One of my absolute favourite food-related treat is going out to eat dim sum. I love having a table in front of me full of different little parcels of heaven. Chinese dumplings are probably the food I would request as my last meal and homemade Chinese dumplings are easy and delicious.
I can’t claim at all to be an expert in making these, but, like pasta, making pot sticker dumplings at home is easier than many people think. Plus, they don’t need anything further than what you probably already have in the store cupboard and lying around in the fridge – they are a great way to make leftovers taste really different.
The first step is making the dough. I used this recipe from Ken Hom for this, so measured out 140g of plain flour into a bowl, and then poured in 125ml of very hot water a little bit at a time, stirring with chopsticks until the water is all absorbed. Then you tip the contents of the bowl onto a floured surface and knead for about 8 minutes. If you’ve had a bad day, this is an amazing way to release stress. Then put the dough back into a bowl and covered with a damp tea towel for around 20 minutes.
While this is resting, you need to make the filling. For this I basically grabbed leftovers and unused veg from the fridge. A lot of dumpling recipes have cabbage to help bulk the filling out a bit, but I didn’t have any, so used some leftover iceberg lettuce. I also had: about a thumb-sized piece of sliced ginger, the last dregs of a roast chicken (this one), a chilli pepper, and around 5 spring onions. In addition, I added in 1 tbs of rice wine vinegar, 1 tbs of soy sauce and 1 tbs of sesame oil. I put everything together in my mini chopper and let the machine do the work (but you could obviously chop it all by hand).
If you’re using raw ingredients, say pork mince, I would whizz all the veg in the chopper and then add the mince and mix in using my hands.
The next step is to roll out the dough. I made massive dumplings, so used around a ping pong ball sized piece of dough for each one, but if you want neater ones, just roll out smaller balls of dough.
A couple of teaspoons of filling goes in the middle of each circle, but be careful here not to put too much in. If the oil from the filling goes on the outside, the edges won’t stick together as well when you come to seal them.
To seal them, trace the edges of the dumpling case in water. Pull one half of the casing to meet the other, using your thumbs to kind of make an outline around the filling so that you get all of the air out of the dumpling. Then use your fingers to seal the edges together. Trim the edges if there’s too much dumpling dough and then stand up!
The final step is cooking these bad boys, which is also really easy. Put around 1 tbs of vegetable or groundnut oil into a frying pan and when it is really really hot, add the dumplings in. Fry them for around 2 minutes. Shake the pan around a little bit to make sure they aren’t stuck to the bottom, and then add about a cup of water and cover tightly.
These need to cook for around 12 minutes (and if you’re using raw ingredients inside, the time remains the same), but I would check them after 6 minutes and shake the pan around again. If you need to put more water in at this stage, through a bit more in. I forgot to check on them this time around, and 3 of the 8 lost their bottoms as they were sealed tight on to the pan. They don’t call them pot stickers for nothing!*
*But don’t worry too much about the washing up – I used a non-non-stick frying pan, and thought it would be a nightmare to wash given that I could NOT get the bottoms off with a spatula for love nor money, but after soaking the pan for 20 minutes or so, the bits that were stuck came off really easily, and took no time at all after that to wash up.
OH so so so tasty. I am drooling as I write this, thinking about how good these were.
Do you ever make your own dumplings? What recipe do you follow?