Saturday, February 13, 2010

Fantasy came true - Chinese Dumplings

After multiple searches over the years for dim sum recipes I landed on Anita Lo's excellent video tutorial for Chinese dumplings recipe on Epicurious.  Over the years saw many recipes, the dough for example, simple you should think, right? but some asked for cold water some for warm or hot.  The first call I made was to my mom in Israel.  Just in case you wonder, what is it to this Indian lady and Chinese dumplings?! But, the dough reminded me very much of a sweet Indian steamed dessert my mom makes, Laru, and the pleating, that was one of my jobs.  With six kids in the family, it was like a factory production line workers.  No child labor to you but just some of the better, endearing childhood memories to me. The verdict was in, hot water it is!!  I guess, to say, that this is my first attempt at making dumplings proves to be false. The labor was worth the while.  My first dumplings visually looked like only a mother could love, but once I got the hang of it again, they were beautifully pleated as well as tasty . Don't stress about how pretty and perfect the pleating is, trust me once it gets golden and crispy from frying, they all are beautifully delicious!! This is an adaptation of Anita Lo's recipe.  The main ingredients, was switched to organic ground chicken breast. Whole Foods ran out of chives, during the storm, go figure, so I used double the amount of scallions, white parts included. I sprinkled red pepper flakes when not asked to and as it turns out, did not have neither sherry nor rice wine in my pantry so I substituted half the amount asked for in a form of rice vinegar combined with sugar.  Lastly, I used red cabbage instead of Napa, sauted it al dente in a bit of oil, it adds a bit of fat to the chicken and great color to the dumpling. Think of of the red of the beet showing through translucent ravioli dough. At first I thought if she knew, she would be devastated I butchered her recipe, but then when all was said and done, and consumed, I think she would have been proud. I fried the dumplings this time around, since I am familiar with the method of steaming these little potstickers (name for fried version), at least in the Indian sweet form of Laru. Steaming is the quickest, easiest way to cook the dumplings and healtier too.  The frying version is very low fat, I was really surprised how little oil you use to fry the dumpling in, and it gets a great crispy texture and a beautiful golden color.
I am no expert on Chinese history, customs, beliefs, food and zodiac but know some about lunar calendars. I wonder about leap year in the Chinese calendar?! Any clue? Just read that the Year of the Tiger officially begins on Valentine's Day.  We got a Dragon (me), a Snake and a Monkey in our house.  From the shallow research I've made over the years, the three are harmonious and balance each other.  If you know any differently, I hope you don't get an urge to enlighten us:).

Chinese Dumplings
Ingredients for filling:
1 lb ground chicken breast
1 tablespoon rice vinegar mixed with 1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 head medium red cabbage, thinly sliced, sauted al dente in 1 tablespoon canola and cooled
4 scallions thinly sliced diagonally, green and white parts
1 large clove of garlic, minced
1/2 finger (as a measuring stick) fresh ginger, grated on a small hole grater (watch your fingers and discard the shabby 'hairs' left after grating or use it to infuse tea)
3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1-2 tablespoons sugar, depending on taste
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1 large egg, beaten
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Sprinkle of red pepper flakes (optional)1 heaping tablespoon cornstarch
Directions for filling:
Mix all ingredients well and keep in refrigerator until ready to use.

Ingredients for the dough:
2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup boiling water
Directions for dough:
Mix flour and salt in a large bowl and pour boiling water in. Mix with a wooden spoon and knead for about 8 minutes until forms a smooth round dough.  I kneaded inside bowl. Cover with saran and let rest for 20 minutes. Roll into a long log and cup about 40 discs.  Roll out each disc on a floured surface to a 4 inch in diameter circles. Flour top of each rolled out discs and stack on top of the other until ready to be filled and pleated.  I use a small wooden rolling pin from India my mom gave me, but any rolling pin should work.

Ingredients for dipping sauce:
1/4 cup low sodium, soy sauce
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon Asian chili garlic sauce
1 scallion diagonally thinly sliced, green and white parts
Directions for sauce:
Whisk together all ingredients and keep in air tight container in fridge until serving.

Ingredients for frying:
4-6 tablespoons of canola oil
Directions for filling, pleating and cooking:
I could not have put this better than this excellent tutorial please see epicurious. You will also find the original recipe there if you wish to make a pork/dried shrimp/chive version.

4 comments :

  1. Thanks Pepy, you are very kind!!

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  2. I could make a meal of these!

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  3. I love potstickers and these look perfect! Great job Shulie. :)

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