Monday, June 15, 2009

Daring Cooks June 2009 - Chinese Dumplings

I missed posting for the inaugural Daring Cooks Challenge last month.  I made the gnocchi, but failed to post about it - yes, I am a slacker.

This month's WONDERFUL challenge was brought to us by the Jen of Use Real Butter.  She chose Chinese dumplings for our second ever challenge.  The only requirement was the dumplings needed to be made by hand, we had the freedom of choosing our filling, choosing our dough, and choosing our cooking process.

Chinese dumplings are so versatile.  I love these buggers and would prefer eating a whole plate of them as my dinner when we go out for chinese with friends, except that I'd feel like a weirdo doing so and resist the urge.

I followed Jen's standard dumpling recipe:

2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup warm water

I made the dough by hand, first by mixing the ingredients in a bowl, then transferring to the counter to knead the dough about 20 turns, then allowing to rest for at least 15 minutes before portioning out.  It actually rested a little longer as I made the fillings.

When I saw what the challenge was in the middle of May, I knew I'd probably go crazy with the fillings.  I chose to make a pork filling, a shrimp filling, and a sweet bean filling.  

The pork filling:
1 pound ground pork
5 reconstituted shitake mushrooms, diced
1/2 pound napa cabbage, finely chopped
1 tsp ginger root, diced
2 tbsp chives, finely chopped
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp MSG (can leave out if so desired)

The shrimp filling:
1 pound of shrimp
1/2 cup bamboo shoots, drained and diced
3 reconstituted shitake mushrooms, diced
2 tbsp chives, finely chopped
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp fish sauce, such as patis
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp red pepper powder
1 tsp MSG


The red bean filling:
1/3 cup sweet red bean paste
1/3 cup sweet mung bean paste

Dumpling dipping sauce:
6 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
3 tbsp rice vinegar (white vinegar can be substituted)
1 tsp red pepper flake (or a few dashes of red pepper powder)
1/3 tsp sugar

To make the dumplings, the dough was evenly divided and rolled into ropes approx. 3/4" in diameter then cut into 1-1.5  inch pieces.  The pieces were rolled into a ball and set aside.  I pressed each ball into a disk with my cleaver, then rolled each disk out to a very thin circle.  Picking it up and placing it into my left hand, I added a heaping teaspoon of filling to the rolled dough, folded the dough together over the middle, then proceeded to pleat the dumpling on either side of the center.



Making the dough was a snap, and even with the added forming/rolling of the dough, it didn't take all that much longer than using wonton skins, as I have previously done (since to make the moon shaped dumplings I'd cut the square skins into circles with a biscuit cutter).  




The longest part of the whole dumpling process was waiting for the buggers to cook.  I chose to fry and steam both kinds of meat dumplings and I steamed the sweet bean ones.  One other adjustment I made for the sweet ones was not rolling the dough as thin,  I wanted to make sure that the bean filling didn't overwhelm the dumpling.


We had dumplings for 2 consecutive dinners and I had them for one lunch as well.  The sweet bean dumplings were rolled in a mix of dried sweet coconut flakes, crushed roasted sesame seeds, and granulated sugar after they came out of the bamboo steamer.  I only made 4 and they didn't make it to see the camera's lens :).

6 comments:

Jen Yu said...

Color me impressed! So many different varieties. You did a great job on the challenge this month and look at those lovely browned bottoms on the potstickers - mmmmm! Kudos to you. So glad you liked them (the sweet ones sound awesome).

Jen Yu said...

Color me impressed! So many different varieties. You did a great job on the challenge this month and look at those lovely browned bottoms on the potstickers - mmmmm! Kudos to you. So glad you liked them (the sweet ones sound awesome).

Audax said...

What I can't believe my eyes how good are these and 3 kinds of filling what an effort you did I'm impressed and that money shot of the potstickers is superb. And don't worry about it I do eat a whole plate of potstickers for dinner and I don't care what others think their loss I figure. Cheers from Audax in Australia

Evan said...

I think I'm going to have to steal your idea of using a biscuit cutter to make the wrappers circular.

They look wonderful!

Lisa Michelle said...

3 fillings and using mung bean paste and red bean paste sounds so delicious! Not to mention, they look gorgeous! Wonderful job all around!

ice tea: sugar high said...

Oh the choices!! Fantastic job! All of them looked delish