How to make maple pork and basil dumplings at home

Frankie Gaw shares a dish from his new cookbook.

October 22, 2022, 5:08 AM
A plate of maple and pork dumplings.
A plate of maple and pork dumplings.
Franklin Gaw

Seattle-based food writer, photographer, and designer Frankie Gaw joined "Good Morning America" to make a dish that marries classic and traditional techniques with inventive flavors and ingredients.

Gaw's food blog, "Little Fat Boy," which he founded while working as a product designer for companies such as Facebook and Airbnb, was nominated for a Webby and won Saveur's Blog Award in 2019.

Now, his debut cookbook "First Generation: Recipes from My Taiwanese-American Home" expands his story and recipes to new audiences.

Check out one of those recipes below, and learn to make his food at home.

Maple Pork and Basil Dumplings

"I love using my grandma's dumpling techniques with ingredients that she might've not necessarily chosen. This recipe marries classic ground pork with aromatic fresh basil and maple syrup. Onions provide additional natural sweetness and subtle texture in place of the traditional napa cabbage (but I do use my grandma's technique of salting and squeezing to drain the onion's excess water so it can become a sponge for flavor). Scallions, garlic, and ginger round out the rest of the flavors to create a filling full of contrasting tastes and textures. Pork is usually my go-to for the meat in this dumpling, but freshly ground chicken thigh makes a great substitute."


1 pack dumpling wrappers

For the filling
1 small sweet onion, finely diced
1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 pound ground pork
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
4 garlic cloves, grated
2 scallions, green and white parts, chopped
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons minced basil (1 large bunch)
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon maple syrup
Neutral oil for pan frying

Chopped chives
Chopped basil
Scallion oil


Prep the onions: In a large mixing bowl, combine the onions and the 1/2 teaspoon salt. Mix with your fingers to incorporate the salt throughout. Set the onions aside to sweat out water for about 10 minutes. Transfer to a thin dish towel or a few layers of thick paper towels and wrap round the onions to enclose. Using your hands and brute strength, squeeze out as much excess water from the onions as you can.

Make the filling: In a large mixing bowl, combine the onions, pork, ginger, garlic, scallions, basil, maple syrup, and the remaining 1 tablespoon salt. With your hands, using a circular motion, mix together until the filling looks homogeneous and feels sticky, about 3 minutes. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside in the fridge until ready to form the dumplings, up to a day in advance.

Fold the dumplings: When ready to fold, place a spoonful of filling about a third the size of the wrapper into the center of the wrapper. Seal the dumpling using the fold of your choice (see pages 131-136). Repeat until you've run out of filling or wrappers. Tip: If you have extra filling and have a pizza night, crumble some of this mixture onto your pizza. It pairs seamlessly with tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, and olives.

Pan fry the dumplings: In a large nonstick pan over medium-high heat, warm 1 tablespoon neutral oil and place the dumplings in the pan, bottoms down. Fry for 1-2 minutes, until the bottoms have browned. Add 1/2 cup of water to the pan and place a lid on top (the water will splatter when it hits the oil, so be careful!). Reduce the heat to medium and steam for 6-8 minutes, adding more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, if the water evaporates. Fetch the dumplings from the pan, and serve garnished with chives, basil, and a drizzle of scallion oil.

Reprinted with permission from First Generation: Recipes from My Taiwanese-American Home by Frankie Gaw. Text and photography by Franklin Gaw copyright  2022. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House.