How does one meld two incredible Japanese recipes into one? By making Japanese Curry Chicken Dumplings! Crispy, chewy dumplings filled with ground chicken and pork, green peas, and a plethora of spices make up the bulk of this recipe. The Japanese curry dipping sauce, however, is the cherry on the figurative sundae.
(This recipe was originally published in December 2015, but was updated with new photos and content in 2020).
Dumpling. One simple word holds so much meaning and incites vivid thoughts of gastronomic pleasure. If I had to pick a single favorite food, it would be dumplings. Not simply Asian dumplings, but really the entire span of dumplings from all global regions. Dough encasing delicious filling is a universally loved treasure. I've cooked my share of dumplings from all cultures over the years.
The recipe for these incredible Japanese curry chicken dumplings is adapted from Kenny Lao's Hey There, Dumpling! cookbook. He's the founder and owner of New York City’s former dumpling haven, Rickshaw Dumplings.
These curry dumplings are a play on two traditional Japanese recipes. If you love dumplings and Japanese curry, the combination will be right up your alley.
The curry flavor is fantastic. Especially in conjunction with the extra curry sauce for dipping, it's really a super flavorful dumpling. Add a bit of brightness from the peas, and these dumplings really do encompass the best of Japanese curry chicken in dumpling form.
How to make them
I suggest placing a napkin directly under your chin to catch excessive drool as we get started. These are pretty epic.
Begin by making a homemade Japanese curry sauce. Many recipes for Japanese curry tend to use store-bought Japanese curry cubes. Making the Japanese curry sauce from scratch is actually quite simple and straight-forward.
First melt some butter, and then stir or whisk in flour to make a roux (PHOTOS 1-2). Then add ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, curry powder, garam masala, kosher salt and pepper, stirring to combine (PHOTOS 3-4).
Please keep in mind that both curry powder and garam masala are technically spice blends and can differ from brand to brand. This can certainly cause variances in the curry sauce depending on the particular curry powder and garam masala you use.
Slowly whisk in water until smooth, adding a little at a time to prevent lumps (PHOTO 5). Cook the sauce for a few minutes until nice and thick (PHOTO 6).
Measure out ½ cup of the curry sauce and transfer to a mixing bowl. Set the remaining sauce aside for serving. When the curry sauce in the mixing bowl has cooled, add ground chicken and pork, finely chopped onion and ginger, thawed frozen peas, and kosher salt and pepper. You may substitute additional ground chicken in place of the pork if you don't eat pork.
Mix with your hands until combined. If you have time, refrigerate the filling for a couple hours before assembling.
When you're ready to assemble your curry chicken dumplings, lay out 5 or 6 of the wrappers on a work surface. Cover the rest with a kitchen towel so they don't dry out. Add some water to a small bowl and set it by your work area. Wet the edges of each dumpling wrapper with a little water (I just use my finger), and then spoon about 1 tablespoon of filling into the center of each.
Pinch each dumpling closed in the center and then pleat the edges on either side. It will almost look like a cannoli after you pinch the center. Then just make a couple folds on either side (PHOTOS 7-9).
You can also just seal the dumplings into simple half moon shapes without any pleating.
Arrange the shaped dumplings in a single layer on small baking sheets or cafeteria trays. Continue with the remaining wrappers and filling.
Add vegetable oil to a large nonstick skillet, and heat over medium-high heat. Arrange dumplings in a circle and cook for a couple minutes until the bottoms are starting to brown (PHOTO 10). Hold the lid at an angle over the skillet with a small gap on one side. Pour in some water (about ¼ inch deep) through the gap, and quickly cover the lid to prevent splattering.
Cook the dumplings covered for about 8 minutes or until most of the water has evaporated (PHOTO 11). Remove the lid and continue to cook the dumplings until the bottoms are golden brown and crispy (PHOTO 12). Remove dumplings with a spatula, arranging them with the crispy bottoms up so they don't get soggy.
Reheat the remaining curry sauce in a small saucepan, although a microwave will work in a pinch. Add a spoonful or two of water as needed to thin out the sauce to your desired consistency. Serve the hot dumplings immediately with the curry sauce on the side for dipping.
I actually made the batch I photographed for this post with an 8 year old's assistance. He laid out the dumpling wrappers, wet the edges, and then pinched the wrappers closed in the center after I topped them with filling. Then I proceeded to finish pleating, and finally cook them. If an 8 year old can do it, so can you!
These are especially simple to make since they utilize store-bought dumpling wrappers. I prefer to use Shanghai-Style Dumpling Wrappers by Twin Marquis. Please note that wonton wrappers are not the same, and cannot be substituted for the dumpling wrappers.
These dumpling wrappers are relatively large in size, and can fit a generous amount of filling. The wrappers freeze well, but just make sure to throw the package into a freezer bag to prevent freezer burn. They can also dry out and crack at the edges if you freeze them for too long.
I try not to freeze the wrappers any longer than 1 month before planning a dumpling expedition. Although I enjoy making homemade dumplings wrappers, I often have a pack of these in my freezer for dumpling emergencies.
