Making Dumplings with a Friend is the Best Way to Learn
So many cultures have a dish that requires an amount of dough or other such wrapper to encase a filling of some sort. The Italians have ravioli, the Turks have Manti, the Greeks have spanikopita or dolmades, Ukranians have Varenyky, Polish have Perogies, the Russians have Pelmeni. And I haven’t even scratched the surface, think about all the Asian countries and their dumpling styles. Mmmm so versatile and delicious…I think it’s dumplings that make the world go around!
I’ve been wanting to learn how to make dumplings for a long time now. Sure, I’ve tried my hand at making perogies and they were okay (is there someone out there that wants to have a perogy making party?) but a true Asian style dumpling required me to learn from someone who absolutely knew what they were doing. Through the wonderful world of blogging I’ve had the opportunity to meet many like minded people willing to share knowledge and food related encouragement. When I got the invite to go make dumplings at The Office Broccoli’s house there was no way I was going to miss the opportunity!
I arrived at her house shortly after ten on Sunday morning and we got down to business right after we made tea. TOB handed me the vegetables to chop, one after the other while she got the rest of the ingredients displayed out on her counter. When I was done with the carrots, white onion, spring onion, mushrooms, and napa cabbage, she had the meat, eggs, and seasonings ready to go.
The glass bowl on the left has the regular seasonings and the stainless steel bowl on the right will become the curry filling.Dumpling filling stations at the ready!TOB demonstrates her perfect techniqueSo many perfect dumplings…like little soldiers!
After we had each made a tray, we set them in the freezer to freeze so that I could transport them home. It was also very near lunch so TOB showed me how to line the dumplings along the bottom of a pan on top of a thin film of oil.We cooked the dumplings in the pan on med-low heat until the bottoms were a bit crispy brown, then added water by the tablespoon (maybe about 4 tbsp) and put the lid on so they steamed a bit. We did this sporadically about 2-3 times until the dumpling wrappers had changed from dull to glossy. This maybe took about ten minutes.
When our first pan of dumplings were ready we flipped them over on a plate, then ate them with some stir fried cabbage with garlic and fresh noodles.
We also did several batches of steamed dumplings for something a little different. You can tell they are done when the skins become translucent. The wrappers we used for these were of a different kind and were a little thinner than the ones we had used in the frying method. Some of the dumplings that I made are in this steamer. You can probably pick them out beside TOB’s lovely shaped dumplings. She was being kind when she said my dumpling technique was getting better and that I ‘had my own style’.
- 2 trays of ground pork
- 1/2 onion; finely diced
- 3 spring onions; finely chopped greens and whites
- 2 medium carrots; shredded
- 1 can of mushrooms; drained and chopped
- 3/4 cup finely chopped Napa cabbage
- 2 tbsp oyster sauce
- 2 tbsp Chinese cooking wine
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 2 eggs
- salt and pepper
- 1 glico curry packet, rehydrated (which replaces all the other sauces if you are making the curry style dumplings)
- tapioca starch (you may or may not need this depending on how watery your filling is after you add the sauces. Add by the tbsp and judge accordingly)
- 2 packages of round dumpling skins, fresh or frozen and thawed.
- Mix ground pork with vegetables, eggs, and sauces (if doing regular style dumplings) If making curry dumplings, omit sauces and add rehydrated Glico curry paste.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Add tapioca starch if mixture seems a bit too wet.
- Take small amounts of the mixture by teaspoon and place in the middle of a single dumpling wrapper.
- Moisten edges of the wrapper with your finger dipped in a bowl of water.
- Seal dumpling using your technique. (search dumpling techniques on youtube).
- Steam or pan fry dumplings.