How to Wrap a Dumpling? | News Detail

How to Wrap a Dumpling?

How to Wrap a Dumpling?

Jacob (Year 11) is one of the Top 11 winners of The Learning Network’s new “How To” Informational Writing Contest for Teenagers by The New York Times.

The contest ran from 10 January to 14 February inviting entrants 13 to 19 years old to write an essay of fewer than 400 words. The premise of the challenge was based on the ‘how-to' column by Malia Wollan which ran weekly in The New York Times Magazine from 2015 to 2022. The column took on topics both serious and silly. Do you know how to keep a goldfish alive? Spot a shooting star? Forgive someone? 

As long as the topic was appropriate for a family newspaper, entrants could explain whatever they like, including tasks that Tip has already taken on. But, just as the column did, they also had to find, interview and quote one expert on the subject.

On Wednesday 3 April Jacob's winning essay was published on The New York Times website

“Any successful dumpling’s dough must be as soft as an earlobe,” says Andy Ma, the Chef de Cuisine for 12 years at the Michelin-starred Bo Innovation. Start with store-bought dough until you’re ready to make your own. Having a “Q texture” (the Chinese’s al dente) keeps it together when wrapping, which, in Ma’s words, “is the most important part!”

The consistency of the dough makes or breaks your dumplings, literally. Only flour and water are needed. First, measure out your ingredients into a large mixing bowl. General rule of thumb is one-part water, two-parts flour. The water should be lukewarm; the flour should be all-purpose. “Don’t let its simplicity fool you,” Ma adds.

Dumpling dough is like no other: it’s not as stretchy as pizza dough, nor as chewy as pasta dough. To knead it together, only use your hands. Toss it; twirl it; toy with it. “Dig your fingers in, like a claw machine,” Ma says, until the dough feels smooth and tacky. Put it into a covered container to rest for no longer than an hour.

Unlike their dumplings, chefs have little time to relax. As Ma says, “Dumplings show a chef’s experience.” Novices tend to over-roll the dough. The kneading should be intuitive, but the portioning should be numerical. Sculpt the dough into a log, then segment off equal pieces.

To make the wrappers, you’ll need a rolling pin. Dust your table with flour; palm the dough into a circle, then, hold the pin with one hand and the wrapper in the other; roll halfway through, all while spinning the dough. Repeat, repeat, repeat: “Eventually you will get a flat round circle at around 2-3mm thick.”

Finally it’s time to seal the deal … and the dumpling. Put a tablespoon of filling in the middle of your wrapper. Kiss each side into a half-moon. Pinch from the top to fold pleats with enough pressure to seal the dough, readying them for the next stage: boiling.

However, there are countless types of dumplings, each with countless folding techniques. “It’s like trying to count all the stars in the sky,” says Ma.

Yet, Ma figures he has made thousands of dumplings: not at Bo Innovation, but at home. Such careful dumpling wrapping fosters his deep appreciation for the food that most people take for granted. “Wrapping dumplings brings all the components together,” he says. “They’ve brought my family together, too.”

Dumpling dough is like no other: it’s not as stretchy as pizza dough, nor as chewy as pasta dough. To knead it together, only use your hands. Toss it; twirl it; toy with it.

Congratulations to Jacob on his publishing success! Over 2,200 teenagers submitted essays on how to do everything from fix a toilet to fight a kangaroo.