Chinese Cooking with Kids: Let’s Make Chinese Dumplings

Miss Panda Chinese Making Dumpolings

Chinese New Year:  Lucky Food to Eat

The Chinese New Year’s Eve family reunion dinner is the feast with the most symbolic dishes to carry good luck to the new year.  You can see and enjoy the lucky food during the 15 days of Chinese New Year celebration and the New Year’s Eve day.  Why are these food or dishes considered lucky?  They are auspicious because of their pronunciation or appearance.

Here are the top 10 lucky food you can usually see at the Chinese New Year’s Eve family dinner.

The list is arranged with

English- traditional Chinese characters|simplified Chinese characters
If you only see one set of Chinese characters then the traditional version is used for both traditional and simplified forms.

1.  Fish 魚|鱼  2. Dumplings 餃子|饺子  3. Spring rolls 春捲|春卷  4. Rice Balls Tang Yuan 湯圓|汤圆  5. Tangerines 橘子

6. Rice Cake Nian Gao 年糕  7.  Noodles 麵|面  8.  Shrimps 蝦|虾  9. Melon Seeds 瓜子  10. Meat Balls 丸子

First, let’s make lucky some delicious dumplings for our lucky year of the Rooster!


Fun in the Kitchen with Miss Panda!


Let’s Make Traditional Chinese Dumplings

餃子= jiaǒ zi = dumpling

“Do you know dumplings, 餃子|饺子 jiǎo zi, are called 元寶|元宝 yuán bǎo during the Chinese Lunar New Year celebration?

Dumplings are called 元寶|元宝 yuán bǎo because the shape of a dumpling resembles the gold ingot in Ancient China.

It represents wealth!”


Dumplings are delicious!  I love to make dumplings with my kids.  They have created dumplings in different shapes and they all taste great.  Making dumplings is a family event during the Chinese Lunar New Year family reunion.  One person can pad water to the edge of each wrapper, one person can put the fillings in the middle of each wrapper, then one or more people can seal the wrappers and complete the making of dumplings.  After you make about 30 or more you can start boiling the water and cook them.  Making dumplings has always been a highlight of Miss Panda’s Lunar New Year Cultural Presentations at schools.  It is always amazing to see hundreds of children and their family members making dumplings together and learning about the history behind the symbolic dish.

At home, my children and I always make about a hundred or more dumplings each time.  We freeze the extra ones for a healthy snack or a meal.  Now, you can make this traditional northern Chinese dish at home.  Happy cooking!


                     50        round wrappers (store bought).  Homemade wrappers recipe is listed at the end of the post.

                          1 -2      pounds ground pork (options: ground turkey, chicken, or beef )

                          ½-1     tablespoon minced fresh ginger root

                          2-4       cloves garlic minced (optional)

                          1-2       tablespoons thinly sliced green onion

                          3-5       tablespoons soy sauce OR  pinch of salt to taste

                          1           tablespoons sesame oil

                          1           egg beaten (optional)

                          5          cups finely shredded Chinese cabbage (approx. 2/3 to 1 whole)



      1. In a large bowl, mix the shredded cabbage with 1 tbs salt.  Stir and combine well.  Set aside for 10-15 minutes.  Squeeze out the water from cabbage.

      2. In another large bowl, combine ground pork, ginger, green onion, soy sauce or salt, sesame oil and egg*. Mixed well. 

      3. Add salted cabbage.

      4. Place 1 teaspoon of pork filling onto each round wrapper. Moisten the edge with water and fold edge over to form a half circle shape. Pitch side to seal in filling. Set dumplings aside on a lightly floured surface until ready to cook. 

      5. Freeze the dumplings before cooking if you are making them like pot stickers (pan fried style).


Cooking Instruction

1) Gently put dumplings in boiling water. 

2) Stir carefully occasionally. 

3) Cook for about 12 to 15 minutes. 

4) Add ¼ cup of water in the pot when the water is boiling 2-3 times.(approx. 12-15 minutes)

5) When the dumplings are floating they are ready.

6) Serve with dipping sauce immediately.

7) Dipping Sauce:  Mix soy sauce (2 tbsp), vinegar (1/2tsp), and sesame oil (1-2 drops).  Add minced garlic for more flavor.(optional)

** For leftover try the pot sticker style: heat 2 tbs of oil, place the dumplings on the frying pan. 1-2 minutes per side until slightly brown/crispy.

Enjoy! This Recipe is from Grandma Panda!


Do you know when the cooking method varies the name of the dumpling dish changes?

Boiled dumplings are called … Shuǐ jiǎo 水餃 (water dumplings)

Boiled dumplings in the soup are called … Tāng jiǎo 湯餃 (soup dumplings)

Steamed dumplings are called … Zhēng jiǎo 蒸餃 (steamed dumplings)

Pan fried dumplings are called … Jiān jiāo 煎鮫 (pan-fried dumplings)


*** Homemade wrappers Recipe ***

1) 2 cups of flour + 2 tbsp more for dusting

2) 1/2 – 2/3 cup of cold at room temperature. Add water gradually. 

Stop when the dough is firm and smooth.

Shape dough into a firm and smooth dough. 

Cover the dough and let it rest for 10 minutes. 

Roll the dough into a thin flat piece and use the round cutter to make the wrappers.


More Year of the Rooster Recipe & Learning Resources:

Chinese New Year – Spring Festival Recipes to Try for the Year of the Rooster

Welcome the Year of the Rooster with These Recipes That Remind Chefs of Home

Chinese New Year Recipes from The Woks of Life

Chinese New Year series: Learning Units on 12 Chinese Animal Signs; 12 Chinese Animal Signs Activity & Culture; Greetings & Crafts.

Got a good recipe to share?  Leave a comment and let us know!

 ©2017  Amanda C. Hsiung-Blodgett | Miss Panda Chinese All Right Reserved.








  1. sounds yummy will have to try this some time. i love dumplings!

    • We love dumplings, too. You can make your dipping sauce with light soy sauce, vinegar, ad sesame oil. Yum! I am getting hungry.

  2. I want to make these!!! 🙂 This Chinese New Year I am going to attempt it- thanks for sharing!

    • It is a lot of fun with the kids. Making dumplings is a family event and it is a very special experience. Enjoy!

  3. Mmmm! Love homemade dumplings! I remember growing up we would have big dumpling parties with all my relatives. The moms would sit around and talk (boring!), and the kids would run around playing hide and seek in the bedrooms until it was time to eat. Then we would come out and inhale dumplings until we were stuffed. I can remember my cousin eating over twenty of them! Unfortunately, now most of our potstickers come from Trader Joe’s. Sigh.

    • I can totally relate to your dumpling-making experience. I enjoyed it a lot as well both the play time with the friends and the delicious dumplings. I have never tried TJ’s pot stickers and I will check it out.

      • The TJ ones are not authentically Chinese, but they are tasty and precooked, which makes them easy to reheat and throw into lunches on a busy morning. Plus, they don’t have MSG which many of the ones in the Asian markets do. Ha ha, TJ’s should pay me for pushing their products! I certainly shop there enough!

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