Saturday, October 15, 2011

delicious dumplings

As we were eating our dumplings, my boyfriend (who grew up eating a lot of traditional chinese food) turned to me and said 'this is the first real chinese dish you've made.' Seriously? Five years later, and this is the only chinese dish I've accomplished? But when I think about, I tend to veer towards Japanese recipes (miso soups, sushi) or Thai (curry, noodles, anything with coconut milk). Maybe, subconsciously, I knew my cooking probably wouldn't measure up to a) his mom's, or b) all those delicious, authentic chinese restaurants we go to. 

Time to give it a try. I used a combination of these two recipes (Golden Pot Stickers from 101 Cookbooks
and Pork Pot Stickers from Epicurious), and made dumplings. 

And yes, this is a vegetarian blog, and I'm definitely a vegetarian, however, since I think the way to every person's heart is through their stomach, I have learned to cook meat. Better than a lot of meat eaters I know. This is a great example of a dish that has a meat and meatless version. I make things like this all the time - pizza, chili, soup, curry - dishes where almost every ingredient is the same, except for the pork/mushrooms, or beef/tempeh, or chicken/tofu. You get the idea.
 So delicious. So easy. So authentic. Almost as good as his Mom's. Success.

Vegetarian Dumplings and Not-so-vegetarian Dumplings
(Makes about 30 dumplings each. Freeze some filling for later, the wrappers keep up to a month in the fridge. Or, assemble a bunch and freeze some for later).

Split pea filling:

1 cup dried split peas
1/2 cup finely chopped cabbage
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp grated ginger
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 minced green onion

Combine split peas and 1 cup of water in a pot. Bring to a boil, then turn heat to low and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, until split peas are cooked. Puree the peas in a food processor. Add all other ingredients to food processor, and pulse to combine.

Pork filling:
1/2 lb ground pork
1 egg
1/2 cup finely chopped cabbage

1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp grated ginger
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 minced green onion

Stir all ingredients in a bowl. That's it.

Assembling and cooking the Dumplings:
Dumpling wrappers (in most asian grocery stores, just like wonton wrappers, but circular)
bowl of water
flour for dusting
oil for frying (not olive oil, something that can stand a higher heat, like grape seed)

Dust a work area with flour (the more flour you get on the bottom of each dumpling, the crispier they'll be). Separate out a bunch of dumpling wrappers (better to do this now before your hands get all gooey and sticky). Hold a wrapper in your hand, and add a small spoonful of filling. Dip a finger in water, and wet the edges of the wrapper. Fold one side over to the other, and seal the edges, pinching as you go to make little pleats. Put the finished dumplings on a plate. Continue until you get tired of making them, or you use up all you filling.

Heat a pan with a few tbsp of oil at a fairly high heat. Add one layer of dumplings, and cook for 4 or 5 minutes, until the bottoms are crispy and browned. Add a 1/3 cup of water to the pan and cover. Let the dumplings steam for about 5 minutes, until all the water has evaporated. Continue with the next batch.

Eat! You can dip them in plain old soy sauce, or make this delicious dipping sauce.

Dipping Sauce:
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp water
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp sriracha sauce

Combine in a bowl. Dip away!

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