Pork, prawn and chive dumplings

Photographer: Emma
Makes about 40 dumplings

As the provider of this months theme it was only fitting that I post a recipe from my small, (but growing!), list of recipes. At the very start of my teenage years I was removed from my precious little world in Hamilton, New Zealand and taken by my parents to live in Shanghai, China. My father’s career had reached an exciting new level and we were all coming along for the ride! The life experiences waiting would change us forever.

My three years spent in Shanghai were absolutely amazing.  We lived in a beautiful western housing compound with nationalities from around the world, plus two swimming pools, a gymnasium and its own bar and restaurant. To top off this ‘typical’ expatriate experience I attended an American School, learning everything American. Suffice to say, this was entirely different from anything my family could have imagined. I hear you asking, “But where did China fit into all of this?”

China was just outside the front gate, full of stunning people, squeaky push bikes, intriguing food smells, great knock-off shopping stalls and the most amazing loads on the backs of motorcycles and trucks. China was also inside my house, we were extremely lucky to have Xiao Feng, my ayi (nanny). Hailing from Anhui, Xiao Feng had a warm and lovely personality that welcomed me home from school each day, cooked delicious Chinese food every night for us and taught me many Chinese dishes, including my all time favourite – pork dumplings.

This recipe is a replica of what my family would put together on a Saturday afternoon. Traditionally as many people as possible would be enticed in to help make the dumplings; extra hands speed up the process, ensuring you get to the most important part – the consumption of the juicy morsels, as quickly as possible! Lastly you will find the conversations will instantly flow, raising intriguing topics regardless of the languages everyone speaks.


2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp salt
2 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp rice wine or sherry
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
¼ tsp ground white pepper

285g ground pork
170g Chinese cabbage, finely chopped and squeezed dry
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 spring onion, chopped
55g chives, finely chopped
20 frozen whole prawns- place half to 1/3 of a prawn into each dumpling
40 wonton or dumpling wrappers
Soy sauce or oyster sauce


1. In a small bowl combine the soy sauce, salt, sesame oil, rice wine or sherry, black and white pepper. Mix well then pour the marinade over the ground pork and mix again until combined.
2. Cover with a cloth and allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes in your refrigerator. Then add the cabbage, ginger and green onion, chives and mix well.
3. Place 1 tablespoon of filling in the centre of a dumpling wrapper and top with a prawn. Dab the edges with a little water and fold the wrapper in half to form a semicircle, enclosing the filling. Press the edges firmly together to stick. If using a square wrapper, fold in half diagonally to form a triangle. Repeat with the rest of the filling.
4. Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Carefully drop 10 to 15 dumplings into the boiling water and gently stir so that they do not stick together, then cover and return to a boil. Boil for about 7 minutes
5. Heat 1 tsp. sesame oil in another pan and transfer the dumplings into the pan. Brown each side, moving constantly to ensure they do not stick to the pan.
6.Serve immediately with dipping bowls of soy sauce or oyster sauce on the side and red chilli oil.