Late the other night, when all the shops were already closed, I really REALLY felt like dumplings…(no I’m not pregnant!). They’re satisfying, easy on the pocket, AND we already had all the ingredients in the fridge. So since I don’t sleep, I may as well eat right? Haha…Anyway, they also bring me back to my childhood – where Sundays were spent at church in the mornings, then straight into full force dumpling production in the afternoon, gathered around the kitchen bench.
This is the old family recipe that my dad used back then, which is so easy, it’s impossible to forget, and easy to adapt. They also freeze well, so the next time mince goes on special, stock up and make loads for the freezer – you won’t regret it! You can even get little ones involved!
For the dumpling pastry
1.5c hot water
Mix the flour and salt in a bowl, adding the hot water in a slow trickle while mixing with wooden spoon (or chopsticks). Knead in the bowl until all the lumps come together (you may need to add a little more water at a time until it does – note, it shouldn’t be sticky).
Knead the dough for a few minutes on a floured surface until smooth and elastic, then place back into the bowl. Cover with clingfilm – try to place clingfilm so it touches the dough, eliminating as much air as possible (or alternatively, place in a large zip-lock bag, squeezing out all the air). Leave to rest for about half an hour.
For the dumpling filling
I like to maximise vege intake when it’s so easily hidden, so I like a half-protein/half vege mix:
approx 1kg mince (pork/beef/chicken – sometimes we add chopped prawns if we’re feeling flash)
approx 5c shredded veges (cabbage+carrots/chinese chives/mushrooms/spinach) – I just use whatever we have, or whatever is in season, and blitz them in the food processor)
finely grated garlic+ginger (to taste, optional – I use about 5 cloves and a good thick chunk of ginger)
1T dark soy
1 egg, lightly beaten (optional)
1T sesame oil (optional, we don’t use due to allergies)
salt+white pepper, to taste
TIP: skip the sauces and seasonings and use 2T Rock Out with Your Wok Out sauce from Pepper & Me)
Mix all ingredients really well (I find this easiest and quickest using my hands).
Rolling out the dough:
Split the dough into 4.
Roll each piece to approx 1-2mm thickness, and use a wide glass or a round cookie-cutter to stamp out the pastry.
Dust each round with flour before stacking to the side ready for use.
TIP: buy ready-made wrappers from Asian grocers in the chiller section (we go to Tai Ping).
Making the dumplings:
Measure out the filling to keep the dumpling sizes the same (makes it easier for cooking evenly, especially important where chicken is concerned!). I use approx 1T of filling per 10cm round of pastry – your ratios may need to be adjusted slightly.
There are heaps of ways to fold and finish the dumplings – the quickest and easiest method is simply to fold the pastry in half and seal the edges with a little water dabbed on the edges you’re sealing.
TIP: seal the edge leaving about 1cm at the end, then make sure you press out all the excess air before sealing the final part (this stops the dumplings exploding if you’re boiling them).
My favourite way to fold and finish is similar to a tortellini tuck, but without joining the outside corners together. I find this fits heaps of filling and sits nicely for freezing and frying in the pan.
TIP: to freeze, line the dumplings up on a flat tray or container and freeze, then transfer into ziplock bags in single-serve sizes once they’re frozen.
Cooking the dumplings:
To boil: place fresh/frozen dumplings into a salted and boiling pot of water. Do not overcrowd. They are ready once they have been floating at the top of the pot for a few minutes.
To fry: place fresh dumplings into an oiled pan (that has a lid to fit). Add 1/4-1/2 cup of boiling water to the pan (be careful!!) and quickly cover with a lid. Let the steam cook the dumplings through.
I find this method doesn’t work as well (for me) with frozen dumplings, but you could always boil, then a quick pan-fry for colour.
Serve with soy sauce for dipping. TIP: dilute the soy sauce if letting little kids dip, in case they drop the whole thing in. Not traditional, but Hubby likes sriracha with his dumplings…Enjoy!