Chinese cuisine has an abundance of dumpling varieties, all of which call for a specific type of wrapper. Chinese restaurants commonly serve dumplings, such as wontons, potstickers, and shumai (or siu mai), typically using wheat-based wrappers.
Often, dumpling wrappers last for a long time. Typically, they come in bulk, and most likely, you'll only use half of them.
It's then up to you to decide how to handle the wrappers. Perhaps you'd like to freeze them. Whichever the case, you need a way to deal with how to defrost dumpling wrappers.
Do dumpling wrappers freeze well? The answer is yes. When correctly frozen, these can last up to a year. When it comes to homemade wrappers, dust them with cornstarch to separate them. After wrapping tightly in plastic wrap, placing them in an airtight container or freezer bag will ensure they remain fresh.
What are dumplings?
Dumplings are known for their delicious texture and flavor. They are popular small treats with unique varieties. They are common in Asian cuisine, mainly in Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, and Korean recipes. In addition, they form an integral part of Chinese dim sum and are a popular starter or side dish on the Japanese dining table.
Dumpling wrappers are made of what?
In general, dough-based pastries such as dumpling skins, gyoza wrappers, or potsticker wrappers are thin, flour-based pastries based on wheat flour and water. They are delicate wrappers that provide a satisfying crunch when fried. The wrappers are also good deep-fried or boiled.
In most cases, the wrapper is shaped like a round disc, measuring 3 ½ inches across and wrapped in plastic. Asian markets and grocery stores typically sell the wrappers in the refrigerator section.
Another option would be to use wonton wrappers; however, the edges would not be as thin and would not pleat quite as well. If your wonton wrappers are square, cut them into rounds. This recipe can be found here if you wish to make it yourself.
Dumpling wrappers vs dumpling skins
It's common, for example, to refer to the dumpling dough as "dumpling wrappers" or "dumpling skins." These terms refer to the same product. The word "dumpling skins" derives from the literal translation of the Chinese character "餃子皮." In this post, I frequently switch between these phrases.
Five ways to learn about dumpling wrappers
When I go to the Japanese grocery store, I usually pick up dumpling wrappers or Gyoza skins made by the Myojo brand. Any wrapper that is readily available can be used as well.
This guide can determine what you need and where you can find pre-made dumpling wrappers or dumpling wrapper ingredients.
1 Markets sell dumpling wrappers.
Almost any supermarket carries frozen dumpling wrappers in the freezer or reach-in. Typical wrappers sold are rectangular and circular (for gyoza or siomai). Take these items with you to your final round of groceries to avoid allowing them to defrost as you shop for other items.
2 Use pre-made dumpling wrappers immediately.
After returning home after shopping for dumpling wrappers, they can be put into the freezer until needed. After you've defrosted and begun shaping your dumplings, finish using the open package at once - they tend to dry out quickly and can no longer be shaped or used once they've dried out.
3 Read the ingredients list carefully.
The dumpling wrappers you buy from the grocery store always have ingredient information on the side of them. Generally, they include flour, eggs, lye, butter, cornstarch, and water. Eggs may appear in some, and others won't.
Dumpling wrappers made with eggs will have a pale yellow color and a tender texture upon steaming. You can opt for wrappers with no eggs if you prefer firmer, chewier dumpling wrappers or dumplings that crisp up when pan-fried.
4 Make your homemade dumpling wrappers chewy by adding starch.
Several dumplings, such as the Korean mandu or Chinese Har gow, also sometimes referred to as "haukau", "hakao", "ha gow", is a typical Cantonese dumplings found at dim sum restaurants.
They have crystal-like dumpling skins which are chewy, somewhat translucent, and tender. The starchy ingredients usually go into the dumpling wrapper mix to give it this texture.
Despite the lack of store-bought dumpling wrappers of this kind, you can easily modify a simple recipe and prepare it yourself. Basically, all you need to do is ensure that 15 to 20 percent of your dough has tapioca starch or wheat flour. Starches like these can be found in the international section of supermarkets or Asian grocers.
