Friend Shelly requested the recipe for dumplings I posted about in my last post. I "more or less" use the Fried Dumpling "Guo-Tie" from Pei Mei's Chinese Cookbook Volume 1, a classic, must-have cook book in any Chinese household. There are three volumes, but I only own one - my mother had all three and based on the condition of the physical books, volume one was the most used.
I noted my changes in Italics below
3/4 lb ground pork (I use 1 pound)
4 oz shelled shrimp, diced (I don't use shrimp, hence the increased amount of pork.)
3 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked, minced
10 oz Napa cabbage (I have substituted a pound package of frozen chopped spinach)
1 scallion, minced (I tend to use more)
1 ts ginger, minced (I tend to use more)
2 Tb soy sauce
1/2 ts salt
2 Tb sesame oil
~50 store bought potsticker wrappers (NEVER!) OR
ingredients for homemade wrappers (Always):
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup boiling water
1/4 cup cold water, as needed
1. to make wrappers, add boiling water to flour and mix with chopsticks. slowly add cold water a little at a time, kneading with hands until dough is formed. cover with cloth and let stand 15 mins.
2. mix pork, shrimp, mushrooms, scallion, ginger, soy sauce, salt, sesame oil until thickened.
3. blanch cabbage in boiling water ~ 2 mins, plunge into cold water and squeeze dry. chop finely, squeeze dry again, add to pork mix. OR finely chop raw cabbage, add 1 ts salt, mix to combine, let stand 20 mins, squeeze dry and add to pork mixture. (I always blanch the cabbage. If using spinach, thaw it and squeeze dry. The spinach is great if you can't find Napa or if you want to save some time)
4. if making wrappers, remove dough to floured board and knead until smooth. divide into 40 pieces. flatten each piece by hand and roll into 2 1/2″ round thin pancake.
5. fold potstickers: put 1 Tb filling in center, fold over to make a half circle, and pinch edges together. carefully stretch a little longer.
6. heat pan very hot. add 2 Tb oil. when oil is hot enough, add enough dumplings to cover bottom of pan (in pretty pattern). cook until bottoms are golden brown, about 1 min. add 2/3 to 1 cup water, cover, steam until water is gone. fry another 1/2 min.
7. place serving plate over frying pan. invert quickly. prepare remaining portions, serve.
My General Notes:
- Dumplings are not something one simply "whips up" for dinner. The process is labor intensive and time consuming, but totally worth the time and effort.
- You must prepare the wrappers from scratch. Purchased "Pot Sticker Wrappers" from the store are totally different in consistency. They are really Won Ton Wrappers and just wrong for authentic Guo-Tie. Heck, if you are going to use purchased wrappers, just order take out.
- Home made dumplings are more fun to make with friends and family. Whenever I get together with my sisters or parents, we take a day out to make dumplings. I've had my book club friends help me on two occasions - the time just flies, the process doesn't feel like "work" and everyone feasts on delicious food they helped create.
- I always double the recipe. Even before my kids turned into voracious, all consuming teenagers, they could eat at least 20 dumplings apiece. I can eat at least 20, probably more like 30 in one sitting (yeah, we're pigs)
- I prepare the meat filling the night before.
- For the wrappers (that you MUST make from scratch), divide the ball of dough in half, then into quarters. Work with one section of dough, creating a long rope, about an inch in circumference. Then divide the rope into 10-12 sections and roll each piece out into the round pancake wrapper.
- Once you have some wrappers made, your helpers can start wrapping the dumplings.
- I generally make 40-50 dumplings, then cook them.
- Rinse and repeat, eat and be merry!
They say food brings people together. There is nothing more memorable than creating, cooking and enjoying good food with great friends and family.