I have joined the Daring Bakers' and Daring Cooks', a spinoff from Daring Bakers. So this is my very first challenge - the June 2009 Daring Cooks' challenge which has been hosted by Jen from use real butter. Jen has chosen Chinese Dumplings/potstickers and has given excellent instructions, photos and a discussion about them on her blog post. Thanks Jen for a great first challenge.
I have eaten many Chinese dumplings before but what a lovely challenge to actually make fresh home made dumplings. This is something that I never would have undertaken if I hadn't joined up with the Daring Cooks'. What a sense of accomplishment!!!! Being my husband's birthday, it was the perfect excuse to have them as an entree to a lovely Malaysian Chinese dinner cooked by my son's girlfriend.
I have used a shrimp and pork filling and made the dumplings as potstickers (pan fried).
1/2 lb (225g) raw shrimp, peeled, deveined, and coarsely chopped
1/2 lb (225g) ground pork
3 stalks green onions, minced
1/4 cup (55g) ginger root, minced
1 cup (142g) water chestnuts, minced
1 tsp (5g) salt
3 tbsp (40g) sesame oil
2 tbsp (16g) corn starch
(you will need to double this for the amount of filling but make it in two batches as it is easier to mix)
2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (113g) warm water flour for worksurface
2 parts soy sauce
1 part vinegar (red wine or black)
a few drops of sesame oil
chili garlic paste (optional)
minced ginger (optional)
minced garlic (optional)
minced green onion or garlic chives (optional)
Mix all the prepared filling ingredients together in a bowl. Keep refrigerated until you are ready to use it.
It takes extra time to chop the filling ingredients up but you get a nice texture for the filling. If you use a food processor, the filling will be too soft.
To make the dough - in a large bowl, combine the flour and water and stir until the water is absorbed. Continue adding water one teaspoon at a time and mixing thoroughly until the dough pulls clears the side of the bowl. The dough should be firm and barely sticky to the touch.
Knead the dough for a few about a minute then cover with a damp tea towel for 15 minutes. The dough should be firm and silky to touch.
The challenge is to make the dumpling wrappers by hand using a rolling pin. This keeps the wrappers the same size and gives a more delicate thickness. It takes a little time and practice but after 10 to 12 dumplings you get the hang of it.
Form the dough into a flattened dome. To make the dough discs, slice the dough ball into strips. Roll each strip into a sausage shape approximately 3 cm (1 1/4 inches) thick. On a floured surface, slice off pieces about 2cm (3/4 inch) thick and the press into a circular shape. With the palm of your hand, press down on each piece to form a flat circle. Use a non-tappered rolling pin to roll out a circular wrapper for each disc, leaving the centres slightly thicker than the edges (to hold the filling). Keep all unused discs covered with the damp tea towel until you are ready to fill them.
Place approximately one tablespoon of the filling in the centre of each wrapper keeping 1cm (1/2 inch) of the edge free. It takes some practice not to over or underfill them and keep the edges clean. Fold the dough in half then pleat the edges(see images in Jen's post on folding pleats). Pinch the top tight then gradually make 2 to 3 more pleats from the centre down toward the end. Leave a tear drop shape at the end, then push the end in and pinch it shut. Turn the dumpling around with pleats facing away from you and pleat toward the centre on the same side as you have already pleated. The dumpling will curve into a crescent. Pinch the edges and pleats tightly again.
For the dipping sauce: Mix all ingredients together.
To pan fry (potstickers):
I used a flat bottomed Scanpan skillet. Place the dumplings in the pan with 2 - 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Heat on a high heat for a few minutes until the bottoms are golden. Add 1/2 cup of water and cover quickly as it will spit and splutter. Continue cooking until the water has evaporated then uncover and reduce heat to medium low. Let the dumplings cook for a further 2 minutes then remove from heat and serve with the dipping sauce.
Don’t forget to check out some really amazing dumplings by the other Daring Cooks by clicking on the links to their blogs at the temporary Daring Cooks Blogroll.