Food by VICE

Lamb and Green Squash Dumplings Recipe

Lamb can often be found in dishes throughout northern and western China. These dumplings get a nice kick from the citrusy, camphor-like flavor of Sichuan peppercorns.

by Helen You
Apr 3 2017, 10:00am

Makes 24 dumplings
Prep time: 20 minutes
Total time: 2 hours


2 tablespoons sichuan peppercorns, toasted
1 small zucchini, grated
1 pound ground lamb
3 scallions, finely chopped, white and green parts
2 tablespoons sherry cooking wine
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon kosher salt
24 panfried dumpling wrappers
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon vegetable oil


1. In a small bowl, soak the peppercorns in 1/3 cup of lukewarm water for at least 1 hour, then strain out and discard the peppercorns. Wrap the zucchini in a clean cheesecloth or tea towel and squeeze to wring out excess moisture.

2. In a medium bowl, add the lamb and slowly pour in the peppercorn-infused water, a few drops at a time, and use your hands to mix it in well until the water is fully absorbed. Add the scallions, wine, ginger, soy sauce, and salt, and mix well until full incorporated. Gently fold in the zucchini and mix well until combined.

3. Holding a wrapper in your palm, use a fork to add about 1 tablespoon of the filling in the center of the wrapper, then lightly pat down the filling with the fork to get rid of any air bubbles. Once the filling is in place, cradle the wrapper in one hand, fold the edge closest to you over the filling, and pinch the dumpling shut.

4. Then, clasp one end of the dumpling between your thumb and index finger to pinch it shut; repeat on the other side of the dumpling.

5. Now seal it for good: cradle the dumpling in your palms, clasping the sealed edge between your thumbs and index fingers, and squeeze it shut while pushing inward, making sure to squeeze out any air bubbles . The dumpling's belly should form a teardrop shape between your thumbs, which will create the yuan bao shape.

4. Fold the dumpling into a half moon, pinching it shut with your thumbs and index fingers, then press the center of the dumpling while pulling on the corners to push out any air bubbles and shape it into a curved crescent. Inspect the dumpling for any holes and pinch them shut. Repeat with the remaining wrappers to make 24.

5. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, vinegar, and 1 cup of the water until combined to make a slurry. Brush the oil in a medium cast-iron or nonstick skillet and heat over medium high heat until the oil starts to shimmer. Add 6 dumplings with the sealed edges lying flat in the pan, spacing them 1 inch apart, then slowly pour in just enough of the slurry to come one third of the way up the dumplings. Partially cover the pan, leaving a small gap for steam to escape.

6. Increase the heat to high and cook for 2 minute for cast iron (1 minute for nonstick). Lower the heat to medium for 2 minutes for cast iron (3 minutes for nonstick). Then lower the heat to low for 2 to 3 minutes for cast iron (3 minutes nonstick) .

7. Cook until the water has evaporated, leaving a paper thin disk of golden-brown starch on the bottom of the pan. Remove from the heat and slide a thin, flexible spatula around the rim of the pan to loosen the edges of the starch disk, then carefully slide spatula underneath and flip the disk onto a plate in one piece, crispy side up. Serve immediately, then clean the skillet and repeat with the remaining dumplings.

Reprinted from The Dumpling Galaxy Cookbook. Copyright © 2017 by Helen You. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.