To make these dumplings in advance, after assembling your dumplings and arranging on trays, cover with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel. You may now refrigerate them for a couple hours before cooking. If you plan to refrigerate them for a bit longer, transfer them in a single layer to a container with a lid.
Freeze uncooked curry chicken dumplings by arranging in a single layer on a tray or sheet pan. Freeze until firm, then transfer to freezer bags. Cook the dumplings either thawed or from a frozen state. They may require a bit longer to cook if frozen. Freeze leftover sauce in ice cube trays, and then transfer to a freezer bag.
Other dumpling recipes you may like
- Edamame Dumplings
- Pea Shoots and Leek Dumplings
- Pork and Shrimp Dumplings
- Chicken and Mushroom Siu Mai
- Spicy Beef Dumplings
- Fish Dumplings
- Browse all Noodle & Dumpling Recipes
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Japanese Curry Chicken Dumplings
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ¼ cup (35 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon yellow curry powder
- 1 tablespoon garam masala
- 1 tablespoon ketchup
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 8 ounces (225 grams) ground pork
- 8 ounces (225 grams) ground chicken
- ½ cup (68 grams) frozen peas, thawed
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
- 2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
- 1 (1 pound / 455 gram) package round dumpling wrappers
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (or other neutral oil)
- Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring continuously, until browned and the raw smell dissipates, about 2 minutes. Add the curry powder, garam masala, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, ½ teaspoon kosher salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring continuously, for 1 minute.
- Slowly whisk in 1 cup water, adding a little at a time to ensure the mixture is smooth and doesn't get lumpy. Bring to a boil and simmer, stirring frequently, until the sauce has thickened. Transfer ½ cup to a large bowl and let cool to room temperature. Reserve the remaining sauce in a separate bowl for serving.
- After the sauce in the bowl has cooled, add the pork, chicken, peas, onion, ginger, and the remaining 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Use your hands to work all the ingredients together until well-mixed. It’s best to use your hands because you can get everything incorporated into the meat without making the pieces of meat too small.
- If you have time, cover and refrigerate the filling until nice and cold, up to 2 days. The filling will be easier to spoon into your wrappers when it’s chilled.
- Take out five or six wrappers and cover the rest so they don't dry out. Lay out the wrappers on a work surface. Wet ½ inch of the rim of each wrapper with water (just use your finger).
- Scoop 1 tablespoon of filling into the center of each wrapper, shaping it elongated like a football to make it easier to fold. Fold the wrapper in half like a taco and pinch the edges at the top center. Continue folding the dumpling using your preferred folding method (simply press the edges together or pleat to create another shape).
- At this point, the dumplings can either be cooked immediately, covered and refrigerated for up to a couple hours, or frozen.
- When you’re ready to cook your dumplings, use a medium or large nonstick skillet with a lid (or cook two batches at the same time using two pans). Heat the skillet over medium-high heat and add about 1 tablespoon neutral oil (like vegetable oil).
- Place the dumplings 1 at a time, sealed edges up, in a winding circle pattern. The dumplings can touch. Medium skillets will generally fit 12 to 14 dumplings, large skillets will fit 16 to 18 dumplings. Fry the dumplings for 1 to 2 minutes until they are golden or light brown on the bottom.
- Holding the lid close to the skillet to lessen splatter, use a measuring cup to add water to a depth of roughly ¼ inch (about ⅓ cup water). The water will immediately sputter and boil vigorously. Cover with a lid or aluminum foil, lower the heat to medium, and let the water bubble away for 8 to 10 minutes, until it is mostly gone. When you hear sizzling noises, remove the lid as most of the water is now gone. Let the dumplings fry for another 1 or 2 minutes, or until the bottoms are brown and crisp. Turn off the heat and use a spatula to transfer dumplings to a serving plate. Display them with their bottoms facing up so they remain crisp.
- Reheat the remaining curry sauce in a small saucepan (or in the microwave, if necessary), thinning it out with a few spoonfuls of water as needed to obtain your desired consistency. Serve the dumplings with the reserved dipping sauce.
- I prefer to use Shanghai-Style Dumpling Wrappers by Twin Marquis. These are a relatively large size, and can fit a generous amount of filling. Please note that wonton wrappers are not a suitable substitute for dumpling wrappers.
- Freeze uncooked dumplings by arranging in a single layer on a tray or sheet pan. Freeze until firm, then transfer to freezer bags. Cook the dumplings either thawed or from a frozen state. They may require a bit longer to cook if frozen. Freeze leftover sauce in ice cube trays, and then transfer to a freezer bag.
- This filling uses equal parts ground chicken and ground pork. If you don't eat pork for any reason, substitute with additional ground chicken.
- This recipe uses kosher salt (aka cooking salt, kitchen salt, coarse salt outside of the US). If you are using table salt, definitely scale down the salt as that is a saltier type of salt! The type of salt will make a big difference in how salty your food tastes, so keep that in mind.
- Adapted from Hey There, Dumpling!
*All nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary with brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes and more.*