Turkey Steamed Chinese Dumplings are a fun twist on traditional Chinese crystal skin dumplings like Fun Guo (pork) and Har Gow (prawn). With added cranberries, they’re ideal for something a little different around the holidays or Christmas but equally great for a dim sum feast at any time of year!
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I’ve talked before about how I created my Satay Sprouts recipe for a Boxing Day feast. I wanted to create a menu with flavours which were totally removed from the baked cheeses, roast dinners, glazed hams and other traditional festive fayre. And with my love of all things Asian, dumplings and Korean Pork were the obvious winners.
But I wanted to twist things up and incorporate some traditional Christmas food too. Hence the creation of the Satay Sprouts and these Turkey & Cranberry Dumplings. I’ll be honest, they were both a triumph.
It was a given from first mouthful and the ooohs and ahhs from around the table that I would have to refine and write up the recipe. Which is exactly what I’ve done.
I don’t want you to think that this is a Christmas (or indeed Thanksgiving) leftovers post. I’ll be upfront and say that this recipe requires raw turkey mince. The filling wouldn’t hold together using precooked meat and the texture would not be great.
Dumpling making is however a brilliant family activity. I like to get a production line going. Some people can roll dough and some can fold and crimp the dumplings. This is nice as a “something to do” activity on Boxing Day morning or at anytime before.
The best thing about dumplings is that you can make a big batch and then freeze them.
How to Serve Turkey & Cranberry Dumplings
If I am creating a dim sum feast then I would serve these dumplings with a selection of others. It is especially nice to combine some fried elements (I usually pan fry gyozas) and steamed dumplings.
Various dipping sauces are essential. I’ve created my Cranberry Soy Dipping Sauce to pair with these dumplings. It continues the twist on classic Christmas flavours but with a firm Asian twist. I really love it – I’m quite pleased with myself!
With a selection of dumplings I’d also serve my classic Dumpling Dipping Sauce and something like a sweet chilli sauce. If I was really going to town, I might even throw in some Satay Sauce for dipping.
But if I was serving these Turkey Dumplings as just one part of a larger feast like I did on Boxing Day, I’d stick with just one sauce. Of course I’d recommend the cranberry version.
Chopsticks are traditional when eating steamed dumplings but they can be very tricky to pick up and hold. Even for the chopstick competent. Don’t be embarrassed to use your fingers or a fork. A supportive soup spoon can help those determined to see the use of chopsticks through.
The most important thing when serving steamed dumplings is to serve them piping hot. I usually serve them at the table in their steaming basket on a plate. Take one and replace the lid. Repeat.
Make Turkey Steamed Chinese Dumplings into a Feast
I truly believe that you can make any dish into a proper feast! Whether thats a feast for one after work on a Tuesday, a casual feast for four on a Friday evening or a feast for 12 for a special occasion!
These turkey dumplings are entirely interchangeable with any of the other dumplings included in my Big Asian Feast. The Feast starts with Edamame nibbles and a selection of dumplings also including Har Gow and Tofu Crystal Dumplings along with Miso Soup.
There follows a selection of fabulous dishes to share including Korean Belly Pork, Teriyaki Tofu, Sesame Tenderstem and Sweet Chilli Salmon. It’s all served with Sticky Rice and followed by an unusual Chinese Steamed Cake.
Don’t forget to head over to the Big Asian Feast post for all of my tips and tricks to help you host a fun and stress-free feast. Plus remember to check out my other feast collections and all my Asian inspired recipes.
Ingredients for Turkey Steamed Chinese Dumplings
As I’ve mentioned, you do want to be using fresh ground or minced turkey for this recipe. Ready cooked leftovers are going to struggle to create a good texture.
Ground turkey tends to be fairly lean. Leaner than the pork which this recipe was adapted from. Whilst I don’t buy the turkey with the least fat anyway, I have compensated for the reduced fat with a little extra oil in the filling recipe. Too little fat and the dumplings won’t have sufficient flavour.
Chinese dried mushrooms can be bought in vac packed bags. They can be dry and crispy or soft and pliable. The latter can be easily cut and cooked with without being re-hydrated but the drier kind need to be soaked. These are what I prefer.
If you are struggling to find the dried mushrooms or simply can’t be bothered to look, simply omit the ingredient. I would not recommend substituting them with fresh as the moisture content will affect the filling consistency.
These are entirely optional but do add a great pop to the final dumplings. They’re a little bit sweet and a little bit sour. So whilst I do say that they’re optional and I only added them to be festive, I’m going to be making them year round with the cranberry.
Shaoxing Rice Wine
This is a great product that adds loads of flavour so it really is worth investing in a bottle. But alternatively you could use sake or even just a regular dry sherry. If you don’t cook with alcohol simply substitute it with water.
