The “Old Edge” dumplings are well known snacks in China, originating in Shenyang which has a long history of Old Edge dumplings.
Dating back 180 years these traditional Chinese snacks, have a long-standing reputation. Their sustained popularity is due to the great care taken to make them, and their unique, fresh taste of the filling and wrappers combined. And once you taste them you will understand.
Shenyang “Old Edge” dumplings of the Northeast are the pride of the food industry with a history being traced as far back as the Qing dynasty light years.
The “Old Edge” dumplings founder Fusheng Bian (meaning ‘edge’ in English) in Renqiu, Hebei, after many battles opened a dumpling store in Shenyang. Three successful generations later the Old Edge Dumplings store had become a local industry leader.
In 1940 the Old Edge Dumplings store moved north to the most lively market in Shenyang, bringing them greater fame. If it stopped there, it would have made an inspiring self-made story, but there’s more.
In 1956, the Store made some changed the business structure to a “public-private joint venture” and keeping Lin Bian as the Store manager.
In September 1966, the “Old Edge” Dumpling Store became a state-owned enterprise, and the family business no longer had any legal standing.
In 2003, several state-owned enterprises with the “Old Edge” trademark were sold by the government at the price of 1 yuan, with the condition that the purchasers would bear the staffing expenses. Thus a sad ending to a great family business legacy. However, the dumplings still live on, and today I am going to teach you how to make them.
That’s the history, now to the food. The unique charm of the Old Edge dumplings is in its unique stuffing process. The stuffing in other dumplings was raw and cooked along with the dumpling skin.
“Old Edge” dumplings were made by first cooking the meat mixture in a broth to absorb more flavor. If you can master this, you can also make the same delicious dumplings, even more delicious than the ones you buy. This is not just my opinion, dumplings do take a bit of time to make, and everyone’s will taste different, but it stands to reason that giving time to produce the fullest flavor produces a far superior dumpling.
Commercial enterprises are all about keeping costs down from the ingredients to the manual process. Although restaurant dumplings look appetizing, customers are soon disappointed at the lack of flavor. You are sure to get better satisfaction with homemade Old Edge dumplings, and your family will thank you!
The list of ingredients required for the “Old edge” dumplings is as follows (about 36):
Dumpling Filling Ingredients:
- 500 g pork
- Choose a nicely marbled piece (lean and fatty), or you can also use 400 grams of meat +100 grams of fat.
10 g ginger finely chopped
- 20 ml dark soy sauce
- 20 g noodle paste
- pinch of pepper, preferably fresh ground
- 100 ml pepper aniseed water made with 2 star anise, 1 grams of pepper soaked in 100 ml of boiling water.
- 10 ml cooking wine
- 200 g soup stock jelly (bone broth – instructions to make this are below)
- 40 g green onion
- 100 g Chinese cabbage: 100 grams, here I use the middle leaves, do not use the outer green old leaves or the yellow
- cabbage heart
- pinch salt
- 5 ml sesame oil
- 10 ml peanut oil
Dumpling Wrapper Ingredients:
- 250 g high gluten flour
- 125 g hot water
- 1 teaspoon lard
The first step is to prepare the stuffing for the dumplings. To create the most delicious dumpling stuffing it is best to chop the meat yourself, instead of buying ground meat from the supermarket.
I use pork with a decent amount of fat on it. Make sure your knife is very sharp (sharpen if necessary) and cut the meat into thick slices, and then into 0.5 cm cubes. Slicing meat with fat in it can be difficult, so the knife must be very sharp.
Another tip is to put the meat into the freezer first for about 3 hours harden it up. The other alternative is to use 400 g of lean pork and 100 g pork fat so they can be cut up separately and combined afterwards.
Gather the other ingredients for the stuffing.
The secret to full flavored dumplings is the bone broth. Here I have used my own bone broth which I prepared in advance. To make the broth put the usual collection of pork, chicken, pigskin and pig bones into a deep pot and add enough cold water to cover.
Cook on low. Remove any scum floating on the surface and when it has stopped forming add the following ingredients: chopped onions, 1 black cardamom pod, 2 g pepper, 5 star anise, 5 bay leaves, a few slices of ginger. Cover and simmer 4- 6 hours so that the protein from the bones fully exudes into the water.
After it is cooked, strain and refrigerate. The broth should have a jelly like consistency.
Now we can mix the stuffing. Take a relatively deep non-stick pan, heat slightly and pour in a little peanut oil. Add the ginger and gently stir fry a few times.
Add in the chopped pork, cooking wine, dark soy sauce and noodle paste and stir fry to combine evenly.
Strain the pepper aniseed water into the pot and stir well.
Now it’s time to add the bone broth. As it melts, it will considerably increase the volume of stuffing and make it liquid, but don’t worry. Simmer on low until the mixture reduces, stirring periodically to prevent the surface meat drying out.
Once the liquid has reduced, take the pot off the heat and transfer the mixture to a bowl. Place this bowl into cold water to it cool down. Cover with plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator while you make the dumpling wrappers.
Now you might be tempted to eat the mixture before it goes into the dumplings, like my husband who could not resist a little sampling.
“Mmm that taste is to die for! But no sampling, please! I guarantee the mixture is yummier in the dumplings”.
I use cabbage and green onions in the stuffing. Take about 4-5 of the cabbage’s middle leaves (not the outermost old leaves, nor the cabbage heart) to make up the 100 g and chop very finely. Do not throw away the cabbage heart as you can use it to make vinegar cabbage.
Add a pinch of salt to the cabbage leaves and then rinse in a colander.
Squeeze the excess moisture out with your hands. Mix in the finely chopped green onions.
The second step is to prepare the dumpling skin dough. Add 250 g of high-gluten flour to a large bowl. In a microwave safe bowl, heat 125 ml of water to 80 degrees Celsius in the microwave. Stir in the lard until the water and lard are combined and then add to the flour. Stir quickly to combine.
Mix for about 15 minutes to get a nice smooth and uniform dough texture. Roll into a log shape and wrap in plastic wrap 20 minutes.
The third step is here. While you are waiting for the dough to rest, grease the bottom of the stainless-steel steamer with a little peanut oil.
Add the cabbage mixture to the cooked meat and simmer until the cabbage has wilted. Add salt to taste if you like. And I’m sure you will think it tastes pretty good.
The fourth step is to make the dumpling skins. Divide the dough into four equal parts, and shape each into a log about 2cm in diameter.
Slice each log into 8 pieces making a total of 36 pieces.
Roll them into balls and flatten with your palm. Put them in an air tight container while you roll each of them out to prevent drying.
Roll each piece into a thin 9 cm round.
Place the filling along the middle in an oblong shape. There are many ways to fold dumplings, more than 100 different ways, in fact, varying not just in shape but color also. I will teach you a standard method that you have seen often. First pinch folds around ¾ of the edge of the dumpling skin, then pinch the remaining part against this folded edge.
Put the wrapped dumplings into the steamer, being careful not to put them too close, so they won’t stick together.
Steam for 5 minutes, and serve. This method keeps the juices in, producing soft, juicy dumplings, slightly chewy and delectable to bite into!
Aren’t your fingers just waiting to get hold of these dumplings? I wish you success!