Dear Food Diary:
One of my fondest food memories are of making dumplings with my parents. My dad would skillfully roll out identical round wrappers “skins” one after the other, while my mom wrapped them at flash speed. As a kid, they would make mini sized ones for me and let me help out.
Dumplings are a staple for Chinese New Year in Northern China. Because they look like ancient coins or yuanbao, they symbolize wealth. Since Chinese New Year is around the corner (Feb 10th), I’m sharing my recipe for dumpling making 101. Chive and pork is a classic and my all time favorite. Wealth or not, these babies are easy to make, freeze well and can be enjoyed boiled or potsticker style. Yummy year round.
INGREDIENTS Makes about 180 dumplings
3 bunches of chives
2.5 lb minced pork
3/4 lb shiitake mushroom
3 packs of dumpling wrapper
8 tablespoon sesame oil
7 tablespoon vegetable oil
5 tablespoon Maggie soy sauce
1 tablespoon chicken essence
1 tablespoon salt
1. Chop chives and mushroom finely
2. Mix everything well
TIP: Make one dumpling first to try the flavor. Boil and see if you like it, if not adjust and repeat until it’s to your liking. Then proceed to make the rest.
Have a glass of warm water at hand. Dip your finger in water and cover the top half outer edge of the wrapper. Pinch in the center and make 2 folds on each side. Make sure you press tightly all around.
Here’s a video:
Line them up without touching over a layer of plastic wrap. I usually use a big cutting board or plate. Leave them in the freezer overnight or until they are hard and place them in air tight ziplock bags. Enjoy them for months!
Bring a pot of water to boil and insert the dumplings. Make sure you stir them lightly, so they don’t stick. Once the water is to a boiling point, pour in a cup of cold water. If they are frozen, you will need to repeat. You’ll know they are done when they start to float. Drain and serve immediately.
Put a tablespoon of olive oil in a flat non stick pan. Line up the dumplings. Add enough water to cover about 1/2 height of the dumplings and let it cook on high heat. Once the water has evaporated, turn the heat down and let the bottom get crispy without burning. Lift the dumplings with spatula to check how golden brown and crispy you prefer. The edges are a good indication. I usually like mine really dark and crunchy, so I turn the heat up again for a minute or two.
I always use, sesame oil and garlic chili sauce as a base. That’s my basic and the flavors go really well with pork and chives. The vinegar cuts the fat and gives it a sweetness. Peanut butter goes really well in the mixture, specially the chunky which adds that nutty crunch.
This is really the most basic of dumpling making and you can always add/subtract ingredients to your liking. Though you can never go wrong with pork and chives.
And these are pretty much fool proof.
Happy dumpling making!