Monday, July 21, 2008

it's a dumpling bee!

So in China, women get together around big holidays and make dumplings by the hundreds. It's like a quilting bee, with lots of whispering and stories about troublesome children and laughing. Here's my favorite recipe. It looks more time consuming than it really is, and best of all, you can freeze them (before cooking) and cook them from frozen for a quick dinner.

Jiao zi (Chinese dumplings)

* Filling:

1 cup shredded Napa cabbage
1 tsp salt
1 lb ground pork, or combination of ground pork and beef
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1/4 tsp pepper
2 T soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
2 green onions, finely chopped
1 egg, beaten
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp Chinese 5 spice powder (opt)

* 1-2 pkg chinese dumpling wrappers (you can also buy wonton wrappers and use a large round cookie cutter to cut circles)

equal parts soy sauce and vinegar
sesame oil

Sprinkle 1 tsp salt over shredded cabbage. Let it sit for at least 5 minutes. Take it in handfuls and squeeze out the excess water. Mix the squeezed cabbage with remaining ingredients by hand or in a food processor. Be sure to mix it well so the meat absorbs the other flavors.

To assemble: Place one tablespoon of filling in the middle of a wrapper. Moisten the perimeter of 1/2 of the wrapper with your finger (dipped in a small bowl of water). Fold and pinch at the mid-point. Make 2 pleats on both sides of this mid-point. Pinch. Repeat with the other half. There are some photos of how to do this here:

To cook:

Boiling method: Boil water or broth in a saucepan or stockpot. Add 8-10 dumplings. When they float up to the top, boil them for 1 more minute, then remove.

Potsticker method (frying/steaming): Heat 2 T oil in a skillet until hot. Turn heat to medium. Arrange dumplings into rows in the skillet, with sides touching. Fry until bottom turns crusty. Pour in 1/2 cup water. cover and simmer until liquid is absorbed, about 6 minutes. Put a large plate on top of the skillet and turn the skillet upside down onto the plate to serve.


prism said...

that looks good and pretty easy (and none of the things my poor boy is allergic to)... any suggestions for something to substitute for the meat to make it vegetarian? Thanks!

prism said...

BTW - he's allergic to milk, corn, peanuts, and it's best if we stay away from oats (mild allergy, but still bothers him)...

So, any ideas for veggies that would be good in there?


sarbear said...

thanks for your comment about my comment on greenjello. i hope i didn't infer that i'm good at that all of the time - it's something i've been thinking about a lot lately and am trying to be better about it. i think you summed it up perfectly - that it's easy to treat our kids like they understand adult/motherly worries. oh so many things to worry about as mothers... but thank you for taking the time to pass on kind words to me. i appreciate it.

(that recipe looks divine!)

beckbot said...

Prism, I haven't made vegetarian dumplings before, although I buy them often at the Chinese market here. I found a recipe on my favorite recipe site, though:
It looks really delicious. I would probably omit the red onion, as the taste might be overpowering. You could replace it with chopped bamboo shoots or even chopped leeks. (Leeks are a common filling in veggie dumplings).

prism said...

thanks, beckbot! I'll check it out. I've been wanting to incorporate some meals that are different than the usual. Usually, I just cook the same things over and over (makes shopping easier)... but sometimes it gets a little mundane. :-|

pianogal said...

Beckbot, these are so good! I ended up using the wonton skins (Kroger didn't have dumpling wrappers) but they worked fine. And I love that you can just throw everything in a food processor. (5 stars in my book!) I think we'll try the vegetarian ones next time. Thanks for the great recipe!

Anonymous said...

these sound wonderful and I have totally been craving wonton soup. Good to know you can freeze them, since I have a recipe that makes a huge amount of wontons and once they are cooked, they don't hold up very well the next day. I will have to try this recipe soon.