Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Dumplings: Bite-sized gifts.

Whether it be wontons, siu mai dim sum, soupy dumplings (shao loong bao), the dumpling in any form proves to be an easy and pleasant snack. And I think everyone should learn how to make it from scratch because you never know who will be knocking on your door with fork and knife in hand. If you’ve ever been to a Chinese market, you’ll see that there are just as many types of frozen dumplings as there are frozen pizzas at Ralph’s. My favorite is pork, shrimp, leek and mushroom. Sorry, but I can't provide you with the exact recipe because I'm an eyeballer. Ok here we go.

Start out with one pound of ground pork. The ‘generic’ ground pork is quite fatty and produces great flavor. I usually won’t use the ‘generic’ ground pork when cooking other Chinese dishes and go for the pork tenderloin or shoulder and have it ground by the butcher. It’s all preference. Add salt, white pepper, sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil over the meat and pour a little bit of Chinese rice wine. (I think it’s the same as dry sherry wine.) Then add 2 egg whites and tapioca/corn starch for viscidity within the mixture. No GARLIC in my recipe. Garlic overpowers the other ingredients. While those marry, start prepping the other ingredients.

Chop the following into very fine pieces: shrimp, leeks and ear wood mushrooms. Leeks are basically gigantic green onions and are great with dumplings because of the texture. They are thicker and have a strong onion taste to it.

Ear wood mushrooms, aka Black Fungus, add a perfect bite as well. This is also used in Vietnamese egg rolls (Cha Gio). Ear woods are sold in a hydrated form. Simply place them in a bowl of cold water for 10 minutes to rehydrate them; hot water if you’re in a hurry.

I like my dumpling filling to have an equal balance. As you can see, there’s a good amount of pink, green/white and black. Too much meat isn’t good. You should be able to smell the soy sauce and sesame oil after you’ve mixed everything. VERY IMPORTANT: take a test drive. Slap a small slab in a frying pan and make a patty, or wrap one in a dumpling skin and boil it. It’s better to go lighter on taste then over-salt the whole mixture.

Here’s how I boil my dumplings. Once the water is boiling on high heat, add the dumplings and boil them with the cover on. Once they start swimming around, remove the cover and lower the heat to medium-low for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and re-cover the dumplings for 2-3 minutes. Go!

For pot stickers, heat up the pan on medium and fry the dumplings for about 3-4 minutes, or until a light brown. Flip them over and pour in a 1/4” of water (or chicken broth for more flavor) and cover them for about 10 minutes. Once the water evaporates, they’ll start to brown after 5 minutes. Go!

For the dipping sauce, I like to use soy sauce, sugar, sriracha with seeds (thai chili sauce), rice vinegar and sesame oil. But soy sauce and sesame oil is perfectly fine. Enjoy.


BoLA said...

Mmm...Dumplings! I love my grandma's handmade gyozas.

Wha? No garlic? I'm sure Mac would love a side of roasted garlics with his dumplings. ;)

tracinamarie said...

I love dumplings! Your blog makes me so hungry!

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