Zhong Dumpling Recipe

Delicate dumpling wrappers are filled with a savory mixture of pork, ginger, and scallions, then dipped in a fiery, slightly sweet chili sauce.
Photo by Farideh Sadeghin

Makes 50
Prep time: 45 minutes
Total time: 1 hour


for the zhong dumpling sauce:
½ cup|85 grams light brown sugar
½ cup|125 ml light soy sauce
2-3 pieces star anise
2 dried shiitake mushrooms
1 piece cassia bark
½ cup|125 ml chili oil
1 tablespoon black vinegar
1 large garlic clove, minced


for the dumplings:
1 pound|450 grams ground pork (mixture of about 70% lean, 30% fat)
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon Shaoxing cooking wine
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon white pepper
4 scallions, green parts only, thinly sliced
1 large egg
1 (1-inch) piece ginger, peeled and minced
1 (14-ounce|396 gram) pack dumpling skins, preferably thin


  1. Make the dumpling sauce: In a small saucepan, infuse the brown sugar, soy sauce, star anise, mushrooms, and cassia bark over low heat for 30 minutes. Cool completely, then stir in the oil and vinegar. Store in an airtight container for up to a month or in the fridge for up to 3 months.
  2. Make the dumplings: In a large bowl, mix the pork, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, fish sauce, sesame oil, Shaoxing, soy sauce, salt, pepper, scallions, egg, and ginger with ½ cup|125 ml water until thoroughly integrated. Test out the meat seasoning if you like by frying a little bit in a pan with oil. It should taste delicious and umami-rich with no other seasoning. 
  3. Form the dumplings: Dip your finger in a small bowl of water mixed with 1 teaspoon of cornstarch and wet the perimeter of a wrapper. Place about 1 tablespoon of filling in the middle of each dumpling wrapper and fold up and in half. Crimp the edges of the dumpling to seal and form into half moons. Transfer to a baking sheet and repeat with the remaining dumplings.
  4. Cook the dumplings: Bring some salted water to boil on the stove. Once boiling, drop dumplings in, making sure to gently stir right away with a spatula or utensil to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot. Once the dumplings start to float (this should take about 2 to 3 minutes), wait another 15 seconds and remove them from the water with a slotted spoon.
  5. To serve: Stir the minced garlic with 3 tablespoons of the zhong sauce in a small bowl, then drizzle over 6 to 8 freshly boiled dumplings and serve.

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