This is important. Wheat starch is not flour. You cannot substitute flour for the wheat starch. This is an ingredient that you can buy in small bags from Asian grocers. It has the texture of cornflour so do be careful that it doesn’t fly everywhere when you open the packet.
This is another ingredient that you will most likely want to buy from an Asian grocers. Saying that, I have seen this in supermarkets labelled as tapioca starch or even cassava flour. It is all the same thing. Tapioca flour also has a very fine consistency.
Please do not be flexible with the dough recipe. In fact please be very specific and accurate. It is a really easy dough to make and work with but it does rely on the correct proportions of the various flours, water and oil.
The fillings are however super flexible. This turkey version is an adaptation of the pork filling from the Fun Guo version. The pork and turkey minces are pretty interchangeable. For a seafood option, try Har Gow which is packed with king prawn (shrimp).
You really can play about with the ingredients and mix ins so have fun experimenting. If you are not sure how the filling will taste you can test it before making the dumplings. Simply fry off a teaspoon of the filling in a pan and taste it. Adjust the seasoning etc if you need to. If the mixture is very loose, add a little cornflour. If it is very stiff, add some water.
As for how the dumplings are folded, well thats the fun bit! You might have noticed that each of the dumplings that I’ve made has a different fold. This is just so that my pictures all look different. And so I don’t confuse which is which in the freezer.
But there is absolutely nothing wrong with folding any dumpling exactly how you want. The half moon of the Fun Guo is certainly the simplest. The extra fold on the Tofu Crystal Dumplings is easy but makes for an impressive shape. And the pleated folds on the Har Gow are probably the trickiest to master. But they are certainly the most rewarding and fun!
And if you don’t want to make the dough at all, simply buy some gyoza or wonton wrappers. You will need a little water to seal the edges. And if you plan to try a Siu Mai shape with this filling, omit 2 tbsp of water so the mix is a little stiffer.
Make Turkey Steamed Chinese Dumplings Vegetarian or Vegan
The simplest way to make this a vegetarian or vegan dumpling is to substitute in the tofu filling from my Tofu Crystal Dumplings. But do add the dried cranberries and sub a tablespoon of water for Shaoxing Rice Wine for the festive kick.
Alternatively you can sub the ground turkey with a veggie or vegan meat substitute product.
Make it Allergy Friendly
This recipe is free from egg, dairy and nuts.
Nut Free: Saying this, sesame can trigger nut allergies in some people so it is best to check if you are planning on serving this to someone who is allergic or intolerant.
Gluten Free: The only potential gluten containing ingredient in this recipe is the Wheat Starch. Having done some research, it seems that as wheat starch is a processed element of wheat, it contains so little gluten that it is often considered gluten free, even for a coeliac diet.
But the advice does vary so please please do your own research and ask anyone that you are cooking for whether they can tolerate wheat starch.
Please note that this recipe may contain other allergens not referred to above and any variations suggested have not been tested unless otherwise stated. For more information regarding any dietary information provided on this website, please refer to my Nutritional Disclaimer.
Equipment Notes for Turkey Steamed Chinese Dumplings
If you don’t have a kettle you should buy one immediately. In the meantime, boil the water in a small saucepan. Boil more than you need then measure it once heated. You don’t want to lose water to evaporation and mess up the quantities. Seriously though, buy a kettle.
Whether you choose to roll out your dough on a wooden board, plastic chopping board or your counter top, DO NOT flour or oil the surface. The dough will not stick but flour/oil will change the texture of the dough.
I own a small nylon rolling pin purely for the purpose of making dumplings. It was only a few quid and it is way easier to use than my super heavy marble rolling pin. I would highly recommend tracking one down.
After some experimenting with the various sizes of cookie cutters which are included in my little set, I determined that the 3″ cutter (or red/2nd smallest) was the perfect size for these dumplings. Use the straight side rather than the fluted unless you are very talented at matching up the fluted edges.
There are various options for steaming the dumplings. I prefer to use bamboo steamers lined with parchment circles. They are easy, quick to clean and balance perfectly on my medium sized saucepan. Using the steamer part of my saucepan set is another option as would be using an electric steamer.
A comprehensive list of the equipment used to make this recipe is included in the main recipe card below. Click on any item to see an example. There are no hard and fast rules so many items can be sensibly substituted to achieve the same results.
Dumplings are the ultimate get ahead food. Lay them on a tray and freeze. Once they’re hard you can transfer them to a bag or box and then simply dip in for months. They cook straight from frozen.
They can also be made up to 24 hours in advance and kept covered in the fridge before being cooked.
Leftover Chinese Steamed Turkey Dumplings
I generally try to only cook the amount of dumplings that are going to actually get eaten. And as I generally grab them from frozen, leftovers aren’t much of a issue.
But if you do end up with extras, or if you find that the dumplings have cooled too much, they can be re-steamed. I will also sometimes give them a cheeky pan fry afterwards to give them some extra crispy texture. Or if I’m feeling really adventurous, I might even deep fry them!
