Thursday, July 30, 2009

Daring Cooks-Dumplings

June's Daring Cooks Challenge was Chinese Dumplings/Potstickers (aka gyoza in Japanese)

I love the Dumplings, they are fast to cook, they freeze well and taste amazing. It's the perfect food when you come home late from work and don't know what to make for dinner. Just take a few out of the freezer and you have a quick tasty snack! There is countless different recipes for Dumplings.

Below is the daring cooks recipe. I tweeked mine a bit and will let you in on a secret...I add a cup or more of semi-firm tofu to my meat mixture. It makes it smoother, and less dry. Also, I am lucky enough to live in a city that has a large asian community. I can get all the hard to get ingredients in Chinatown. For example, I added chinese chives to my mixture. It it very powerful in taste/smells similar to garlic. The sky is the limit with dumplings, you include what you like and what is available to you. The key however is to use meat that is fatty and not lean. Ground pork that is too lean will make a very dry dumpling. Oh! I also added some hoisin sauce and a dash of soya sauce.

Pork filling:

1 lb (450g) ground pork

4 large napa cabbage leaves, minced

3 stalks green onions, minced
7 shitake mushrooms, minced (if dried - rehydrated and rinsed carefully)
1/2 cup (75g) bamboo shoots,
minced 1/4 (55g) cup ginger root,
minced3 tbsp (40g) soy sauce
2 tbsp (28g) sesame oil
2 tbsp (16g)
corn starch


Shrimp filling:
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

Now, the challenge was to make your own dumpling skins. It does not work very well, so I used store bought instead. Make sure it does not contain eggs, those would be wonton wrappers.

Combine all filling ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix thoroughly (I mix by clean hand). Cover and refrigerate until ready to use (up to a day, but preferably within an hour or two).

For the wrapping method, I suggest you go see this month host for the instructions, . Trust me you will get better with practice.. and

To pan fry (potstickers): Place dumplings in a frying pan with 2-3 tbsp of vegetable oil. Heat on high and fry for a few minutes until bottoms are golden. Add 1/2 cup water and cover. Cook until the water has boiled away and then uncover and reduce heat to medium or medium low. Let the dumplings cook for another 2 minutes then remove from heat and serve

To freeze: Assemble dumplings on a baking sheet so they are not touching. It helps to rub the base of the dumpling in a little flour before setting on the baking sheet for ease of release. Freeze for 20-30 minutes until dumplings are no longer soft. Place in ziploc bag and freeze for up to a couple of months. Prepare per the above instructions, but allow extra time to ensure the filling is thoroughly cooked.

My favorite dumpling dipping sauce: -Chinese red vinegar with chopped ginger