Kahu, ginger, and chilli dumplings

By Nikki & Jordan Shearer

Featured in Capital #71
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Matariki, the Māori New Year, is traditionally a time to remember those who have died in the past year. But it is also a happy event – crops have been harvested and seafood and birds have been collected. With plenty of food in the storehouses, Matariki is a time for singing, dancing, and feasting.

These dumplings celebrate kaimoana; with haku sourced lovingly from our Wellington waters, a little chilli for fireworks, ginger as twinkling stars, and folded with mānawanawa (patience) and aroha (love) to mark the occasion. You can find some good tutorials for folding dumplings on YouTube. These dumplings can also be frozen unsteamed for use later. Layer them between sheets of baking paper in a container and place in the freezer.

Kua mau tāu ika, he haku, nō te moana uri.

Your fish has been caught, a kingfish from the deep green ocean.

Kahu Dumplings

Makes approximately 50 dumplings


2 tsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp rice bran oil
1 cup finely sliced red cabbage
1 cup finely sliced bok choy
3 cm ginger, finely diced
1–2 red chillies, finely diced, (remove seeds if you don’t want too many fireworks)
2 Tbsp soy sauce
400g raw kingfish, diced into small cubes
1 bunch coriander leaves, chopped
2 spring onions, finely sliced
2 tsp fish sauce
50 dumpling wrappers (we used chiao tzu skins)
1 Tbsp rice bran or coconut oil
Boiling water for steaming


  1. In a pan with a lid, heat oils and add finely sliced cabbage, bok choy and ginger. Cover and steam for 4 minutes on a medium heat.
  2. Add chilli and soy sauce and cook for another 2–3 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  3. Once the mixture has cooled, mix in a large bowl with diced fish, coriander, fish sauce, and spring onions.
  4. Place 2 tsp of the dumpling mixture in a dumpling wrapper. Wet the edge with a little water and fold edges together forming small pleats to seal the dumpling. Repeat with remaining dumpling wrappers and filling.
  5. Heat a large pan with a lid over a medium heat; place a batch of dumplings in and fry for 1–2 minutes until one side is golden.
  6. Add ½ cup boiling water to pan, cover and steam for a further 2 minutes.
  7. Repeat with remaining dumplings and serve with chilli dipping sauce.
  8. Alternatively: steam batches of approximately 8–10 dumplings covered for 5 minutes in a steamer basket.

Chilli dipping sauce


2 tsp Chinese chilli oil
2 tsp kecap manis
2 tsp chinkiang vinegar or rice wine vinegar
6 Tbsp sauce soy


  1. Mix all ingredients together and serve with dumplings.


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