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Asha's Cumin Lamb Dumplings

Recipe by: Asha Loupy

Serve 4–6

Asha's Cumin Lamb Dumplings
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Asha Loupy

These dumplings are an ode to the beloved combination of cumin and lamb traditionally found in Northern and Western China. Classically stir-fried, this aromatic duo is a match made in heaven—the heady, smokiness of the cumin complementing the richness of the lamb perfectly. Chock full of garlic chives (also known as Chinese chives), cilantro and ginger, these juicy, succulent dumplings are flavored with Nagauri cumin, soy sauce and oyster sauce. Enjoy with Fly by Jing Sichuan Chili Crisp or Zhong Sauce.

Looking for a plant-based way to enjoy this recipe? Try 70:30 blend of roughly chopped caramelized shiitake mushrooms and crumbled soft tofu (just make sure to press some of the moisture out of the tofu). The earthiness of the mushrooms mimics the hearty flavor of the lamb, while the tofu brings moisture and a silky texture.

Want to make these gluten free? Add a half teaspoon of Pragati turmeric to Lisa Lin's recipe for Gluten-Free Crystal Dumpling wrappers.

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For the dumpling wrappers
  • 2 cups (240 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon Pragati Turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup just boiling water
For the filling
  • 16 ounces ground lamb
  • 3/4 cup Chinese chives (or a 1/2 cup green onions), finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems, finely chopped
  • 1/2 medium zucchini, grated on the large side of a grater
  • 1/2 inch knob fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons oyster sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarsely ground Jodhana Cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt


To make the dumpling wrappers
  1. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, turmeric and salt. Mix well. Add the boiling water in a steady stream while stirring the dry ingredients with chopsticks or a fork. Stir until a shaggy dough forms, about 30 seconds to a minute.
  2. Turn the dough out onto a clean surface and press into a ball. Knead until smooth, about 8–10 minutes. Flatten the dough into a thick disk, wrap in plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for an hour. The dough can also be made and refrigerated overnight. (When ready to roll into wrappers, take the dough out of the refrigerator an hour before to come to room temperature.)
  3. Divide the dough in half, wrapping the half you’re not using back in plastic wrap. Take one half and roll the dough into a long log, about 12 inches long and an inch in diameter. Cut the log into 16 pieces. Cover the pieces of dough with plastic wrap or a clean tea towel. 
  4. To roll the wrappers, take a piece of dough, rolling it into a sphere and then pressing it down into a flat disk, about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Lightly coat the disk in flour and, using a dumpling dowel or small rolling pin, roll the disk starting just off center and moving out toward the edges. Turn the disk 90 degrees, continuing to roll starting just off center and moving towards the outer edges for two rotations. This will give you a round wrapper with a thicker center and thinner edges. Lightly flour and place on a plate covered in a damp, clean tea towel. Repeat with another 7 pieces of dough. If you are working alone, pause to fold dumplings after rolling 8 wrappers, so they do not dry out and form a crust. Repeat the rolling process with the remaining dough as needed.
To make the filling
  1. While the dough is resting, make the filling by combining all the filling ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well, stirring with chopsticks or a spoon in a clockwise circle. Cook a small piece of the filling in a pan, taste and adjust seasonings as necessary. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it again the meat to prevent oxidation, and refrigerate until ready to use.
To assemble and fold the dumplings
  1. To make a center pleated dumpling, place about two teaspoons of filling in the middle of the wrapper and fold in half, pinching the center together with your thumb and index finger, but not sealing the whole half moon. Starting in the center and moving outwards to the left, start making pleats about every 1/4 inch, pinching the dough together. Repeat from the center, moving right to completely seal the dumpling. Place the finished dumpling on a lightly floured baking sheet and cover with a dry clean tea towel. Repeat with the remaining wrappers and filling.

To freeze the dumplings: place the baking sheet of finished dumplings in the freezer for 30 minutes and then transfer the dumplings to a freezer bag. Dumplings can be kept uncooked in the freezer for up to 3 months.

To cook the dumplings
  1. Heat a couple tablespoons of neutral oil, like canola or grapeseed, in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the dumplings, arranging them about 1/2 inch apart, and pan fry until the bottoms are golden, about 2–3 minutes.
  2. Add a 1/4 cup of water (make sure to stand back because there can be splattering when the water hits the hot oil!), cover, reduce the heat to medium and cook for 6–7 minutes. Transfer the cooked dumplings to a plate and serve with your favorite chili crisp, a little soy sauce and black vinegar.

To cook frozen dumplings: cook from frozen (do not defrost!) using the same cooking method above and adding 2–3 minutes to the cooking time.

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