MAKES: 50 About 50 wrappers
TIME: 40 minutes
This versatile wrapper can be used to make all sorts of dumplings, pot stickers, wontons, and egg rolls, as well as hand-cut noodles that can be used in Euro-style recipes as well as Asian. The recipe makes enough for two batches of the stuffings that follow; so you can pack away half of the wrappers in the freezer, double the stuffing, or make two different kinds of dumplings.
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
1 teaspoon salt
Put the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl and gradually stir in about 1/2 cup cold water, until the dough comes together in a ball. The dough should be quite dry. Turn onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes, sprinkling with flour as necessary to prevent sticking.
Or use a food processor: Put the flour and salt in the container and add the water gradually while the machine is running; add as much water as necessary to form a dough ball again, the dough should be dry then let the machine run for about 15 seconds. Finish the kneading by hand, using as much flour as necessary to keep it from sticking.
Shape the dough into a ball, dust with flour, and cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel. Let it rest for 20 minutes to 2 hours. (The dough may be made ahead to this point, wrapped tightly, and refrigerated for up to a day; bring to room temperature before proceeding.)
Knead the ball for a minute, then cut into 4 pieces. On a lightly floured surface, roll each piece into a 1-inch log, then cut into 1-inch pieces and roll each one out from the center to form a 4-inch round or square, adding a bit more flour if necessary. (You can also roll sheets of dough with a pasta machine, then cut into desired shapes; see Using a Manual Pasta-Rolling Machine.) Use immediately or dust with flour, stack, wrap tightly, and refrigerate (up to a couple of days) or freeze (up to 2 weeks).
Whole Wheat Dumpling Wrappers. Simply use whole wheat flour for all or part of the white flour. You will need to add more water; just do so a little at a time. And the dumplings will need to cook a minute or two longer.
Egg Roll Wrappers or Wonton Skins. You can use these as slightly richer dumpling wrappers or for wontons or egg rolls: Add 1 egg to the flour-salt mix, then reduce the water to a little less than 1/2 cup. Proceed with the recipe. In step 3, cut the dough ball into 4 pieces and roll out each one. Cut 3-inch squares for dumpling wrappers or wonton skins, 6-inch squares for egg roll wrappers.
Chinese Style Fresh Noodles. Made from either the main recipe or either of the preceding variations: In Step 3, after cutting the dough into 4 pieces, roll out each piece into a rectangle. Try to roll the dough as thinly as possible without ripping it, preferably to 1/8 inch thick. Lightly dust the rectangles, fold into quarters lengthwise, then use a sharp knife to cut each folded rectangle into thin strips. Alternatively, use a pasta machine: Put the dough rectangles through the smallest setting, then roll it through the fettucine cutters. Dust lightly with flour to prevent sticking. Cook in boiling water just until tender, about 3 minutes, then drain, rinse, drain again, and serve immediately.