Most of you probably just received your Chinese New Year card, complete with a dumpling recipe, but you may still be intimidated by the recipe. To prevent further panic and give y'all one less excuse to make them, here's a step-by-step photo guide to making your own Chinese dumplings.
Step 1: Put 2 cups of flour into a bowl. Slowly add a little cold water and mix with your hands. When the dough is tough, dense, and compact, divide your dough into three or four small loaves. Cover with plastic and set aside.
Step 2: Mix 1 lb. ground beef or pork with minced green onion and garlic and any other minced veggies you want to add. Cabbage, leeks, and carrots all go well. Add 1 tsp. chicken bouillon powder, 1 tsp. sugar, and 1 tsp. soy sauce to this mix and set aside.
Step 3: Make a hole in the center of the loaf with your finger and slowly stretch the dough until there's a big circle in the middle of the dough, like a bagel. Then, sever the bagel, making one long string of dough. Pinch or cut off little marble-sized pieces of dough from this string. This part just helps with uniformity, making all the dumplings the same size, but you could just as easily pinch off the dough without stretching it first.
Step 4: Roll the pieces in your hands until they are smooth balls, squashing them slightly before moving onto the next one. Repeat this process until you have lots of slightly-flattened discs.
Step 5: Holding onto one edge of the dough circle, rotate the dough as you use a rolling pin to widen the circle to about 2 1/2 to 3 inches in diameter, or roughly the same size as your palm. The idea is to widen the circle from the edges only, leaving the center thicker than the rest of the dumpling.
Step 6: Fill the dough with the meat mixture, being careful not to overfill it. About 1-2 tsp. should do it.
Step 7: Fold the two edges of the circle together at the top, pinching it shut. Then, pinch the sides shut, slightly bending them inward so the dumpling has a curved shape and will sit on its own. If you're feeling creative, you can try making a scallop design in the dumpling. The important thing is to make sure that the dumpling is completely closed so that no filling falls out: the beautification technique is up to you.
Step 8: Boil a big pot of water and drop the dumplings in. After about ten minutes of cooking, the dumplings should float to the top, signaling their "doneness." Don't be afraid to taste one to make sure they are cooked all the way through. Alternatively, you can steam them for the same amount of time, which makes for a drier dumpling.
Step 9: Serve the dumplings with a dipping sauce of soy sauce, dark vinegar, sesame oil, and minced garlic. You can freeze any extra dumplings you have for use at a later time.