Chinese Steamed Dumplings, 2 Ways

There’s nothing quite like biting into a steamy, juicy dumpling and then washing all of that down with a fragrant cup of hot tea. Perfectly pleated, lopsided, or just plain ugly, homemade dumplings are always welcome at my dinner table.

As we head into Chinese New Year, I’m joining up with my good friend Danielle from This Picture Book Life to announce the upcoming book release of The Ugly Dumpling, by Stephanie Campisi with illustrations by Shahar Kober. This is a tale of friendship, discovery, and some adorably emotive dumplings!

Funny thing is, the “ugly dumpling” in the book isn’t actually ugly at all…it just happens to be different from the rest of the fellas in the bamboo steamer! In celebration of this brilliantly entertaining book, I’ve decided to make Chinese Steamed Dumplings, wrapped in 2 ways: first, with a fluffy yeasted bun dough, and second, with ready to use store-bought wrappers.There’s only one dumpling filling to make here, and it’s a classic one with ground pork and Napa cabbage. This flavorful filling is rich and savory enough to complement both kinds of wrappers.The bun wrapper variation is a smaller version of handheld steamed buns like Char Siu Bao. These mini buns are chopstick ready and just enough for one, maybe two, bitesAnd speaking of bites…did I mention that there’s a cockroach in the book? Surprise, surprise, there is…and he’s as sweet as a Medjool date with carrot stick antennas! A sip of Chinese tea, some dumplings, and this book and you’ll think twice before reaching for that can of Raid!Book images courtesy of Mighty Media Press. A special thanks to my dear friend, Danielle of This Picture Book Life for sharing this book with me. For more info and illustrations of The Ugly Dumpling, please check out her awesome blog! 

Steamed Chinese Pork & Napa Dumplings, 2 Ways

Makes 30 mini buns or dumplings.



1 lb. ground pork

5 Napa cabbage leaves, minced, tossed with 1 tsp of salt, then rinsed and squeezed dry

2 green onions, sliced thin

3 Tbsp oyster sauce

2 Tbsp soy sauce

1 tsp sesame oil

1/2 Tbsp grated ginger

2 garlic cloves, crushed

2 tsp sugar

1/4 tsp white pepper


Use a 1/2 portion of this Steamed Bun Dough recipe (divided into 20 pieces to create 20 dumplings) and/or store-bought wrappers. 


mixing bowl

Tbsp measure

work surface

bamboo steamer

wok with slightly larger diameter than steamer OR a stockpot with exactly the same diameter as the steamer


1. Make the Filling. Combine all the filling ingredients together in a mixing bowl.

2. Fill the Wrappers. For Buns: If you are using the Steamed Bun Dough recipe, fill each dough portion with 1 Tbsp of the filling according the directions in this post. After filling the buns, place them in the steamer. For Dumplings: If using store-bought wrappers, fill each skin with 1 Tbsp of the filling, seal opposite edges of the wrapper with water, then place them upright in the steamer.

3. Steam Away! Fill the wok or stockpot with 3-4″ of water. Set water on high heat and let it come to a full rolling boil. Place the steamers in/on top of the wok/stockpot and cook the dumplings for 10 minutes on over high heat.

4. Sip, Eat, Read, & Enjoy!