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  • Writer's pictureDeborah Kade

Dumpling Workshop for Beginners

Quiet morning as Michael and I are traveling to Zürich this afternoon to take an evening dumpling making class at Sherly's Kitchen.

There are not enough wonderful adjectives to describe the dumpling class!!!!! The fried rice with the homemade chili pepper oil as a compliment were outstanding and so tasty. The dumpling dough was perfect to work with. We just need more practice making circles and remembering how to pinch the different sealing methods. No wonder this class is Sherly's most popular class. The class was fun, fun, fun.... We learned so much!!! Glad I took notes and made some videos. Met some very interesting people. I know it sounds strange to come to Zürich and take a dumpling making class but it was more than worth it.

We will take the train from Interlaken West to Bern where we will change trains to Zürich.

Once we exited the train station, we were on the Bahnhofstraase, Zürich's famous boulevard.

The world-renowned shopping boulevard was created after construction of Zurich’s Main Railway Station. At the spot where city moats were 150 years ago, today it connects Lake Zürich with the Main Railway Station . The boulevard stretches on for .87 of a mile or 1.4 kilometers. Love to window shop here!

Beverly Hills has Rodeo Drive and Zürich has the Bahnhofstrasse. All the high fashion stores are located here too. These stores all had a doorman to greet you.

My favorite chocolate shops are on the Bahnhofstrasse. Teuscher, I find is more expensive than Sprüngli. More of there chocolates are handmade, though.

Sprüngli's flagship is located near the Paradaplatz area which is known as the Swiss banking center.

Some of the store window displays.

"Everyone knows the legendary Luxemburgerli. The success story of this now world-famous delicacy began in the nineteen fifties. A young pastry chef from Luxembourg, who was working at the time at Confiserie Sprüngli in Zurich, brought a wonderful recipe with him from his homeland – elegant filled mini-macaroons which nobody could resist and which was decided to be named "Luxemburgerli" from then on."

"The Sprüngli confectioners have continued to refine the recipe with new, irresistible flavors being added all the time through the Création of the Month. The palette of Luxemburgerli flavors is as colorful as it is tasty, ranging from Bourbon Vanilla, Chocolate, Mocha, Champagne Gold and Deluxe to Raspberry, Citron and Caramel Fleur de Sel.

Stopped at Sprüngli for the truffle of the day. We each had a milk and a dark chocolate. Too delicious to describe! Sometimes, you get your sweetheart a truffle or two and have it placed in the brown truffle of the day box.

Their pastry, luxemburgerli, and chocolate counters have many tasty treats.

At the end of the Bahnhofstrasse is the lake. These large boats crisscross the lake.

The large umbrella shaped trees by the water have been torn out and replaced by these smaller ones. I miss the shade the older trees cast. But… the new trees will grow quickly, I am sure.

Michael and I sat on a bench, ate our truffles and enjoyed the view of the lake.

Decided to walk by the lake the 1.5 miles (2.4 km) to get to class.

Many people enjoying the park by the lake.

I’m sure taking a dip in the lake was refreshing on this very warm and humid day. It was still 78 degrees around six o’clock.

There were so many parks along the way to class.

Wild blackberries grow along the pathways.

Stately homes

I assume these two must have been litter mates. They seem to be as close as my Izzy and Jellie Beanie. They played so well together!

We were the first two of eight people to arrive for the class.

Sherly offered tea, water, crackers and nuts before class started.

We have taken a few classes in past years at Sherly's Kitchen. The classes are always fun and extremely informative!! We have learned to make Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte (Black Forest cake), Swiss roll and cheese pies Zürich style. Sherly is a cheese sommelier, cooking instructor, and communication specialist. Michael and I have also taken her cheese and wine pairing class. We always learn so much in a very short period of time. Even Pink, the singer, and her family have taken a chocolate class from Sherly.

Here is the description of tonight's class.

"Dumplings!They are everyone's favorite and it's the ultimate party food. In this class you will learn to make the classic Gyoza/Jiaozi (饺子) style dumplings that everyone loves. Start to finish, the class is packed with information working with dough, history of this dish, making the filling, and two types of dipping sauce. And of course - we'll be making the dumpling wrappers and fillings all from scratch. After this class, you'll never order dumplings at takeaways because homemade is just the best!

Class details:

  • Learn about the history of dumplings

  • Make dumpling wrapper

  • Make pork/vegetarian filling from scratch

  • Make Sichuan style red chili oil (紅油)

  • Appetizer: Seasonal dish

  • Enjoy dumplings with smashed cucumber salad"

After class, Sherly always makes sure to send us the recipes.

"Here is Sherly's recipe for the smashed cucumber salad. She had made this beforehand.

