So in China, women get together around big holidays and make dumplings by the hundreds. It's like a quilting bee, with lots of whispering and stories about troublesome children and laughing. Here's my favorite recipe. It looks more time consuming than it really is, and best of all, you can freeze them (before cooking) and cook them from frozen for a quick dinner.
Jiao zi (Chinese dumplings)
1 cup shredded Napa cabbage
1 tsp salt
1 lb ground pork, or combination of ground pork and beef
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1/4 tsp pepper
2 T soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
2 green onions, finely chopped
1 egg, beaten
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp Chinese 5 spice powder (opt)
* 1-2 pkg chinese dumpling wrappers (you can also buy wonton wrappers and use a large round cookie cutter to cut circles)
equal parts soy sauce and vinegar
Sprinkle 1 tsp salt over shredded cabbage. Let it sit for at least 5 minutes. Take it in handfuls and squeeze out the excess water. Mix the squeezed cabbage with remaining ingredients by hand or in a food processor. Be sure to mix it well so the meat absorbs the other flavors.
To assemble: Place one tablespoon of filling in the middle of a wrapper. Moisten the perimeter of 1/2 of the wrapper with your finger (dipped in a small bowl of water). Fold and pinch at the mid-point. Make 2 pleats on both sides of this mid-point. Pinch. Repeat with the other half. There are some photos of how to do this here: http://chowtimes.com/2006/08/12/jiaozi-chinese-dumpling/
Boiling method: Boil water or broth in a saucepan or stockpot. Add 8-10 dumplings. When they float up to the top, boil them for 1 more minute, then remove.
Potsticker method (frying/steaming): Heat 2 T oil in a skillet until hot. Turn heat to medium. Arrange dumplings into rows in the skillet, with sides touching. Fry until bottom turns crusty. Pour in 1/2 cup water. cover and simmer until liquid is absorbed, about 6 minutes. Put a large plate on top of the skillet and turn the skillet upside down onto the plate to serve.