Folding is the part of the dumpling making process that requires the most practice. In fact, it is an art form in many parts of the world. In the iconic Taiwanese restaurant chain From Tai FungEach piece is made with surgical precision: each piece of dough weighs 5 grams and is filled with 16 grams of filling. Each finished dumpling must have at least 18 fine folds and a finish at the top. Fortunately, we can be less precise at home.
There are many ways to fold a dumpling, and while some are incredibly complicated and require years of practice, simple techniques can also create attractive homemade dumplings. If you are new to making dumplings, start with less filling and the easier folds, gradually increasing both the amount of filling and the complexity of the folds over time.
Crimping or folding dumplings takes practice and perseverance. Folding is personal and you need to find the rhythm that feels right for you. Sometimes it might be more convenient to pleat with your non-dominant hand, or you might want to pleat the side of the dumpling furthest from you (rather than being closest which I prefer). I encourage you to try everything and find the method that feels most comfortable for you. Also, I recommend consulting videos online for pleating tutorials. These were very helpful for me in learning new folding techniques. And something that I keep reminding beginners about: the wrinkles are mostly aesthetic. Even if they don’t look great, the dumplings still taste delicious.
Here are seven different folds, from beginner to advanced, that will give you a logical path to developing your dumpling-folding techniques. Aside from the gok-jai fold, which I learned as a kid, these are the folds that I have practiced the most on my own journey to dumpling. Make sure to try them out to see what feels most comfortable for you.
The following folds apply to round wrappers unless otherwise noted. Store-bought wrappers usually need to be moistened with water around the edges, while homemade wrappers have enough moisture to seal them without adding additional water (The exception is if they have been dusted with a lot of flour. In this case, you may need to dab with water to make them seal.)
This is the simplest fold, but it makes a very nice dumpling. Place the filling in the middle of the packaging, fold it over and seal it. Done! If you want to cook them like a potsticker, press the bottom down on a flat surface to form a flat “seat” for them to sit upright.