Steamed Dumpling Tips
The ingredient quantities look quite small and they are but the dough is very thin when used so a little really does go a long way.
Dumplings are not something to be made in a stress or short time frame. It is much better to sit down and relax whilst filling and folding. Definitely best made in advance.
Also don’t stress about the dumpling folding. It really doesn’t matter how they look. Plus as the dumplings steam, the dough expands a bit and makes even the ugliest folds look pretty impressive.
It is worth trying to get the dough pretty thin. If you pick up a round and think “oh this is easier” its probably too thick. And this isn’t a visual issue. If the dough is thick, it will be chewy and unpleasant to eat.
Don’t forget to let me know in the comments if you try making this recipe – I want to know what you think and if you made any substitutions, how did it turn out?
Still Have Questions?
Simple! Just contact me and I will do my best to help as quickly as I am able. Head over to my Contact Me page, any of my social media channels or post a comment at the bottom of this page and I’ll see what I can do.
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More Dim Sum Recipes
Turkey Steamed Chinese Dumplings
FOR THE FILLING
- 10 g Chinese Dried Mushroom
- 220 g Ground Turkey
- 1 tsp Baking Powder
- 1 tbsp Sugar
- 1 tbsp Light Soy Sauce (Gluten free if required)
- 1 tbsp Sesame Oil
- 1 tbsp Vegetable Oil
- ¼ tsp White Pepper
- 1 tbsp Shaoxing Rice Wine - or Dry Sherry
- 2 tbsp Cornflour (Cornstarch)
- 20 g Dried Cranberries
FOR THE DOUGH
- 90 g Wheat Starch
- 60 g Tapioca Flour
- 60 g Cornflour - Cornstarch
- 1.5 tsp Sugar
- 1 tsp Fine Salt
- 180 g Water
- 1 tbsp Vegetable Oil
- Cranberry Soy Dipping Sauce
PREPARE THE FILLING
- Boil the kettle and cover 10g Chinese Dried Mushroom with boiling water in a small bowl. Set aside to soak.
- Add 220g Ground Turkey to a mixing bowl along with 1 tsp Baking Powder, 1 tbsp Sugar, 1 tbsp Light Soy, 1 tbsp Sesame Oil, 1 tbsp Vegetable Oil, ¼ tsp White Pepper, 1 tbsp Shaoxing Rice Wine, 2 tbsp Cold Water and 2 tbsp Cornflour.
- Add 2 tbsp of the water from the soaking mushrooms to the filling bowl. Drain the mushrooms and squeeze out any excess liquid. Finely chop the mushrooms.
- Add them to the turkey and stir until everything is thoroughly combined.
- Stir in 20g Dried Cranberries. Set aside in the fridge whilst making the dough.
PREPARE THE DOUGH
- Sieve 90g Wheat Starch, 60g Tapioca Flour, 60g Cornflour, 1.5 tsp Sugar and 1 tsp Fine Salt into a medium bowl.
- Add 180g Boiling Water. Mix quickly for only 20 seconds then cover the bowl and leave for 3 minutes. This 'cooks' the flour.
- Add 1 tbsp Vegetable Oil to the dough and knead until very smooth. This doesn't take long at all. And it goes VERY smooth.
- Divide the dough into thirds. Roll each chunk into a thick sausage and then divide each sausage into 8 equal pieces. (you will need to adjust this is you have adjusted the number of servings in this recipe from 30). You should end up with 24 pieces in total. You will use offcuts to make the remaining dumplings.
- Keep the dough balls in a plastic bag with the top kept tightly wound or Tupperware container with a lid to stop them from drying out.
ASSEMBLE THE DUMPLINGS
- Assemble the turkey mix, dough pieces, rolling pin, board and cookie cutter in one place.
- Roll out one of the dough balls to about 0.5mm thick. Keep turning and flipping the dough to prevent it sticking. Do not use flour or oil on the board,
- Cut out a round with a smooth edged 3 inch cookie cutter.
- Squeeze the cuttings together and place back in the plastic bag or tub with the rest of the dough.
- Pick up the dough round and add about a teaspoon of filling.
- Fold the dough in half to form a half moon. Pinch the dough together only at the very top edge.
- Use your thumb to push one loose side into the middle. It will naturally form 2 new edges.
- Pinch each of those edges together to fully seal.
- Repeat with the other open side. You may need to poke the filling back in a little if it has started to creep out.
- Place the folded dumpling onto a tray and continue to repeat with the other balls of dough.
- There should be some filling left so squeeze together all the off cuts and roll them out to form as many extra dumplings as you can get. You should make roughly a further 6.
TO STEAM THE DUMPLINGS:
- To cook the dumplings, place them in a steamer basket and cook for 8 minutes over boiling hot water. To cook from frozen, allow 12 minutes.
- Serve with Cranberry Soy Dipping Sauce.