Chinese Crystal dumplings got their name from the beautiful translucent look of the dumpling wrappers. Delightfully chewy and delicate in flavor, you’ll want to learn how to make this Cantonese dim sum favorite at home.
Prep Time3 hourshrs45 minutesmins
Cook Time15 minutesmins
Total Time4 hourshrs
Course: Dim Sum
For the crystal dumpling skins:
14tablespoonswheat starch(14 tablespoons = 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons)
In a bowl, whisk together the wheat starch, tapioca starch, and cornstarch.
Add exactly 1¼ cups of water to a medium pot along with the vegetable oil. Cover and bring to a boil. The second it comes to a boil, immediately remove it from the heat (you don’t want too much of it to evaporate away).
Immediately add about a third of the starch mixture to the just-boiled water in the pot, and stir vigorously with a stiff rubber spatula or wooden spoon. The starch will begin to form both opaque and translucent lumps. Add another third of the starch mixture and mix it for 1 minute until you get a paste-like consistency. Finally, add the rest of the starch and mix for 2 minutes until it forms a shaggy dough. It will look dry, with some starch still not mixed in. Cover the pot tightly, and rest the dough for 5 minutes.
Lightly dust a clean, dry work surface with some cornstarch. Uncover the pot and begin kneading the dough with the rubber spatula, folding it over repeatedly for 3 minutes. Dust your hands with cornstarch and knead the dough by hand on the work surface until it is smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. The dough should now be smooth, pliable, and relatively stretchy.
Roll the dough into a log about 1½ inches thick and 15 inches long, dusting the work surface lightly with additional cornstarch as needed.
Divide the dough into about 36 pieces, each about 12-14g (a digital scale helps!). Keep the dough pieces from sticking using a light dusting of cornstarch, and cover them with a large overturned bowl while you make the filling.
Make the filling:
Soak the dried shiitake mushrooms in hot water for about 2 hours to rehydrate. Finely dice them. Fill a wok or medium pot about halfway with water, and bring to a boil. Also prepare an ice bath.
Add the spinach and/or leafy greens to the boiling water, and stir for 15-30 seconds until just wilted. Use a Chinese spider or metal strainer to transfer the blanched greens to the ice water bath. Then use the strainer to remove the greens from the ice bath, squeeze the leaves dry, and set aside on a cutting board.
Next, add the diced carrots and mushrooms to the boiling water, and stir for 1 minute. Transfer to the ice water bath.
Finely chop the cooled spinach greens and put them in a bowl along with the drained carrots and mushrooms. Add the pork, Shaoxing wine, cornstarch, salt, sugar, white pepper, sesame oil, oyster sauce, and vegetable oil. Mix until well combined.
Assemble the dumplings:
Dust a rolling pin with cornstarch. On a surface lightly dusted with cornstarch, roll each piece of dough out into a round disc about 3 to 3½ inches in diameter.
Add about 1 tablespoon of filling (about 14g) to the center of the wrapper. You can either wrap it like a traditional dumpling or create a triangle or four-sided shape (see photos). Continue assembling until you’ve used all the wrappers and filling.
Cook the dumplings:
Place the dumplings in a bamboo steamer lined with perforated parchment paper, and steam the dumplings over boiling water at medium-high heat for about 6 minutes, until translucent. Serve these crystal dumplings immediately with some hot chili oil on the side!
Recipe makes 36 dumplings (3 dozen), about 6 servings if a serving consists of 6 dumplings. Nutrition info is for 6 dumplings. Dumplings can be assembled ahead and refrigerated for up to 24 hours, or frozen on a sheet pan (with the dumplings spaced apart and covered) until solid, and then transferred to an airtight container or freezer bags. To cook from frozen, do not thaw, simply steam for an additional 1-2 minutes.