Best Chinese Dumplings Recipe Ever and Pilates

“Best Dumplings Ever: Long version” represents what “Spices of Life” is all about. In this video, Nina Simonds shows you how to make Chinese Meat Dumplings. Nina also adds some bonus exercises you can do while cooking!

When we set out to do these vlogs we wanted to incorporate food, health, and lifestyle. I wasn’t satisfied with JUST giving a recipe, I wanted to show how cooking and preparing food can be a joyful experience. Let’s face it, cooking can be a drag, particularly on an everyday basis, but if you invite some of your friends over and combine it with a little bit of exercise/relaxation, (See the part about the back and shoulder rubs and back stretches) it can be lots of fun!

Nina, Julie and Maureen

I also wanted to introduce people to 2 very good friends… Julie Shaw Lutts, friend who has tested about 5 or so of my books and an extraordinarily talented artist (Look at her website). Maureen Yasi is not only one of the sweetest people I know, she is also the mother of one of my son, Jesse’s, best friends, P.J. (PLUS she has 3 daughters).

Here you see how dumplings are traditionally prepared and in the next vlog “Best Dumplings Ever: Short version” (which will come out NEXT Wednesday) you can see how I cheat. Stay tuned…

5 cups cored and finely minced Chinese (Napa) cabbage
1 teaspoon salt
1 pound lean ground pork
2 cups finely minced fresh Chinese garlic chives (if unavailable, substitute 1 cup minced leeks – mostly the whites – plus 1 tablespoon minced garlic)

For the Seasonings, mixed together:
2½ tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1½ tablespoons rice wine
1½ tablespoons peeled and minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon cornstarch, or more as needed

To Form, Cook, and Serve the Dumplings:
50 dumpling or gyoza skins
Cornstarch as needed
3 quarts water
Dipping sauce

1. In a large bowl, combine the cabbage and salt and let sit for 30 minutes. (This will draw water out of the cabbage).

2. Squeeze as much water as possible out of the cabbage and combine the cabbage with the ground pork, minced chives, and seasonings in large bowl. Stir vigorously. If the mixture seems loose, add another teaspoon of cornstarch.

3. Place a teaspoon of filling in the center of each dumpling skin and fold the skin over to make a half-moon shape. Spread a little water along the edge of the skin and use the thumb and index finger of one hand to form small pleats along the outside edge of the skin; the inside edge of the dumpling should curve in a semicircular fashion to conform to the shape of the pleated edge. Place the sealed dumplings on a baking sheet lightly dusted with cornstarch.

4. In a large pot, heat the water until boiling. Add half the dumplings, stirring to prevent them from sticking together, and, once the water boils again, cook for 5 minutes. Remove with a handled strainer and drain, then cook the remaining dumplings. Serve the dumplings with the dipping sauce.

Dipping Sauce
¾ cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons peeled and finely shredded fresh ginger
¼ cup water
3 tablespoons Chinese black vinegar or Worcestershire sauce

1. Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl.

2. Transfer to a serving dish and use at room temperature. Refrigerated, the sauce will keep in a tightly covered container for up to a week.

© Copyright Nina Simonds 2004


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Steve Says:
Once again I learned a lot shooting this video with Nina. Those little pre-made dumpling wrappers make it so easy. The dipping sauce was really good too. After the shoot I brought some dumplings and dipping sauce over to my mom. She really, really liked the sauce.

N93 Captures Nina and Steve

I captured the video on a Nokia N93 cellphone, supplied by Nokia, and edited the video on a MacBook Pro using Final Cut Pro. One cool thing we did this time was use USTREAM.TV to allow Nina to remotely view the video while I was editing it, so she could make comments and changes. Every time we make one of these videos we learn something new.

The Globe's Here

Read about Spices of Life in the Boston Globe article by Jonathan Levitt, Simonds is the life of this video party.

Formats available: Quicktime (.mov), QuickTime (.mov) 640×480, Flash Video (.flv)


  1. Hi Nina,

    Enjoyed watching your web cast on the dumplings. Did you know that I have introduced the Joyce Chen Frozen Peking Ravioli (Potsticker/Dumplings) with chicken or pork filling.
    That are available at Stop & Shop, Hannaford, Big Y, Foodmaster and Crosby’s.

    Keep up the good work!!

    Stephen (Joyce Chen’s son #2)

  2. saltymd says:

    Nina, you’re just as hysterical as I remember you 20+ years ago. And now I’ve got something to do with all those chinese chives in my garden. steve

  3. I have never had such a great time watching a cooking show! Now, I’m hungry!

  4. Loved this episode… me and my friend laughed are butts off watching it. Will definitely go back and watch past shows… can’t wait! Dumplings looked amazing too :)

  5. Don’t you mean “laughed your buns off”? Only kidding!!

    Thanks for your comment!


  6. Hi Nina
    I have seen all your “Spices” and enjoyed them all — but I must say I enjoyed this one the most! Seeing you and your friends cooking and exercising was such fun. I did the shoulder rolls while watching you.

    The dumplings and the dipping sauce were delicious. What a treat I had!


  7. Abbey Gehring says:

    What a great idea this blog is! I know from experience how delicious those dumplings are . . . mmmm. It’s great to see you enjoying food, life, and friends. This makes me miss cooking in your beautiful kitchen!


  8. You’ve got such great videos – I love them!

  9. Chinese Cook says:

    Hello there,thank you very much for your nice work on the cooking i cannot believe how funny you were.I am looking foreward to future videos and cannot believe how good those dumplings looked.YUM!!! Best regards,

    Ying Maa

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For a specific health problem, consult a qualified health-care giver for guidance.