Friday, 30 March 2012

Dumplings for Dinner

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Look! A post that isn't about sugar! It's a blogging miracle!

I first learned how to make dumplings last summer, on what can only be described as, The Most Gourmet Camping Trip Ever. I mean, come on, we made dumplings.  The fact that I was camping with a group of friends I like to call Dinner Club (more on that in another post!) probably has something to do with the amount of amazing food we had that weekend. As you might guess, we like food. Specifically, good food. And don't worry, for all you camping purists out there - there were also copious amounts of s'mores and hotdogs over the fire!

japanese style dumplings

Half the appeal of this meal is how freaking delicious these are. Seriously, Other Half and I make these at least once a month, often about 2 or 3 times that. The second half of the appeal is how versatile they are. I like to think of these as Kitchen Sink Dumplings, because just about anything can go in them, and they will still be awesome.

I'm going to post a few variations on what can go inside of these, but the ideal thing to do is just use what you have on hand. The dumplings in these photos have shrimp, carrot, celery, kale, bell paper, green onion, mushroom (we had a lot that needed using!). Measurements are also very loose, base it on personal flavour preferences.

Asian-style Dumplings

Makes approximately 30 dumplings. Filling variations can be found at the end

1 package of dumpling wrappers (can be found at any asian grocery store)
Vinegar (red wine vinegar, but a combo of balsamic and regular white also works)
Soy sauce
chili oil
sesame oil

An idea of how finely everything should be diced
  1. Chop/dice all ingredients very finely. Any foods that take longer to cook should be finely sliced for even cooking.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl
  3. Add liquids in these approximate quantities: 1/8 tsp chili oil and sesame oil, 2 Tbsp vinegar, 3 Tbsp Soy Sauce
Wrap the dumplings:
A poorly lit, overexposed photo to show the wrapping process
  1. Place a dumpling wrapper on a plate, wet the edges, all the way around, with water
  2. Place a dollop of filling in the centre of the wrapper
  3. Fold in half so you have a half circle and pinch together to seal the dumpling
  4. Repeat until all of the filling is used
  1. Heat 1 Tbsp of cooking oil in a frying pan over medium heat
  2. Fry dumplings until lightly golden on the bottom
  3. TWO OPTIONS: transfer dumplings to bamboo steamer and steam until cooked through (approximately 5 minutes) OR add about 1/4 - 1/2 cup water to the frying pan and trap steam with a large lid and steam until cooked through
Prepare dipping sauce:
  1. combine all liquids in approximately the same ratio as before - be sure to taste test and make adjustments as necessary

Filling Options:
  1. Ground pork, mushroom, chive
  2. Shrimp, carrot, bell pepper, green onion
  3. Tofu, kale, carrot, celery
The possibilities are endless! Experiment!

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