Mama Chang’s Pork and Chive Dumplings

By Yankee Magazine

Apr 18 2020


Joanne Chang’s Pork and Chive Dumplings

Photo Credit : Kristin Teig

For “Deep Roots” (season 1, episode 1), Weekends with Yankee headed to Boston’s Chinatown with celebrity chef Joanne Chang and learned how to make her signature Pork and Chive Dumplings.

Joanne Chang is one of Boston’s most beloved chefs, famous for the irresistible pastries and savories served at her small chain of Boston-based bakeries, Flour, and for Myers + Chang, the South End restaurant where she and her husband/business partner Christopher Myers celebrate the Taiwanese food she grew up with and the pan-Asian foods they both love.

Early in the fall of 2019, when our Weekends with Yankee crew arrived at Joanne and Christopher’s Boston apartment to make pork dumplings for the premiere episode of season four, I knew I’d be learning from a master. But the bonus was Joanne’s mother, Sue, who happened to be visiting from Houston. “Mama Chang’s” pork and chive dumplings are a signature menu item at Myers + Chang, and now I had two experts to learn from.

Joanne remembers watching her mom make dumplings for holidays and family gatherings. “I thought they looked like a little couch, and one of my earliest memories is having my little Fisher-Price toys sitting on them.”

She showed me how to carefully pleat the store-bought wrappers around the filling but also noted that it’s perfectly fine to simply fold the wrappers up like a taco, seal the edges together, and forget about pleats. With just six ingredients in the filling, all that matters is that you make homemade dumplings a regular part of your cooking repertoire. —Amy Traverso

Note: If you don’t have an Asian market nearby, you can find wonton wrappers, napa cabbage, ginger, sesame oil, ground pork, and soy sauce at most regular supermarkets. You can replace the garlic chives with regular chives or scallions as needed. For the sauce, if you can’t find black vinegar, you can always make a simple blend of soy sauce, sesame oil, and a bit of chili or hot sauce.


40-50 dumplings

For the dumplings


8 large napa cabbage leaves, thinly sliced (about 4 cups)
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 pound ground pork (not lean), preferably coarse ground
1 cup minced fresh garlic chives or regular fresh chives
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon peeled and finely chopped fresh ginger (about 1-inch knob)
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
One 16-ounce package round dumpling wrappers
4 tablespoons vegetable oil, such as canola, plus more as needed


Place the sliced cabbage in a large bowl and season generously with kosher salt. Let sit for 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine the ground pork, garlic chives, soy sauce, ginger, and sesame oil, and use your hands to mix all the ingredients thoroughly together. Set aside.

Take the cabbage in your hands and squeeze as hard as you can to remove the water (you will be amazed by the amount that comes out). Add the cabbage to the pork mixture. Mix well with your hands until the filling is well combined.

Fill a small bowl with warm water. Lay a dumpling wrapper on a clean work surface and scoop about 1 tablespoon of filling into the center. Dip your finger in the water and paint all around the edge of the wrapper to moisten. Fold the wrapper in half to look like a half moon. Pinch just the top of the wrapper together, leaving the sides exposed and open.

Start pleating the left side of the dumpling: Holding the dumpling by the top, fold a pleat on one side of the wrapper about halfway down the arc toward the center of the dumpling and press it into the facing side of the wrapper. Repeat the pleating almost to the bottom of the arc so that you have two pleats on the left side of the dumpling.

Repeat the pleating process on the right side of the dumpling, again pleating toward the center. When the dumpling is completely pleated, you should be able to sit the dumpling on its bottom and it will look like a little loveseat, with the smooth side of the dumpling as the seat and the pleated side as the back.

Continue with the rest of the dumpling wrappers and filling until the filling has been used up.

The dumplings can be made up to 1 week in advance and stored uncooked in an airtight container in the freezer. Place them on a flat plate or tray and freeze until the dumplings are completely frozen, then transfer them to a resealable freezer bag or an airtight container and return them to the freezer. Thaw in the refrigerator on a flat plate before cooking.

To cook the dumplings, you need a large, heavy, flat-bottomed skillet with a lid or a nonstick skillet with a lid. Heat the skillet over medium-high heat and add 2 tablespoons vegetable oil. When the oil starts to shimmer, carefully add as many dumplings as will comfortably fit in the skillet and turn the heat down to medium. Cook without moving the pan until the dumpling bottoms are golden brown, about 3 minutes. Add about 2 tablespoons water to the bottom of the pan and immediately cover with the lid. The pan will sizzle and steam up immediately, so don’t be startled. Shake the pan from time to time to keep the dumplings from sticking. Let the dumplings steam for 2 minutes, at which point most of the water will have evaporated.

Add another 2 tablespoons water to the pan, cover, and steam again. Wait until the water has evaporated again and repeat one last time with a final 2 tablespoons water.  Turn off the heat, keep covered, and let rest for 1 minute. Uncover and turn the heat back to medium-high to crisp up the bottoms. Remove from the pan. Continue in the same manner to cook the remaining dumplings, adding 1 tablespoon oil to the pan at a time as needed. Serve immediately with black pepper–scallion sauce.

For the sauce


1/2 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon black Chiangking vinegar
2 teaspoons sriracha chili sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
Some rough chopped ginger


In a small bowl, stir all ingredients together. Serve with dumplings. Yields about 3/4 cup sauce.