5 Wontons and dumpling wrappers should not be conflated.
A dumpling wrapper is made from thin, pliable dough that can be pleated and fried or steamed. While you can substitute wonton wrappers, they are thicker, firmer, and somewhat chewier than dumpling wrappers.
Keeping this in mind, another mistake you should avoid is buying a pack of round lumpia wrappers just for dumplings. A lumpia wrapper, or spring roll wrapper, is intended for deep-frying and is not strong enough to support dumpling fillings when steamed or fried. Don't forget to read the label when picking up a bag of wrappers at the supermarket.
How to refrigerate homemade dumpling wrappers
Ideally, it would be best to use these wrappers on the same day they are produced. However, when storing them in the refrigerator, follow these steps:
Don't let them stick by brushing them with potato starch or tapioca starch. Using the all-purpose flour will absorb the liquid in the dough, so this won't work.
Consequently, all of the wrappers will stick together the following day. Dusting a bit of starch prevents this from happening.
Use your fingers to spread ½ teaspoon of potato starch over the wrapper. Ensure that it is evenly distributed throughout the wrapper.
Brush potato starch onto the wrapper, then pile a second wrapper on top. After stacking all the wrappers together, continue dusting them with starch until all of them are in order.
To complete, tightly cover the dumpling wrappers with cling film. Keeping the dumpling wrappers dry is our goal here. It would be best to keep everything fresh by putting it into an airtight container.
Previously, I mistakenly placed the wrappers directly into the zip-top bag without the protective plastic wrap. All the wrappers became stuck together the next day when condensation formed inside the bag.
You should use the skins within 48 hours of being refrigerated. When the dumplings sit in the refrigerator for an extended time, the dough turns gray.
How to keep gyoza or dumpling wrappers moist?
The moment you open the package, it is imperative that you cover them with a damp towel, ensuring the edges remain moist; otherwise, they will become tough to work with. It helps prevent them from becoming sticky as they defrost if you do this. You should handle gyoza/dumpling wrappers with care—stack unused skins covered with a damp cloth to keep them from drying out.
How do you fold and seal dumpling wrappers?
As a way of sealing the dumplings, water is necessary since they have a starch coating. You can check the visual here.
Let me show you:
- Simply lay one in front of you. In a small bowl of water, dip your finger and wet the edges of one-half of the dumpling wrapper (semi-circular). Moisten again if needed.
- Fill the center with a small dollop of filling (just a teaspoon).
- Fold in half and pleat the sides, pinching them together along the top edge.
- After that, press and seal it so that it's airtight. Repeat on the other side.
How long do dumpling wrappers last in the fridge?
As long as they're unopened; wrappers can stay in your fridge for a few weeks; once you open them, you have only one week to use them.
The best way is to freeze them in small batches that you can take out whenever you need them. Keep the dumpling wrappers tightly sealed in plastic wrap and store them in zip-top bags. The wrappers will last several months this way.
How do I freeze wonton wrappers?
So, you've got a bunch of dumpling wrappers and don't know how to keep them fresh. Follow these steps to freeze the skins perfectly. They will remain fresh, flavorful, and of good quality after freezing.
So, whether you make them yourself or purchase ready-made versions, keep them frozen to maintain freshness and durability.
Below are the steps you should follow to preserve the wrappers.
Before freezing, it is advisable to use plastic wrap (freezer friendly), Ziplock bags, or an airtight food storage container. Corn starch also needs to be added.
Wrappers tend to adhere to one another if kept on top of one another—Brush corn starch over each piece before stacking. Protect the skins with a plastic sheet as soon as you are done dusting the starch.
Once the skins have been wrapped, pack them into freezer bags or Tupperware containers as convenient.
Close the containers or bags securely and clearly mark them with the date and what they hold. Store the sealed containers or bags in the freezer. Just take out the amount you need to prepare whichever dish you are preparing.
When done correctly, freezing is an easy process, and the result is a product that retains its quality for a long time.
