Dumpling Saturday happened exactly a week ago, and how fitting that I am getting around to posting this on another Saturday, [we were just way too full for me to post this on the day]. It was a nice way spend a cloudy afternoon with my man, he made the dumpling dough, I cracked open the beers and made the filling. After watching a few YouTube videos on how to shape dumplings we felt like pros and decided to give several techniques a try. We hand rolled 30 dumplings, eating as we went. Surprisingly we were pretty darn good at some of the techniques, the crescent for me and the purse for Matt [he doesn't even own a purse?]. Of course, not all of them turned out, some we didn't seal well and some were simply misshapen. All still yummy, but I saved the best for the photos - obviously! We made three fillings; Chicken & Bamboo Shoots with ginger, Prawn & Garlic Chives and lastly Pork with Shiitake Mushroom & Water Chestnuts. Chicken and ginger was my favourite and the prawn was Matt's.
We have some really great dumpling bars around us here in Melbourne, and I love them for two reasons; firstly because I love finger food - there seems to be more room in my tummy when there is finger food on the menu, and secondly even though a good dumpling should be flavoursome enough that you don't need the dipping sauce - the sauces are the best part. Growing up, my dad would make sure the pantry was always stocked with every Asian sauce imaginable, and not the Aussie brand stuff either - the real deal. This is something that has passed onto me. Creating the fillings for this recipe was easy as we had all the sauces, and as I use them a lot, I know what goes well with what [Hopefully!].
[I thought I would pop this pic in for the behind the scenes making of these beauties. We bought a little roller from the Asian Grocer, and its a good chance to see the disks pre-roll, mid-roll and post-roll! Now I am seeing the triangle shapes we made and wishing I had used them in the photo, we just had a hard time getting the sizes to match.]
We used the three basic cooking techniques in a mix and match fashion, with Matt hoping to get the prawn dumplings and me hoping to get the chicken ones. As we tried all different shapes for the fillings, we quickly lost track of which was which. We boiled a third, steamed a third and made pot stickers from the last third. The pot stickers didn't work super well as I didn't have a tight lid for my fry pan, so the steamed batch in my bamboo steamers were the winners. We used a basic dumpling wrapper recipe and doubled it to make sure we got enough wrappers from it and didn't need to worry too much about getting the cutting measurements right. I watched a video from Po's Kitchen, which really put my mind at ease about making dumplings. If you are thinking of giving these a try, its worth checking this video out for the dough making, wrapping and cooking techniques. It is an Aussie based one, so hopefully it can be viewed worldwide.
Sadly, there is no portraiture of the purse dumplings which is such a shame as they are so visually pleasing. The light and look I was going for just didn't get executed well enough for me to be happy with a final shot. Just a good excuse to have another go!
Homemade Dumplings From Scratch
Pork with Shiitake Mushroom & Water Chestnuts Chicken & Bamboo Shoots with Ginger Prawn & Garlic Chives
makes approx. 30 med-lrg dumplings (the filling measurements are based on approx. 10 dumplings each)
1 cup plain flour (all purpose)
1 cup wheat starch
*Boiled water (approx 2/3-1 cup)
Pork with Shiitake Mushroom & Water Chestnut Filling
100g free range pork mince
1/4 cup shiitake mushrooms, diced
1/4 cup water chestnuts, diced
1/4 cup scallions, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons sriracha sauce (spicy, add to taste if you don't like the heat!)
1/2 egg, lightly beaten (beat the whole egg, but you'll only need half)
Chicken & Bamboo Shoots with Ginger Filling
100g free range chicken mince
1/4 cup bamboo shoots, minced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
2 teaspoons coriander seeds, ground
3 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon water
Prawn & Garlic Chives Filling
150g prawn meat, diced
1/4 cup garlic chives, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/4 teaspoons oyster sauce
2 teaspoons Shao Xing wine
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1 1/4 teaspoons sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon sichaun peppercorns, ground
Boil the kettle. In a mixing bowl, place the flour and wheat starch and stir until fully combined. Pour a small amount of water, approx. (2/3 - 1 cup) into the mixture and stir with a folk until it resembles a dough. [As each type of flour soaks up different amounts of water, it is hard to get exact quantities and so it is best to go by feel with the dough, add 2/3 cups boiled water to start - let me know how much works for you!]. Knead a few times to create a smooth finish. If the dough feels a little sticky, add a small or equal parts flour/wheat starch to the dough and mix. If the dough feels dry, add a little water (just a little, you can't go back once you add to much). Once you are happy with the dough and it is silky, cover in cling wrap and rest in the fridge for an hour.
* If you can't find wheat starch, simply substitute for plain flour and knead the dough for 5-10 minutes to achieve the same silkiness.
Whilst the dough is in the fridge, you can make up the filling.
Measure out the first dumpling filling ingredients and combine in a bowl until fully incorporated. Cover and refrigerate. Do this for the remaining fillings in separate bowls. Place them in the fridge. (You can make the filling ahead of time to allow the flavours to marinate for a couple of hours if you like).
Find a large work surface and have a little flour handy for rolling. Once the dough has rested for an hour, remove from the fridge and roll into a long thin tube with a diameter of about 3mm (1"). Cut the tube in half, then cut the dough into evenly sized pieces, you want approx 30 disks. (Don't fuss too much about getting this part exact. You'll either have bigger dumplings with more filling, or smaller dumplings with less filling. As long as you measure your filling evenly you'll be fine!).
Squish each disk with the palm of your hand with a little flour and roll out the dumpling wrapper into a thin circle, working from the outside of the circle to the middle. Add about a teaspoon of filling to the middle of the dumpling and wrap using your favourite technique. Place on a sheet of baking paper. Continue until you have used all the dumpling wrappers. You can keep these covered in the fridge until you are ready to cook.
You can boil them in salty water until they have floated for a few minutes, (I will check one to see that the filling is cooked before I take them out, larger dumplings will take longer).
You can steam them in a bamboo steamer with baking paper lined on the bottom for 15 minutes or so, or until cooked through. (adjust your cooking time for larger or smaller dumplings. You can always break one open to peek inside!)
You can place them in about 1cm (o.5") of water and a splash of vegetable oil in a fry pan with a lid and let them steam until the water has evaporated, about 10 minutes. Once the water has evaporated, give them a few minutes for the bottom to crisp up.
Serve as you go with some dipping sauce.