Give me a passle-load and I'll be a happy girl Monday, September 22, 2008I've not done a food post in a while and lately I've become obsessed with dumplings. Of the pan fried Chinese variety.
I can sit down and tear through them, their soft pillowy goodness offset by the seared and crunchy bottoms. Honestly, there are times when I think I could just go face down into a giant plate of them and die a happy woman. But rather than be shamed at ordering a large number of them at one of the various restaurants that serve them I've opted to make them at home, so when I do eventually consume all 25 dumplings I've cooked up there is no one to shame me with their eyes or comments.
Let me digress a moment, there was a Chinese restaurant next door to the wine shop. They happen to make spectacular Szechuan vegetables, delicious and perfectly steamed. So last week I ordered two orders of them and asked them to hold the rice. For a couple of reasons, one being that I try to avoid white rice being that it is pretty nutritionally void and just filler. I don't need filler. I've got plenty of filler already perched on my belly, thank you. So when I ask her to hold the rice she cackles into the phone "What! Are you on a diet?! HAHAHA!" I don't know how to take this, is she saying I need to diet or that I don't? WTF? Maybe she is just making small talk, whatever. Just give me my damn vegetables.
So anyways, my friend Yumi gave me a good jumping off point for making my own dumplings at home. Here is the humble recipe I've come up with that I like most, and everyone should be impressed that I wrote down actual measurements rather than generalities. If you can get your hands on some garlic chives then use those rather than straight chives, but sometimes they are hard to find.
Also, you may have trouble finding a ground un-seasoned pork. Generally I grab a pork shoulder or pork roast and just have them grind that up for me since most ground pork is seasoned or "sausage". Also I found the pot-sticker wrappers at my local Asian market in the frozen food section. I believe one could substitute wonton wrappers in a pinch though.
1/2 pound of ground pork
1/2 pound ground chuck
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon Worcester
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon sesame oil
5 tablespoons of chives
2 minced cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon of grated fresh ginger
1 package of pot sticker wrappers
Mix all the ingredients together except for pot sticker wrappers. Work the meat and seasonings as little as possible to get the ingredients combined though, don't overwork the meat (haha, why does that make me laugh. Oh, right because I've got the dirty mind of a 13 year old boy).
Place a sheet pan off to the side with a damp towel on top. Also have a damp paper towel to cover the stack of pot sticker wrappers so they don't dry out. Place a small amount of meat in the center of the wrapper, using your fingers moisten the edges of the wrapper with water so they will pinch shut. Try not to leave any pockets of air in the dumpling. Fold in half and crimp closed.
Place on sheet pan and cover with damp cloth.
I practiced with different ways of pinching them shut, but that was just my inner Martha coming out. I ended up leaving one side flat and then fold/crimping the other side. It's hard to explain and I suck at writing down what is clearly a visual process that I'm unable to photograph because I don't have a spare set of hands. Once you get a sheet pan filled you can stick them into the freezer for a couple of hours to harden up. Then transfer to a plastic bag and you are ready next time you need a quick go-to meal.
To cook, take frozen dumplings and put in a hot pan that has been coated with a little oil. Sear the bottoms till they get crispy. Then dump in some water (and I add a little soy sauce) and put a lid on. Steam away for a few minutes until done. Voila! Dinner in 7 minutes.