Dumplings

What I find hardest about this blog is that very often, I don’t follow a recipe. In fact even when I do, I rarely follow it to the letter. (Baking is probably about the only exception to this rule.) Which is fine, it’s creative and makes use of what I have available in my kitchen. However, the fact that I’m not following a script makes it pretty tricky when it’s time to blog about what I’ve created! I guess I need to get better at measuring and noting what I’m using, but that’s often counterintuitive to how I cook.

Anyway, if you follow me on Twitter or Instagram you’ll know that I’ve become obsessed with chinese dumplings/potstickers/gyozas. Inspired by two fantastic books (Chinatown Kitchen and The Hairy Bikers Asian Adventure) I decided to give them a go. My first attempt, I went to town. I made my own dough, hand rolled and cut the wrappers or “skins”, and they were a triumph. But because of making my own wrappers, they took an absolute age. Good news is, you can make them and freeze them. So – own wrappers or not – it’s always worth (at least) doubling what you need and popping them in the freezer. They actually cook pretty well from frozen too, so they make a brilliant cheat meal or snack (in my case).

Since that first attempt, I visited Chinatown and bought some frozen gyoza wrappers from one of the supermarkets New Loon Moon. You get about 50 for a quid! No joke. So, although I feel accomplished in doing so, I don’t think I’ll ever make my own dumpling skins again. Why would I? Now I have my wrappers on hand, it’s just a case of mixing up some fillings and creating the little parcels of joy! I’ve tried a few variations of filling using prawns, pork, mushrooms and even crab, but I think my favourites are prawn and pork. Here’s it is (to the best of my recollection):

Pork & Prawn Potstickers

  • 150g Raw Prawns, chopped finely
  • 100g Pork Mince
  • 1 Garlic Clove, crushed
  • Ginger (use roughly 1/2 the amount of garlic), peeled and crushed
  • 1 tbsp Light Soy Sauce
  • a shake of ground White Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Sesame Oil
  • 1/4 tin of Water Chestnuts, finely chopped
  • 3 Spring Onions, finely chopped

Mix your filling and defrost your wrappers, ready. I seal the dumplings with a cornflour/water paste, and they need to be sealed properly to make sure all the filling stays in. So make some paste (1 teaspoon cornflour to 3 teaspoons water – add more if needed) and have that ready too. Take a wrapper and add a teaspoon of your filling to the middle. Now brush your paste around the edge of the wrapper. Fold it in half and make sure no air is captured inside the parcel. Then – using your thumb and fore finger – crimp along the edge, adding a bit more paste if you need, to help hold it in place. One complete, place them bottom down on a floured baking tray while you complete the rest.

To cook, heat a little vegetable oil in a non-stick frying pan that has a well fitting lid. Add the dumplings and fry gently for around 3 minutes until the bottoms are browned. Now add some water to the pan and cover to let them steam. They need to steam for at least 5 minutes. Don’t let them dry out. Add more water if necessary. After 5 minutes, if you have any water left, cook with the lid off until it’s all gone. Serve with a basic dipping sauce. I like this one:

Dumpling Dipping Sauce

  • 2 tsp Soy Sauce
  • 1 tsp Sesame Oil
  • 1 tsp Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 1 tsp Mirin

I made some pretty good rice rolls too – a rice paper wrapper filled with chicken, veg and rice that is shallow¬†fried. My version of a spring roll I suppose. I’ll save that for another post…

Written by michelle

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