A legend goes that dumplings were first invented in the era of the Three Kingdoms, around 225 AD. Zhuge Liang, a general and minister of Shu Han, dammed up a poison marsh on his southern campaign against the Nanman with dumplings instead of the heads that the Nanman used.!
My first dumpling experience was in the China Town district of New York and I fell in love with them (both the city and the dumplings) straight away.
Now I regular make dumplings at home and have a Chinese feast. The dumplings will also freeze well so you don’t have to force down 50 dumplings in one sitting.
So this is my recipe for steamed and partly fried dumplings (approximately 40-50 dumplings)
This recipe will take at least a few hours to complete. You will undoubtedly swear a lot as the dough sticks. but i PROMISE it will be worth it in the end.
For the filling
2 cups/~5 dl of blanched and finely chopped cabbage (10-12 leaves)
400-500g pork mince
1 tablespoon of sesame oil
2 teaspoons of finely chopped ginger
2 cloves of minced garlic
1 tablespoon of rice vinegar
3 tablespoons of soy sauce
1/2 cup 1.2 dl of finely chopped spring onion (approximately 5 sprigs)
750-1l chicken stock
2.5/6 dl of flour
2/3 cup/160 ml of boiling water, and 1/3 cup/80 ml of cold water
Mango 2 dl fresh or frozen (but thawed out)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
juice from one lime
1 table spoon – olive oil
Making the filling
- Prepare an ice bath for the cabbage by filling a large bowl with cold water and add some ice cubes
- Bring some water in a medium pot to a boil, and boil the cabbage leaves for 1 minute
- Place cabbage into the ice bath until cool
- Remove cabbage from ice bath and pour out the water. Chop the cabbage as thinly as you can, and place into the bowl that we will now make the filling in
- Chop and add the spring onions to the filling mix
- Press the garlic cloves into the filling bowl
- Add the chopped ginger
- Add 1 tablespoon of sesame oil, 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar and 3 tablespoons of soy sauce
- Lastly, add the pork mince. Now comes the icky part! mix the filling with your hands
- Cover the bowl with cling film and let it chill in the fridge for 1 hour
Making the Dough
Now We can start making the dumpling dough
- Place the flour in a bowl and make a hole in the middle
- Slowly pour in the boiling water in the middle of the bowl and stir with a fork or similar. Then add the cold water to the bowl
- You can either knead the dough for 5-10 minutes or use a blender with a dough hook (I use a blender)
- When the dough is solid and well kneaded cover the bowl with a damp cloth and place in the fridge for half an hour
And one last thing (dipping sauce)
Last prep before we start assembling the dumplings, let’s make some of my favourite dipping sauce, you don’t want to miss out on this!
Put the mango, cinnamon, olive oil and lime juice in a blender and blend until smooth (it shouldn’t be too thick).
The Assembly Line
now its time to start the grueling work of assembling the dumplings
- Flour a flat surface
- Start with a golf ball sized piece of dough and roll it out until its thin (use lots of flour otherwise you will struggle to get the dumplings of the surface)
- Use a large glass or similar as a stencil to cut out round sections of the rolled out dough
- Put a table spoon of filling in the middle of each round piece, use a wet finger around the edge of each piece the fold it
- Squeeze/pinch the edges so that there will be no leakage
- Put the completed dumplings on a tray covered with grease proof paper and keep them covered with a damp cloth
- Repeat process until all dough/filling is used up (be warned this took me a few hours the first time before I perfected my rolling technique)
Finally all dumplings are rolled and filled and by now you probably wondering why you started this project…
but stay with me you are almost there and it will be worth it in the end.
Prepare approx 750ml of chicken stock
- Add some vegetable oil to a deep pan/wok (You will need a lid for the steaming) and heat to a medium-high heat (hard to say a specific gas mark as it depends on your cooker)
- Add dumplings to the pan (not too many do about 6 at a time), and fry them for approximately a minute until the bottom start getting brown, you can fry all sides if you want them more solid and less rubbery
- Pour in 1/4 cup/4 tbl spoons of chicken stock cover with a lid and cook for another 2 minutes (most of the stock should have disappeared by now) and the dumplings should start getting crispy
Well done! time to enjoy it
Finally it is time to enjoy your hard labor. I hope you will enjoy this recipe as much as I have.
Until next time!