This is a cucumber salad that you could make without using a knife. Can you believe it? Also a great way to release your daily stress 🙂 but my favorite part is that it only takes 2 minutes to make these yummy salad! Perfect side dish for dumplings, fried rice, and anything else. I like to sprinkle coriander on mine. What about you? You gotta try this recipe!"

Ingredients serves 2-3 people as side dish •1 cucumber •0.5 teaspoon salt •1.5 Tablespoon soy sauce •1 Tablespoon vinegar (Tafelessig, Apfelessig, Reisessig) •1 teaspoon chili oil of your choice •1 clove of pressed garlic (or 1 teaspoon pressed garlic) •Some coriander leaves, chopped (optional) •Red chili, sliced (optional)


  1. Wash cucumber and dab dry with a towel.

  2. Wrap cucumber with a plastic wrap completely.

  3. Smash it with a heavy rolling pin or meat tenderizer until you see cracks all over the cucumber.

  4. Open the plastic wrap, remove the seeds, and cut/tear the cucumber into bite-size.

  5. Add in salt and toss the cucumbers.

  6. Add in the rest of the ingredients and toss well.

  7. Serve chilled.

Recipe for the homemade Sichuan-style chili oil

Homemade chilli oil is essential if you want to enjoy authentic Chinese cuisine. I always keep a jar of this chilli oil in my home to accompany fried rice or dumplings. Once you experience how aromatic chilli oil can be, you’ll never live without this. It’s even delicious with pasta or pizza!

Makes ca. 300mL chilli oil

1. Prepare a heat resistant container and mix below:

  • 4 Tablespoon dry chilli flakes. I like to use Sichuan chilli flakes. You can buy them at Lian Hua Supermarket

  • 1 Tablespoon Sichuan pepper or black pepper

  • 2 Star Anise

  • 2-3 dry Bay leaves

  • 2 cloves of garlic sliced

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 2 Tablespoon peanuts without skin (optional)

2. Then heat up 200mL oil (sunflower oil or Rapsöl) until 160-180C, put a wooden chopstick in and bubbles should come off the chopstick.

3. Pour the hot oil into the ingredients and stir. Cover and let it sit for 1 hour to overnight for stronger flavor.

Keeps for 3-4 months in refrigerator in a glass jar with lid.

Do NOT pour in plastic. Pour in Pyrex container.

We made the dough for the dumpling first as the dough had to rest.

Let rest for at least 20 minutes. You can keep them overnight inn the refrigerator. Place a damp cloth on top.

The next thing to make was the Cantonese style authentic fried rice. We did not include the meat as one of our fellow students was a vegetarian.

mixing the egg

"Lots of rice and vegetable left over in your refrigerator? Then let’s make fried rice!

Want something quick but yummy? Then let’s make fried rice!

This recipe does not use soy sauce nor oyster sauce. Just salt for seasoning, so that you can taste the ingredients.

This recipe has no measurement. Fried rice is usually made to clean up your refrigerator using what you have on hand. Use any vegetables you have in your refrigerator, but don’t skip the green onion!


  • Cooked rice, cooled (Rice from 1-2 days before is best!)

  • Eggs, crack and stir with chopsticks

  • Ham or Chinese sausage (optional) chopped into small size. Vegetarians can omit this.

  • Carrots, chopped small, as much as you want

  • Frozen peas, thawed (don’t get the ones in the can – they are terrible. Get the frozen ones.)

  • Green onion, chopped thinly

  • Salt


  1. Heat up a wok or a large frying pan, drizzle 3-4 Tablespoon of oil, and crank the heat up high.

  2. Once the pan is hot, bring the heat down to medium-high. Add in the eggs and stir until they are softly cooked.

  3. Remove the eggs from the pan and set aside.

  4. Add in the ham or Chinese sausage. Fry them until aromatic. Remove and set aside.

  5. Add in the carrots and fry until the are almost cooked.

  6. Add in the cold rice and fry while mixing with the carrots.

  7. Add in the frozen peas and mix while frying.

  8. Add in the chopped green onion and fry until it turns aromatic.

  9. Now add the eggs and the ham/sausage back into the frying pan and stir-fry altogether.

  10. Add salt as you taste. Mix well so that the salt is well distributed. Adjust salt to your liking.

  11. Now the fried rice is ready. Serve with some homemade chili oil! "

Here is Sherly's recipe for the dumplings

"Homemade Dumplings from Scratch Measurements: Tbsp = Table spoon = Esslöffel = 15ml tsp = tea spoon = Teelöffel = 5ml Dumpling Wrapper (32 dumplings) •250g all purpose flour •1 tsp salt •130g warm water (a bit more in dry winter) Filling •300g ground pork/ pork+beef /tofu •Chinese cabbage or white cabbage, size of your hand (ca. 300g) •1 green onion •2 Tbsp soy sauce •3-4 cloves of garlic, pressed •3cm ginger grated •1/2 Tbsp sesame oil •black pepper Dipping Sauce •2 Tbsp soy sauce •2 Tbsp water •2 Tbsp vinegar •5cm green onion chopped •toasted sesame seeds (optional) •chili flakes (optional) Steps A. Prepare the dough

  1. In a bowl put the flour, salt and mix with a fork. Add the warm water slowly as you mix with the fork. Go in with your hand to knead and spread the moisture in the dough. If your dough is too dry, add 1-2 teaspoon more water to the dry part. Winter time you will need a bit more water due to the dry air. Summer time you will have more humidity in the dough.