How to defrost dumpling wrappers?
How to thaw frozen gyoza wrappers. Due to the fragile nature of dumplings and wonton wrappers, drastic steps would not be practical. Depending on how quickly you need them, you may choose either option.
There are three ways to defrost dumplings.
Option 1 (recommended method)
Take the wrappers out of the freezer the night before and defrost them overnight in the refrigerator. By defrosting them this way, you can prevent them from becoming sticky.
Let the wrappers sit out at room temperature for 30 to 60 minutes. Allow them to thaw before removing them from their packaging completely. Spread extra flour on the wrappers after separating.
In the past, I defrosted the wrappers using the microwave. However, I was still unaware of what microwaves could do back then.
My experience has shown that microwaves tend to burn the edges or overcook the wrapper. This is no longer the case, as I know how to handle it correctly now.
The ideal way to defrost the wrappers is to let them sit in the fridge overnight. However, if you want to get started quickly, follow these steps:
- Stick them in the microwave for 10 seconds increments and check, ensuring that they are not damp or heated. Keep doing this until they become pliable so that you can separate them.
- Using your fingers, gently separate the frozen pieces from thawed ones and flip the stack over as you go.
- Continue for another ten seconds, peeling the bottom and top slowly, taking it gradually. In no time at all, you'll be peeling plenty of the skins, and make sure not to microwave them too long, as they will become "cooked" and hard to handle.
- Once separated, sprinkle extra flour over the wrappers.
When defrosting, hot air causes moisture to become trapped in the wrappers (which are flour-based). These high moisture levels may negatively impact the wrappers. Therefore, take extra care during the defrosting process; keep moisture in check.
Almost all dumpling wrappers are dusted with starch. As a result, sealing the edges requires water.
Can you refreeze gyoza or dumpling wrappers?
By following the proper procedures when freezing and thawing the skins, you will maintain their quality for an extended time. Don't worry; refreeze them if you can't use them all. You should, however, carefully wrap the leftovers in moistened paper towels.
After that, wrap them in cling film followed by Ziploc bags. Without proper sealing, the wrapper will eventually dry out and disintegrate when you use it next time.
Dumpling Failed? Here's how to fix it
As soon as you master the art of making dumplings, you'll realize that it's not as complicated as you think. As you proceed, expect some bumps along the way. Here are some suggestions for resolving common errors highlighted in Hey there Dumpling:
1 For Cracked wrappers
Get rid of them. Keep the wrappers under a damp paper towel or dishtowel to prevent them from drying out when you're working. The problem is that when they are cracked and dry, they cannot recover their softness. There's no use in keeping them; even water cannot restore their pliability and moistness.
2 Your fillings are too wet.
The simplest change is to drain the excess liquid. To make it go further, if it's still too liquidy, stir in a few tablespoons of cornstarch to absorb excess liquid and convert it to tasty juice when the dumplings are done.
3 A torn wrapper
Toss it! There is nothing worse than having a hole in your wrapper. Unfortunately, you can't repair it as you would a pie crust. But don't throw away the filling. Food is too precious to waste, so I scrape everything back into the filling bowl and try again.
4 Fillings overflowed.
If your filling leaks through your dumpling wrapper, you are overfilling your dumplings. Take some of the stuffing out with your finger, reassemble, and reseal it.
5 The dumplings won't release from the pan
Get a nonstick skillet. No kidding. Everything will be fine. Also, don't disturb your dumplings while they cook. If they still don't move, let the dumplings cool slightly, then slide a rubber spatula beneath them and the frying pan. It helps to maneuver it with care, so the dumplings don't get ripped apart, and gently pry them out.
6 Dumplings stuck together
Wait a little while. As dumplings cool down, the layers will separate on their own. In cases where they're stuck to each other, your best option is to shovel them all down your throat.
7 Browning that isn't uniform while frying
Rotate the skillet continuously to ensure even browning and crispy on the bottom. Avoid overcooking the dumpling footings on high heat.