Pan Fried Fish Dumplings

Dumplings are a very traditional dish in Chinese cuisine, and are often made with friends and families at large gatherings, particularly during the Lunar New Year. Contrary to popular belief, they’re actually pretty easy to make at home once you practice a few times. And if you’re not feeling up to making your own dumpling skins, you can always buy them pre-made from most Asian grocery stores. Just be warned that the store bought skins will not be as sticky or elastic, so you’ll need to wet them with some water around the edges when sealing up the dumplings. They’re also more prone to breaking so be careful to not overcook them, especially if you choose to boil your dumplings. Of course the taste and texture also won’t be as good as homemade dough, but they’re a good substitute on a busy weeknight and still much better than frozen grocery store dumplings.

For this recipe, we’ll be making a slightly less well known dumpling flavour – fish! It’s not as common to see this filling outside of Northern China (the city of Dalian is particularly well known for them) and many restaurants don’t offer it unless they’re a specialized dumpling store. But it’s well worth trying them – the fish filling gives the dumplings a uniquely fresh flavour that you won’t find in typical pork and vegetable dumplings. They’re also not as heavy so you can eat way more without feeling stuffed, which is always a plus when it comes to dumplings.

The cooking instructions here are for pan fried. You can also boil or steam these but for fish I think pan fried tastes the best. I like to make a big batch of these on the weekend and freeze them (uncooked), then pop them straight out of the freezer during the week and fry them the same way for a quick indulgent lunch!

Pan Fried Fish Dumplings

  • Servings: 40 dumplings
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Classic pan fried dumplings with a savoury fish filling.


  • 250g AP flour
  • 1tsp salt
  • 110g water
  • 4 large shrimp
  • 500g basa fillet
  • 4 green onions
  • 2tbsp oil
  • 2tbsp cornstarch
  • 1tsp white pepper
  • 1tsp soy sauce
  • 1tsp salt
  • 1/2tbsp cooking wine
  • 1 egg


  1. First make the dough for the dumpling skin. Start by mixing the flour, salt and water together in a large bowl.
  2. Once the mixture clumps together in pieces, bring it together into with your hands into a rough dough and begin kneading. The dough will feel rough and dry at first but will become softer as you knead. Continue for around 10 – 15 minutes until you get a smooth ball. Cover and set aside to rest.
  3. Meanwhile make the filling. Finely mince the green onion and ginger together.
  4. Add 2 tbsp oil to a pan over medium heat. Once the oil is warm, add the green onion and ginger and stir for around 2 minutes until it forms a paste. Toasting the onion and ginger this way helps to bring out the flavour more compared to simply adding it into the filling mixture raw. Set aside to cool.
  5. Chop up both the shrimp and fish into small pieces. Mince the two together until you get a fine paste – it will take around 10 minutes.
  6. Add the green onion and ginger paste, cornstarch, white pepper, soy sauce, salt, cooking wine and egg to the fish and shrimp paste. Mix everything together in one direction only, until the paste becomes very thick and forms strands.
  7. To make the dumpling skins, take the dough and poke a hole through the centre so that it forms a doughnut shape. Gently squeeze the dough as you move it through your hands to make the ring thinner.
  8. Cut the ring of dough into evenly sized pieces, about 1.5cm long. Toss the pieces together in some flour to prevent them from sticking together.
  9. Flatten each piece with the heel of your palm. Using one hand, roll the edges of the skin with a rolling pin while the other hand rotates the skin. Make sure to rotate the skin evenly and roll only the edges so that the centre is slightly thicker.
  10. To assemble, place a small amount of filling in the centre of the wrapper. Bring the top and bottom edges together and pinch shut at the centre. Then fold in from each end towards the centre to create pleats.
  11. To cook the dumplings, add a small amount of oil to a flat bottom, nonstick pan over medium heat. Place the dumplings, pleated side up, in a circle around the pan.
  12. Once the dumpling start to sizzle, add some hot water to the pan and cover with a lid. Turn the heat down to low and let fry for about 10 – 12 minutes. You may need to add more water as it cooks if you see the pan starting to dry up.
  13. When dumplings are cooked, place a plate over the pan and flip it over.
  14. Enjoy the dumplings on its own or with some dipping sauce.


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