I first have to mention my absolute love for Chinese food. I have always loved it. I crave it. If asked where I want to go to dinner, 9 times out of 10 it will be for Asian food of some kind. I also love Chinese New Year and the food and traditions associated with it. So this year I thought I would try to make my own dumpling wrappers and make some pot stickers like I remembered eating when I lived in San Francisco years ago. They were the best I had ever had. I am a little bit nuts... how many other people do you know who have eaten Chinese food in Florence, Athens, Heidelberg, New Delhi, Katmandu, and more places than I can remember.My husband really had to be cajoled into eating Chinese food in Florence...it was not very good I confess, but we had just spent 6 weeks in Greece and I needed a serious "fix"...ah you live and learn!
Well I finally am going to post my wonderful foray into making my first homemade dumpling wrappers. I made them last Wednesday night. I started on a whim at 5:00 and in two hours we had 40 dumplings.
I have to say they were wonderful. My family could not believe how good they were...neither could I.
I made them as fried dumplings/potstickers and they were delightfully crisp on the bottom and chewy and so juicy inside. I put about a tablespoon of canola oil into a large saute pan put the dumplings in and let them brown briefly in the oil then quickly poured in some water and covered the pot steaming the dumplings until the water evaporated and then removing the top of the pan and continuing to cook until they were nicely crisp on the bottom. You can hear them when they are ready.
I had ordered a new cookbook called ... Asian Dumplings: Mastering Gyoza, spring rolls, samosas and more (Ten Speed Press, 2009) by Andrea Nguyen
The recipes were wonderful and I enjoyed reading the entire book cover to cover. Andrea gives wonderful instructions and I had no trouble at all making the wrappers. I was talking to my friend Mary at Once Upon a Plate about the book and my experience and she also decided to try this dumpling wrapper recipe and liked it. You must visit and see how beautiful hers are. Much prettier than mine....
Here is a link to Andrea's website with many recipes and helpful hints....also videos...Asian Dumpling Tips
I made the wrappers with boiling water and flour...thats it. I made them by hand in a bowl with a wooden spoon and my hands. After the dough is mixed and kneaded by hand it is sort of shaggy. It is then put in a zip lok bag for a while to rest. It then becomes a soft like and earlobe-like(that is exactly how Andrea explains the feel) wonderful pliable dough. The dough sort of steams up in the bag. It is pretty amazing. Here is her recipe for Basic Dumpling Dough.
Meanwhile I made my filling. I used ground pork, Napa Cabbage that had been salted and squeezed dry, fresh ginger, Chinese chives, chicken stock, pepper, light soy sauce, canola oil and sesame oil....following Andrea's recipe to the letter.
I had purchased my ground pork at an Asian Market and that made a world of difference in the final outcome. It is more coarsely ground and contain enough fat to make the dumpling filling nice and juicy!
Andrea recommends a tortilla press to assist in shaping the dumpling wrappers. I do not have one. So I followed her suggestion of placing the dough pieces between two pieces of heavy plastic and pressing down on them with a heavy object. I used a 4 cup glass measuring cup.That worked really well. I weighed all of my pieces of dough after cutting the roll of dough into 16 equal pieces. Mine each weighed .5 ounces.
This is not the greatest image of what happens but you get the picture. I was very into doing this and not having such a great time getting floury hands all over the camera. Mary has much better images on her blog...
but you get the idea...
Here is one of my finished wrappers. Not too bad if I say so myself. It took me a few times to get the hang of the rolling pin. But I must say this dough was so elastic and pliable it was even easy to do with my fingers. Leaving the middle of the wrapper thick....the belly as Andrea calls it...again not the greatest image. I found it difficult to take pictures while I was doing this...
These were very easy to fill and pleat...very forgiving dough. I found them much easier to wrap then store bought wrappers and much more delicious.
Anyway here is the finished product...I will most definitely try these again. Hopefully this weekend for Chinese New Year.
I served them with Andrea's Tangy Soy Dipping Sauce....which I adapted just barely
1/3 cup regular soy sauce
2 1/2 T. Chinkiang Vinegar
1 to 3 teaspoons Chile Oil( I used chili garlic sauce)
1 T.finely shredded fresh ginger or 2 teaspoons finely minced garlic(optional)
At this point we were all so excited to eat I did not take many pics. This bowl was right in front of me as I was ready to dive right in! No posing or staging. What you see is what we ate!
I am looking forward to more projects from this book...but if I make absolutely nothing else but this recipe,
it was worth the price of the book and then some!