  2. Knead for 3-4 minutes until the dough becomes soft and elastic. Put it in a plastic bag and keep in room temperature to rest for at least 20 minutes.

B. Make the dipping sauce Mix all ingredients and set it aside

C. Make the filling 1. In a bowl, put in the ground meat. (For tofu, squeeze the water out and mash) 2. Slice the cabbage thinly and chop into small size and put in the bowl 3. Chop the green onions in small pieces and put in the bowl 4. Add in the rest of the ingredients, mix and knead the ingredients until they become sticky like a hamburger patty. (When you are using tofu, add 1/2 egg so the ingredients can stick to each other) 5. The filling is ready. Set aside.

D. Prepare the dumpling wrappers: Divide the dough into 4 pieces and form into a log. Take one log and divide into 8 pieces. Each piece will become one dumpling wrapper (Keep the rest of the logs covered with a wrap or under a wet towel while you are working on the first one) Stretch each piece into ca. 7cm flat circle using a rolling pin.

E. Fold the dumplings: Place a little bit of filling onto the dumpling wrapper using a teaspoon. Fold and close tight. Place it on a baking paper, or a surface with flour dusted. F. Cook the dumplings: You need a pan with a lid! 1. Heat up a frying pan to medium-high heat with cooking oil 2. When the pan is warm, arrange the dumplings so they fit in the pan 3. Cook until the bottom of the dumpling is toasted brown 4. Pour in water (or mushroom water or jasmine tea) over around the pan so that there is a thin layer of water in the pan, then cover with the lid and cook further. 5. Cook for ca. 3-5 minutes until the water is all gone. The bottom is crisp and the top is juicy. 6. Transfer to a plate with the browned bottom facing upwards. Serve with dipping sauce. 7. Enjoy! "

Preparing the filling for the dumplings

Squeeze out as much water from the tofu as you can. Napa cabbage, and shiitake mushrooms were added to the tofu.

When you can smell all the ingredients, you then know it is mixed well enough.

Making the wrappers

Took the resting ball of dough and cut it in half. Rolled it out in log form and divided it in fifths.

You can not steam the vegetarian dumplings.

Your dumplings need to stand up. The flat part goes in the pan to brown.

If you have any dumplings left over, they can be frozen. Just take them out and fry them. Do not defrost them.

A little history about dumplings.

We discussed how different countries have their own version of the dumpling.

We learned a little Chinese dumpling history. The emperor sent the wise man from the north to the south with 2000 troops in order to bring the south under control. He crossed the Yangtze River and won the battle. When they were going to cross the Yangtze a storm came up. The wise man consulted a fortune teller and the fortune teller said to cut off 49 heads of the southern troops and put them in a ring around the front and bow to them and the storm will pass. The wiseman being a wise man said we are not going to do that. He had the bakers make 49 breads in the shape of men’s heads. The men bowed to the bread and the storm passed.

Dumplings in Chinese are called mantou. Man means enemy or barbarian and tou means head.

Here is a little more indepth story.

A popular Chinese legend relates that the name mantou actually originated from the homophonous word 蠻頭 mántóu, which literally means "barbarian's head".

The legend was set in the Three Kingdoms period (220–280 CE) when Zhuge Liang, the Chancellor of the state of Shu Han, led the Shu army on a campaign against Nanman forces in the southern lands of Shu, which correspond to roughly present-day Yunnan, China, and northern Myanmar.

After subduing the Nanman king Meng Huo, Zhuge Liang led the army back to Shu, but met a swift-flowing river which defied all attempts to cross it. A barbarian lord informed him that in olden days, the barbarians would sacrifice 50 men and throw their heads into the river to appease the river deity and allow them to cross. As Zhuge Liang did not want to cause any more of his men to lose their lives, he ordered his men to slaughter the livestock the army brought along, and fill their meat into buns shaped roughly like human heads (round with a flat base). The buns were then thrown into the river. After a successful crossing, he named the bun "barbarian's head" (mántóu, 蠻頭, which evolved into the modern 饅頭).[10] Another version of the story relates back to Zhuge Liang's southern campaign when he instructed that his soldiers who had fallen sick from diarrhea and other illnesses in the swampy region be fed with steamed buns with meat or sweet fillings.

Enjoying our cooking!

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