In May, I reviewed Beyond the Great Wall by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid, and I did this dumpling recipe for the meal I made for my family. Out of the seven items I made, the dumplings were by far the most popular.
I'd never made Asian dumplings before, having written them off as too fiddly and not worth it. I learned, however, that they are soooooooooo worth the effort, because nothing is as comforting, warming, and nourishing as a bowl of steaming hot noodles filled with yummy stuff. For a Magazine Monday post, I made a Canadian Living dumpling recipe using shrimp, and they were awesome.
My SIL just had surgery on her right arm, so I was thinking of what I could make for a family meal that wouldn't require cutting, and, since I'm in comfort food mode these days due to my ever-fluctuating mood, the dumplings seemed to fit the bill.
Carrot and Pork Dumplings, adapted from page 150-151 of Beyond the Great Wall
1 medium carrot, grated
1/4lb ground pork (or ground lamb)
2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp roasted sesame oil
(I also added some finely chopped green onion since I had some left over)
NB: While the recipe in the book has us making our own dumpling dough from the Kazakh Noodle dough recipe, I have chosen instead to go with the easier and lazier route of using won-ton wrappers found in my local over-priced grocery store. I also double the recipe to feed four hungry people as a main course. The original recipe also instructs the cook to parboil the carrot, but I get around that step by just grating the carrot right into the filling mixture.
Mix all the ingredients together until well-combined. I used my hands, but if you want, a fork works well, too.
Place a scant 1 - 1 1/2 tsp filling in each won-ton wrapper (I have a #100 cookie scoop that works perfectly for this). Wet a pastry brush with some water and brush the edges of the won-ton wrapper. Pinch to seal and set aside on a baking sheet.
Bring a large pot of water to a vigorous boil. Ten at a time (or thereabouts), toss in the dumplings and wait for the water to come back to the boil. After about a minute, the dumplings will float to the surface and bob around. Cook them for about another half a minute or so, then, using a skimmer, spider, or slotted spoon, scoop them out of the pot and put them into a bowl. Repeat. Serve piping hot with dipping sauce.
Soy Vinegar Dipping Sauce (page 151)
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar (the original recipe specifies Jinjiang, a black rice vinegar, but I don't have any Asian specialty stores close by, so I just used the rice vinegar I could find)
2 tbsp shredded ginger
For this particular meal, I served the dumplings with a cabbage slaw I made using shredded cabbage, grated carrot, grated radishes, chopped cilantro, and sliced green onions, dressed with a Tamari Peanut salad dressing purchased from the "reduced for quick sale" bin at my local overpriced grocery store. My SIL made a Thai rice noodle salad with a peanut butter and lime-flavoured dressing. All in all, a totally satisfying meal.
The one thing I did learn, though, is that not all won-ton wrappers are created equal. The new ones I bought for this meal were very thin, broke easily when stuffed, and dried out very quickly. The older ones from the BtGW meal where thicker and sealed better, and were definitely easier to work with. So, I'll go back to that brand next time.