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Cumin Lamb Dumplings

Ok, so I know this is a photography blog so what’s a post about food doing in here?  Well, first of all, these dumplings are delicious and easy to make so I wanted to document the recipe here.  Second, and more importantly because this actually is related to photography, these dumplings were my first attempt at shooting photos of objects inside my brand new DIY lightbox.  I built the lightbox based on instructions that David Hobby posted on his lighting photography blog, The Strobist.  David’s blog is quite possibly my all-time favorite photography blog because it’s incredibly well written and flash photography frankly terrified me until I started reading his articles and how-tos on strobe-lit photography.  And, it most certainly helps that his lighting DIY projects tend to be written with the budget-conscious in mind.  Not everyone has $10k to blow on a complete ProPhoto lighting studio kit.

I’ll stop gushing over this cardboard contraption now although I will be posting more photos from it as I continue to experiment with its product photography capabilities.  Suffice to say I am in love with the quality of diffuse light in this thing.  Here’s the recipe.

Cumin Lamb Dumplings (Makes ~50 dumplings)


  • 1/2lbs ground lamb (preferably with a little bit of fat for moisture e.g. 20%)
  • 1 head of napa cabbage
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Dumpling skins (available at any Asian grocer)


  1. To make the meat filling, finely mince the napa cabbage, cilantro and onion and place into a bowl.
  2. Then, add the ground lamb, cumin, soy sauce, sesame oil and season with salt and pepper.
  3. To make the dumplings, prepare a small bowl of cool water.  Then, place ~1 tbsp of the meat filling onto a dumpling skin.  Moisten the outer edges of the dumpling skin with the cool water and then seal.  Crimping the edges is optional but it does help the dumplings stand
  4. The dumplings can either be eaten boiled, steamed or pan fried.  To boil, place in a pot of salted boiling water and dumplings are ready once they’re floating at the top.
  5. To pan fry, place a small amount of water and olive oil in a shallow pan.  Cover leaving a small opening for steam to escape and once all of the water has evaporated, pan fry until bottoms are golden brown, approximately 8-10 minutes in total.

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