Feeling like dumplings!
Haven’t had them for a while, and there’s that Chinese sausage sitting in the fridge from the last time I made dumplings. But I wanted something different, maybe with cabbage and some sort of broth. The nights are getting colder in Melbourne lately and an Asian soup just makes me feel warm inside. I feel refreshed and cleansed after this soup, and nice and warm.
*WARNING: Please be careful if you have peanut allergies, as this recipe contains peanut oil. You can use many other oils like Rice Bran or Coconut oil which will be perfect for any Asian dish. Try to stay away from the olive oils as they’re not the taste of Asia.
With this recipe, I cooked the filling first, as I was using a Chinese sausage which I personally think should be cooked before putting into wonton wrappers. “Oh No!!” I hear you all say! “Dumpling filling should be raw!” I know they should be and many of my dumpling recipes I’ve done are normally raw! I then remembered a Masterclass I went to in February this year, where David Zhou – see blog entry Masterclass With Oriental Teahouse owner David Zhou – cooked his Shanghai Shu Mai filling before placing them into wonton wrappers. David did steam his Shu Mai, whereas I boiled mine for my soup.
Just be careful that when you make the dumplings, try not to place too much filling in the wrappers as they may break when boiling and all the filling will come out. Please follow the quantities and you should have no breakages!
**In case you’re all wondering about a Mushroom broth and where it comes from, it’s a very simple process. When I re-hydrate all of my dried mushrooms, I place the liquid into a zip lock bag and place it in the freezer, instead of throwing it down the sink! To get the quantity of mushroom stock I needed for this recipe, I would have used two bags of dried Shiitake mushrooms over time. If you haven’t had time to do that – and trust me there were many times I tossed perfectly good stock down the sink, without even thinking about keeping it – here’s a recipe I found online for Mushroom Stock. There are so many ideas for your excess vegetable scraps and poaching chicken stock, but that’s for another time.
If you’re adventurous like me, or you have plenty of time on your hands and you want to make your own wonton wrappers, then this recipe I found works for every time and it comes courtesy of La Fuji Mama – I can’t thank her enough. I find I can get bored of doing the same thing for 20 minutes, so I break things up by doing the dough 4 batches. When I’m not using the dough, I place it back in the bowl, covered, until needed. I do 8-10 wrappers at a time – cutting the sausage dough, rolling the discs, flouring each one individually so they don’t stick together and cutting the wrappers into perfect round shapes. I’ve only been doing wonton wrappers for 6 months, on and off, so I still haven’t perfected the art, but getting closer with each time! So don’t give up! If this is your first time making wrappers, please stick with it. Trust me, it all comes together over time and it’s really enjoyable – and calming. I block everything out and it’s just me and the dumplings! Give it a go, you’ll surprise yourself! Or you’ll find ready-made wrappers at any Asian stores and they’re really good to use!
Here is my re-invented pork & cabbage dumplings, which was inspired by David Zhou’s Masterclass.
Wonton wrappers: Makes roughly 40 wrappers
2 cups flour, sifted
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup boiling water
Rice flour for dusting wrappers
½ tablespoon peanut oil*
20 grams dried Shiitake mushrooms, re-hydrated then finely diced
3 Lup Chong (Chinese sausage), finely diced
250 grams pork mince
1 garlic clove, minced
Fresh ginger, 2cm x 2cm piece, grated
2 large spring onions (scallions or green onions) thinly sliced
½ Wombak cabbage (Chinese cabbage), finely shredded
3 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup chicken stock
4 cups mushroom stock**
2 spring onions (scallions or green onions) finely sliced on diagonal
½ teaspoon rock salt
1 baby bok choy, sliced in half
1 birdseye chilli, finely sliced on diagonal (optional)
Prepare your wonton wrappers by sifting the flour into a large bowl and stir in the salt. Add the boiling water, little by little, using chopsticks to stir until the mixture comes together. Form the dough into a ball, no kneading at this stage, and cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel for at least 30 minutes.
On a floured surface, knead the dough for 5 minutes until smooth. Cut the dough into quarters and roll into sausage shapes, keeping the dough the same thickness from end to end. Get one sausage and cut into 8-10 discs. Flour each disc and roll into an 8cm circle (3 inches). Stack them, ensuring you’ve dusted them with rice flour, so they don’t stick together. Wrap them in plastic wrap and put them in the fridge until needed, or use them immediately if you’re ready.
Place oil in a large frypan, which has a lid, on Medium heat. Once hot, add Lup Chong, mince and mushrooms until mince is browned. Add garlic, ginger and spring onions and fry for another minute. Place cabbage on top of mixture and place lid on for 5 minutes or until cabbage has wilted. Add the soy and sugar and combine well. Turn heat to low and simmer until sauce thickens for 20-25 minutes, with the lid off. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely before placing into wrappers.
To assemble the dumplings, place a wonton wrapper on your palm and spoon about 1 heaped teaspoon of filling onto the wrapper. Do not overfill. Dip your index finger into a small bowl of water and circle around the outer edges of the dumpling wrapper. Fold the dumpling over and finish by pressing the edges with your thumb and index finger to ensure that the dumpling is sealed tightly and there is no leakage. Repeat for the remaining wrappers and filling. Place the dumplings on a floured surface and cover them with a damp towel so they don’t dry out.
For the broth, place all ingredients into a medium saucepan and bring to the boil.
In another saucepan, bring salted water to the boil. Gently transfer the dumplings into the boiling water and boil until they float to the top, about 2-3 minutes. You may have to boil the dumplings in batches, depending on the size of your pot or how many dumplings you’re cooking.
In a soup bowl place the bok choy with just enough mushroom broth to cover, add 5-6 wontons per bowl and garnish with spring onions and chilli. Serve immediately.
Serves 2 with plenty of dumplings leftover
(Plenty of dumpling recipes and Asian inspired curries and stir fries still to come on this blog, stay tuned!)