Join us on this weeks episode of Ballgowns and Booze as Natalie and Elouise cook some delicious Beef Dumplings with Hot and Sour Soup and pair this with Verwoods Sparkling Chardonnay Pinot Noir. Natalie particularly enjoyed this food wine pairing as the dish is soft and not too overpowering.

Originally, the sweet and sour sauce would come from Hunan province in China. Very popular throughout the country, the Chinese serve it as an accompaniment to dishes based on fish or seafood, mainly as a dipping sauce. Its taste can vary depending on the food served and even be very different from that known in the West.

Sweet and sour chicken and pork, considered by us to be very popular dishes in Chinese cuisine, are therefore not typically Chinese recipes. Astonishing? In fact, it was the restaurateurs from Chinese immigration who invented these dishes to adapt to the tastes of our Western palates … Seeing that their spicy recipes were not unanimous, they had to find alternative dishes sweeter: this is how the famous sweet and sour chicken was born!


For the dough

  • 300g all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1pinch salt
  • 160ml water, see note 1

For the filling

  • 300g minced beef, see note 2
  • 1stalk scallions, finely chopped
  • 1tsp minced ginger
  • 1/2tsp ground Sichuan pepper, or Chinese five-spice powder
  • 1tsp Shaoxing rice wine
  • 5tsp salt
  • 150ml water, or stock
  • 150g Chinese chives, finely chopped
  • 1tsp sesame oil

For the spiced vinegar

For EACH bowl of soup


Make the dough

  • In a mixing bowl, add flour, salt and water. Knead with your hands (or a stand mixer with a fitted dough hook) to form a medium-firm dough (See note 1).
  • Leave to rest for 30-60 minutes. Then knead again until smooth.

Mix the filling

  • Mix beef, spring onion, ginger, ground Sichuan pepper (or five-spice powder), rice wine and salt.
  • Swirl constantly in the same direction while gradually adding water/stock into the mixture until all the liquid is completely absorbed.
  • Add Chinese chive and sesame oil then mix well.

Prepare the spiced vinegar

  • Simmer all the ingredients for the spiced vinegar for 5 mins (cover with a lid) then drain through a sieve. Discard the spices. Set aside.

Roll the wrappers (please refer to the video below)

  • Make a loop with the dough (about 2.5 cm / 1 inch in diameter). Cut it into about 40 equal sections.
  • Press each piece into a small disc with the palm of your hand.
  • Use a rolling pin to flatten it into a thin disc (always remember to dust with flour if the dough sticks).

Shape the dumplings

  • Place a spoonful of filling in the middle of a wrapper. Fold the wrapper, then seal it. You may do it any way you like as long as you make sure there is no leakage (See note 3).

Cook the dumplings

  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil over a high heat. Gently slide in half of the dumplings (see note 3). Cover with a lid.
  • When the water returns to a boil, pour in about 120 ml of cold water then cover. Repeat the same procedure another two times (see note 4).

Assemble the bowl

  • While waiting for the dumplings to cook, prepare the serving bowls. Pour 1-2 tablespoons of spiced vinegar into each bowl. Add all the remaining ingredients. Spoon in cooked dumplings along with some water from the pot.

How to freeze dumplings

  • Freeze raw dumplings right after they are assembled. Lay them on a tray (dust with flour or line with parchment paper). When totally frozen, transfer them into an air-tight bag.
  • No need to defrost before cooking. Follow the same cooking procedure described above.

Easy recipe


For the dumplings:

  • 130 ml of milk
  • 600 g ground beef
  • 200 ml breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 200 ml chopped onion
  • 2 crushed garlic cloves
  • 1 C. mustard

For the sweet and sour sauce: 

  • 2 tsp. 1⁄2 teaspoon cornflour
  • 300 ml brown sugar
  • 150 ml of vinegar
  • 150 ml of water
  • 1 C. mustard
  • 200 ml ketchup


  •  Preheat the oven to 180 ° C.
  •  In a bowl, mix all the ingredients for the meatballs. Shape the meatballs using your hands and place them in an ovenproof dish.
  • In a bowl, mix the cornstarch with the water, add the rest of the sauce ingredients and mix. Pour the sauce into a saucepan and thicken, while stirring, for ten minutes over low heat.
  •  Pour the sauce over the meatballs and cook uncovered for 40 minutes.

Check our ‘Ballgowns &  Booze Beef Dumplings with Hot & Sour Soup’ episode here:

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