pork and water chestnut dumplings

Dumplings are another favourite entree dish, alongside with wontons. They are a lot bigger and made of different type of dough - thick and chewy. They are filled and sealed to resemble ingots, which makes them very auspicious food to eat on New Year. But obviously, they are eaten all year long.


Dumplings can be boiled, steamed or shallow fried, and then they are eaten with various dips. I like mine best when they are boiled for a short time and then shallow fried in just a little bit of peanut oil. This way you get best of both worlds, and really, these little gems are absolutely worth making at home, buy the pastry and fill them yourself, for a guaranteed high quality and superb flavour.


for dumplings:
2 packets defrosted gyoza dumpling wrappers (found in frozen section of any asian supermarket)
500g lean minced pork
4 dried shiitake mushrooms (pre-soaked in hot water for 30 minutes)
1 celery stalk
2 spring onions
8 water chestnuts
2 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tbsp Shaohsing rice wine
salt and ground white pepper to taste

for dipping sauce:
2 tbsp Chingkiang black rice vinegar
2 tbsp light soy sauce
2 cm ginger, peeled and cut finely into tiny matchsticks


Cut the pre-soaked mushrooms, celery, water chestnut and spring onion into equally sized tiny cubes (like julienne and then cube the sticks). They need to be small enough to blend into the meat without causing lumps.
Add the vegetables to the meat with all the flavourings, and using a spoon, mix in one direction only, until all is perfectly combined (mixing in one direction ensures equal distribution of all ingredients).
Take one dumpling wrapper (usually circular) and place a generous teaspoon of the mix in the middle. Wet the edges with a finger lightly dipped in water and seal to form half-moon shapes. Then, fold the edge in three places, like small pleats, to form a traditional dumpling shape.


Repeat until all the wrappers and filling are used.
Distribute 20 dumplings at a time on a flat plate and place in the freezer for about an hour. Once hardened, they can be packed in bags of 20, and cooked at your convenience.
The dumplings you will use straight away, place in a saucepan with hot water and boil until all dumplings have come to the surface. Remove them with a slotted spoon. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a flat skillet and place the boiled dumplings in it. Let them fry for a few minutes until they get golden marks on one side.


Occasionally, keep sprinkling water to generate steam in order to help cook them as well as to keep them moist. Turn over and repeat on the other side until all the dumplings are cooked.

To make the dipping sauce, simply combine all the ingredients.


Serve immediately.

Bon appétit!

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