julienned
To make Northern Chinese Lamb Dumpling filling:
- 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.
- 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.
- Transfer to your mixing bowl.
- Add garlic chives, Worcestershire sauce, ground cumin and coriander seeds and black pepper. Mix well.
- Add mince and using your hands mix the filling until well combined.
To make Northern Chinese Lamb Dumplings:
- Take a heaped teaspoon of the filling and place in the middle of the gow gee pastry round.
- Brush the inside edges of the pastry with a little water to help them stick.
- Fold the pastry in half and stick edges together.
- 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.
- Set aside and repeat with the rest of the dumplings.
To cook Northern Chinese Lamb Dumplings:
- 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.
- Place 4-5 dumplings in a bamboo steamer lined with baking paper and set over a pot of boiling water.
- Steam for 8 minutes – just make sure to fill up the pot to about half way after every 3 batches.
- 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.
- Cook until they are lightly browned and crisp on the bottom.
- 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.