February 14, 2010

I love dumplings. I can eat thirty of them each time. I’m not kidding.

I used to hang out with a bunch of foreign students when I was in college. One time one guy from Beijing decided to teach everyone to make dumplings. That could be one of those days that we were so bored and had nothing better to do. Anyway, we went out to grab the ingredients like ground meat and some other ingredients, I forgot. But I remember he said something about dumplings. He said people in China were pretty poor when he grew up. They didn’t have much money to buy meat. So in order to make that meat looked bigger, they made it into dumplings. They mixed the meat with some veggies, put it on a wrapper, fold the edges of the wrapper, squashed the meat in the middle to make it look like a pocket filled with stuff, something that symbolizes abundance. Interesting. I never thought of why dumplings are shaped the way they are. That was the day I learned how to wrap a dumpling. I forgot what ingredients or seasonings he used. We probably made more than 100 dumplings that day among the 6 or 7 of us. They were so yummy. I probably ate more than 30 or so as I said.

Dumpling Wrapping
Dumpling Wrapping

 

Dumplings in Soup
Dumplings in Soup

Ingredients (make about 50 dumplings)

Dumplings:

  • Dumpling wrapper (prefer the round ones, the square one are fine as well), 1 package
  • Ground meat (I prefer pork, you can use chicken, beef or even turkey), 1 pound
  • Shrimp, shelled, deveined, 1/2 pound
  • Chinese bok choy, 3 leaves
  • Shiitake mushroom (dried or fresh), 4 or 5
  • Egg, 1
  • Chopped parsley (dried or fresh), 2 Tbsp
  • Oyster Sauce (I only use the brand Lee Kum Kee), 1 Tbsp
  • Soy Sauce, 1 Tbsp
  • Salt, 1/4 tsp
  • Pepper, a pinch
  • Chinese cooking wine (or white wine), 1 tsp
  • Sesame oil, 1 tsp
  • Sugar, 1 tsp
  • Cornstarch, 1 tsp

Soup:

  • Salt, a pinch
  • Oyster sauce, 1 Tbsp
  • Soy sauce, 1 tsp
  • Water, 6 cups
  • Scallion, 1 stem, chopped finely

Steps:

  1. If you are using dried shiitake mushroom, soak it in the water for an hour.  When it gets soft, squeeze out excess water.  Dice the mushroom into very fine pieces.  Put it in a big mixing bowl.
  2. Cut the cleaned shrimp into small pieces (like cut one shrimp into 3 or 4 pieces depending on the size of it).  Add it to the bowl.
  3. Add the following to the mixing bowl: ground meat, chopped parsley, oyster sauce, soy sauce, chinese cooking wine, salt, pepper, sugar, cornstarch and sesame oil. Mix well.
  4. Chopped the bok choy very finely. Add it to the mixture.  Mix well.
  5. Add an egg to the mixture. Mix well.  Let it season for 20 mins.
  6. To wrap the dumplings, prepare a small bowl of water.  Put about a tablespoon of mixture to a wrapper.  Put the mixture in the middle, make sure you leave some space on the edge.  Use your finger or the back of a spoon to dip some water to the edge of the wrapper.  Fold the wrapper in half to make a half moon shape.  Press down the edge to make sure it seals tightly.  This is the easiest way to shape a dumping.  If you are more skillful, you can make some crease on the edge to make the dumplings look fancier. Put all the dumplings aside.
  7. If you are not going to cook all the dumplings, freeze the extra ones in the freezer.
  8. Boil a big pot of water.  When the water boils, add the dumplings.  Boil it for 6 or 7 minutes, or until they float to the top.  Stir occassionally to make sure they don’t stick to the bottom of the pot.  Drain the dumplings and put them in a serving bowl. 
  9. Use another pot to make soup.  Add water, oyster sauce, soy sauce and salt. Bring it to a boil.  Turn off the heat.  Add chopped scallion.  Pour the soup over the dumplings. 
  10. You can also add some cooked noodles into the soup as well.

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