Lamb Dumplings (羊肉饺子 Yang Rou Jiao Zi)
November 26, 2022  Print
As you may have gathered by now, I really like to make dumplings. I often make them for family gatherings and especially on holidays. I have already shared a few of my dumplings recipes in the past, including dumplings made with Chinese chives, pork, and Shrimp; dumplings with napa cabbage; beef dumplings; and even a vegetarian dumpling recipe that I make when I have vegetarian friends visiting. Today, I’m sharing my dumpling recipe that uses lamb meat as the main ingredient.
Pretty much everyone in my family loves dumplings. With the weather getting colder in Texas (we went from shorts to down jackets in just a few days), I have been making these lamb dumplings. In my mind, lamb meat helps me cope with the cold temperature.
Using lamb to make the dumpling mix is more typical to Northern China. It’s not at all common to the South. My husband, who is from the South, had actually never had lamb dumplings before I made them for him. Lamb dumplings taste very differently from the traditional pork-filling you might be used to. For some, the “gamey” taste may take some getting used to. In this recipe, I use daikon to reduce the overall gamey taste of the lamb meat. But if you like lamb, you might actually prefer these lamb dumplings over pork and beef.
Preparation Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2.5 hours
Servings: ~ 45 to 50 dumplings (~1 pack of store-bought dumpling wrappers)
- 1 lb ground lamb meat (preferably lamb leg) 1
- 1/2 to 1/3 lb daikon 2
- 1 bunch of cilantro 3
- 1 1-inch piece of ginger
- 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon Chinese cooking wine
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon red Sichuan peppercorn 4
- ~1/4 cup hot water
- 1 pack of store-bought dumplings wrappers (alternatively, you can try my recipe for homemade dumpling wrappers)
- In a small bowl, immerse 1 teaspoon of red Sichuan peppercorn in 1/4 cup of hot water for at least 5 minutes. Filter out the red Sichuan peppercorn afterwards. Peel and mince the ginger. Chop the cilantro into small pieces.
- In a large mixing bowl, first mix 1 lb of ground lamb meat and 2 tablespoons of the Sichuan peppercorn water together. Then add the minced ginger, chopped cilantro, 1 tablespoon of light soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of Chinese cooking wine, and 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, mixing either clockwise or counterclockwise until well mixed. Let the meat marinate a bit on the counter while preparing the daikon.
- Peel and chop the daikon into small pieces. Use a mandolin slicer or food processor to turn the daikon into small pieces. (You can also do it by hand).
- Add the chopped daikon to the large mixing bowl with the ground lamb, slowly mixing either clockwise or counterclockwise until well mixed.
- Follow steps 5-8 from my Chinese Chive dumpling post for detailed instructions on how to fold the dumplings (the pleated way) as well as the two cooking methods I normally use (the pot sticker method and the boiling method).
- With extra dumplings, follow step 10 from my Napa Cabbage dumpling post for how to freeze and store the extra dumplings for later.
- Dipping sauce: for every 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, use 2-3 tablespoons of Chinese black vinegar or balsamic vinegar. For lamb dumplings, I especially recommend having some chopped cilantro and minced garlic added to the sauce. For a spicy kick, add a few drops of chili oil or chili sauce.
- I like buying a big chunk of lamb meat from Costco and grind the meat myself using a meat grinder. Alternatively, you can chop the lamb meat into small dices using a sharp chef’s knife. The latter method produces meat that is more chewy in my opinion.
- Daikon helps to reduce the lamb’s gamey taste, and also brings a subtly-sweet taste to the dumplings. You can use Japanese (大根), Chinese (白萝卜), or Korean (무) daikon. You can also use carrots instead of daikon. With carrots, the lamb’s intrinsic gamey taste is more pronounced in my opinion.
- If cilantro is not your cup of tea (I know some people find cilantro tastes like soap), you can use green onions instead.
- The main purpose of making the Sichuan peppercorn water is to reduce the lamb’s gamey taste. Some people are more sensitive to that taste. If you don’t mind it, you can skip the peppercorn water and just add 2 tablespoons of tap water or sesame oil.
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