This easy chive and pork dumplings recipe makes the Cambodian-Chinese version of jiaozi, the delicious dumplings found right across China. In Cambodia, they are more rustic – no fancy pleating here – and packed with chives and a little ground pork mince. Dip them in either chilli oil or a do-it-yourself sauce of chilli, soy and vinegar.
Our chive and pork dumplings recipe makes the Cambodian-Chinese rendition of jiaozi, the addictive Chinese dumplings that come in myriad forms, the filling, folding, shape, and pleating distinguishing one dumpling from the next. Boiled, steamed and fried, dumplings are cooked all over China and in countries in Asia where the Chinese travelled, traded and settled, and Chinese communities formed, such as Cambodia.
Dumplings have been filling stomachs for at least 1,700 years. That’s how old the world’s oldest dumplings were when discovered by archaeologists in an ancient tomb in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region. Well-preserved, the wheat-flour dumplings looked pretty much like dumplings do today, crescent-shaped and stuffed with meat.
Here in Cambodia, chive and pork dumplings are also crescent-shaped, rustic, with thick dough, and no fancy pleating. The Chinese-Cambodian chive and pork dumplings are packed with chives, with just a little ground pork used. We’ve tweaked the traditional recipe, adding scallions and garlic to the mix, and used more fatty pork mince, so they’re more flavourful and juicier.
I’ll tell you more how Cambodian food came to include Chinese-Cambodian dishes and more about this easy chive and pork dumplings recipe in a moment. But first we have a favour to ask.
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Now let me tell you about this Cambodian-Chinese chive and pork dumplings recipe.
Easy Chive and Pork Dumplings Recipe for the Cambodian-Chinese Take on Jiaozi
This easy chive and pork dumplings recipe makes the Cambodian-Chinese version of jiaozi, the deliciously addictive dumplings that you’ll find right around China in different shapes and forms, and stuffed with different ingredients depending on the region. Eaten all year, jiaozi are also a Chinese New Year specialty.
Chinese emissaries, travellers and merchants first came to Cambodia at the beginning of the Common Era (CE) although the first written record of a Chinese community settled in Cambodia dates to 1296 and Chinese envoy Zhou Daguan’s journal describing his year at Angkor.
The Portuguese recorded that there was a Chinese settlement in Phnom Penh in the 17th century and we know that significant numbers of Chinese troops fleeing Fujian and Guangdong after the 1644 fall of the Ming Dynasty settled in Indochina, in the Mekong Delta, which was then part of Cambodia, but is now part of Vietnam.
Chinese-Cambodians of mixed Chinese and Khmer ancestry therefore comprise a sizeable chunk of Cambodia’s population and Cambodian cuisine – distinct from Khmer cuisine – features many dishes that are recognisable as having originated in China or are a fusion of Chinese and Khmer.
While having its provenance in China, Chinese-Cambodian cuisine is distinct from Chinese cuisine in Cambodia.
These chive and pork dumplings are considered to be Chinese-Cambodian and they’re typically found at unpretentious eateries that specialise in hand-pulled noodles, handmade dumplings, soups, and stir-fries.
Tips to Making this Easy Chive and Pork Dumplings Recipe for the Cambodian-Chinese Take on Jiaozi
This chive and pork dumplings recipe is inspired by the handmade dumplings we’ve been eating at our favourite hand-pulled noodles and handmade dumplings joint in Battambang for years. They are super-easy to make.
There’s no need to mess about with bought wrappers, which won’t give you the doughy texture of these rustic, handmade, home-style dumplings that are so loved in Cambodia.
The Cambodian-Chinese chive and pork dumplings we order at eateries here are mostly packed with chives with just a little ground pork.
I’ve added scallions and garlic to the mix, and more ground pork and I’ve used fatty pork mince so they’re juicier.
I’ve also seasoned the mixture, rather than relying only on condiments for flavour, and I’ve fried the pork and chive mix first – usually the dumpling is filled with a raw mixture. The dipping sauces are the same.
Here in Cambodia, dumpling lovers tend to opt for either a chilli oil or a do-it-yourself dipping sauce of chilli sauce, dark soy and Chinese black vinegar, which are usually mixed by diners in their own individual dishes at the table.
We’re red chilli oil lovers who tend to drown the dumplings in the stuff. We have a recipe for Sichuan red chilli oil here and if you like these dumplings you might also like these Sichuan wontons, which are made for that oil.
And if you don’t want to make it yourself, you can always buy Sichuan-style chilli oil.
Easy Chive and Pork Dumplings Recipe
- 4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup water
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp cooking oil
- 2 cloves garlic - finely chopped
- 300 g minced pork - fatty; 15-20%
- 1 cup Chinese chives - chopped into 1cm lengths
- ½ cup scallions / spring onions - chopped into 1cm lengths
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- chives - finely chopped
- dipping sauce
- chilli oil - dark soy, black vinegar, dark soy
- In a mixing bowl, stir the flour, salt and water until well combined, then remove and knead on a surface dusted with flour for about 5 minutes until smooth.
- Separate into 4 more manageable balls of dough, before returning them to the mixing bowl to rest for 10 minutes, covering the bowl a damp cotton tea towel.
- Fry the finely chopped garlic in the neutral cooking oil until fragrant, taking care so that it doesn’t burn, then add the fatty pork mince, separating it with a fork so it doesn’t clump together. Add the salt and pepper and combine well.
- When the pork mince is just cooked, add the finely chopped Chinese chives and scallions, combine well, and remove from heat. Transfer to a bowl to cool.
- On a surface dusted with flour, roll out one of the balls of dough to a thickness of around 2mm, then using a 78mm round pastry cutter or rim of a glass, cut the dough rounds. You should get around 7 rounds per ball of dough.
- Holding a round in one hand, and with a teaspoon in the other, dig deep into the chive and pork mince mixture to get the juices at the bottom of the bowl, ensuring that every spoonful of mixture is moist, and place a teaspoonful of pork and chives at the centre of the round.
- Fold one side over and pinch the edges together tight from top to bottom to seal the dumpling. If the dough has dried out a little, dip your finger into a bowl of water and run it along the rim of one-half of the round of dough then pinch together. There’s no need for any fancy pleating – in Cambodia these dumplings are rustic.
- Once sealed, pop the dumpling onto a large tray dusted with flour, sealed side up and squash down a little.
- Repeat until you have used up all the ingredients. When a tray is full, cover with a damp cotton tea towel.
- Add a pinch of salt to a large pot of water and bring to a boil. Gently slide the dumplings into the pot in batches that ensure that they’re not too crowded. After they rise to the surface, boil for another few minutes until cooked.
- When one batch is ready, scoop the dumplings out with a slotted spoon, and transfer to a strainer to drain, then repeat. If concerned the dumplings might get cold, transfer to a casserole dish and toss in a little sesame oil so they don’t stick.
- Once all dumplings are done, plate individually or serve in a big bowl at the centre of the table, garnished with finely chopped chives and doused in sesame oil or chilli oil. Provide condiments and distribute small bowls so guests can create their own dipping sauce.
Please do let us know if you make this pork and chive dumpling recipe as we’d love to know how they turn out for you.