Saturday, April 2, 2011


dumplings cooked two ways
Once again this recipe comes from my mother, who learned from my grandmother.  I also have an aunt in Taiwan who makes these out of her home and they sell like crazy - when we taught English there we ate them all the time.  These dumplings are traditionally made with ground pork but you can substitute with ground chicken, shrimp, tofu - whatever you like!  They are a bit of a process to make - a lot of fun on a lazy weekend afternoon.  The recipe is enough to fill a large cookie sheet full of dumplings - but no worries they freeze very nicely and make a quick easy meal later in the week. They can also serve as very cute appetizers for a party.
what you need:
  • 2 packages dumpling wrappers (found in asian food stores)
  • about 1/2 lb lean ground pork
  • 1/2 cabbage
  • 2 carrots (mom I know you don't put this in but I wanted some extra nutrients)J
  • 3 green onions
  • 1 1/2 tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp salt
dipping sauce:
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp freshly chopped cilantro
  • 1 tbsp freshly chopped green onion
  • 1 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • 1 garlic clove, finely grated
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp or so of mirin
  • 1 finely chopped red chili
what to do:
making the dumplings
  1. Mix the ingredients for the dipping sauce and set aside in the fridge to allow flavours to gel.
  2. Chop cabbage and carrots into 1" chunks and pulse in a food processor until quite fine.  Transfer to a large bowl and add the salt - this will help draw out the liquid.  Transfer into a fine sieve and place it over a bowl - let stand for about 20 minutes.
  3. Some liquid will have dripped away but you will need to take the shredded vegetables in handfuls and squeeze out more excess liquid.  Discard the liquid and place the veggies into a large bowl.  
  4. Finely chop green onions and add to the bowl.  Add the ground pork and the rest of the ingredients (do not add anymore salt).  Mix well with your hands.
  5. Set up an assembly station with a cookie sheet or some sort of tray, a small dish of water, the filling, and the dumpling wrappers.  
  6. To make the dumpling, take one wrapper and put a small spoonful of filling in the centre.  Dip your finger in water and wet the outside of the wrapper around the filling.  You can fold in half and pinch the two sides to stick together - OR to make them cuter you can fold it in half, pinch, then cinch one side with two extra folds, then the other side.  Make sure it is sealed tight or the filling will fall out when cooking.  It might take a few to practice and play with how much filling you can fit in, but after awhile it will become easier I promise!

cooking the dumplings:
*you can pan fry, boil, or even deep fry them - the same methods apply whether they are frozen or freshly made*

pan fried dumplings (a crunchy edge):
  1. In a non-stick pan, heat about 1 tsp cooking oil on medium.
  2. Place dumplings into pan, arranging them tightly together.  If the pan is full, add 1 cup of cold water (if its half full, use 1/2 cup of water) - place the lid on and allow to cook until water evaporates.
  3. Once the water is gone, add another tsp or so of cooking oil, try to get it under the dumplings by adding it to the edge and turn the pan a few times.  Check the bottom of the dumplings by gently lifting with a spatula - once the bottoms are golden brown they are ready to come off the heat.  
  4. Serve hot with the dipping sauce and enjoy!
boiled dumplings (chewy and soft):
  1. Bring a pot of water to boil then add a bit of salt (as you would when boiling pasta).
  2. Put the dumplings in - bring to boil again and stir occasionally - be gentle so they don't break.
  3. When the water boils again, add about 1 cup of cold water - bring to boil - then repeat this step again.
  4. Strain or remove dumplings with a spider (if you are making more batches).
  5. Serve hot with dipping sauce and enjoy!
I've never made the deep fried version at home, but I've had them in sushi restaurants.  I imagine you would have deep fry the dumplings until they are golden brown - to be sure they are done cut one in half to check that the filling is cooked through!

really important to squeeze the excess liquid out
or the filling will be too watery to wrap
put these in a freezer for about 10 minutes and they are ready to
pack into a freezer bag or container - lasts for several weeks
extra filling (not enough wrappers) - make great little meatballs

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