101 Dumplings – Part 1

Vegetable moneybag dumplings in an Asian broth

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Let the festival of dumplings begin!
Welcome to the feast of 101 Dumplings. I ended up doing more like 160 dumplings, but my husband came up with this name and I love it. It has a nice ring to it – better than the feast of 160 dumplings!!
This will be a 4 or 5-part entry, as I organised 4 different types of Asian dumplings over the course of the evening – steamed pork and prawns dumplings with Sichuan dipping sauce; steamed chicken dumplings and pork and cabbage potstickers – yummy!

The reason for so many different dumplings was we were thinking of going to I Love Dumplings in Richmond with our friends Carl and Kate. So instead of going out we decided on dumplings at our place, listening to funk music, having laughs & drinks with our friends (and watching the boys play guitar in between courses), all in the leisure of our lounge room.

This by no means was an easy task to take on! I just get lost in the kitchen when it comes to preparing Asian dumplings so for me it was thoroughly enjoyable!

I started preparing these dumplings on Wednesday for Saturday night’s dinner! You may all think I’m a bit (or a lot) crazy, and you might be right! Preparing your own wrappers is very time-consuming but very rewarding at the same time! The wrappers can stay in the fridge for a week or so, as long as they’re wrapped so they don’t dry out. This is why I started preparing so early in the week – one less thing to worry about as time gets closer! Sure, you can buy your own wrappers from any Asian grocer, but there is nothing like making your own. They taste a lot better and the love that goes into making them certainly shows. The recipe I found that works for me every time comes from La Fuji Mama – thank you.

I have been practicing making wrappers as well as folding techniques of the dumplings for about six months now. So please don’t beat yourself up or give up if they’re not turning out perfect for the first 10 or 20. When I first started, you should have seen mine! All over the place!! But I never gave up and kept practicing as much as possible. I feel I’m getting heaps better and just love showing my new skills to as many of our friends as I can!

Not only did I make my own wrappers, but all 4 different types of fillings too. Also made many accompanying dipping sauces to go with the dumplings too – best to have many different options in case people don’t like certain flavours!

I placed my dumplings in batches in the freezer for 15-20 minutes, then transferred them to a zip lock bag, while I continued to make the rest of my dumplings. I just had no room in the fridge to keep all of the dumplings! You can cook them straight away, if you’re only doing one batch of dumplings, or you can keep them in the fridge for an hour. Any way you do them all work out perfectly.

IMPORTANT TIP: Make all the fillings a day ahead of when you need them. Nothing is more important in the process of making dumplings than this step. It helps all the Asian flavours come together.

So let’s begin 101 Dumplings – my adaptation of vegetable moneybag dumplings in Asian broth.

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The name of this dumpling – moneybags – has to do with the shape of the dumpling. You can see the shape resembles a small moneybag or purse.

With these dumplings, I just wanted vegetables in them. We were having 3 more rounds of dumplings and they all had variations of meat. So I felt that the entree needed to be kept light. I knew shiitake mushrooms had to be in these moneybag dumplings but that’s all I knew. Everything else was quite new to me in a vegetable form so it was time to search the Web and see what inspiration I can find. I took my inspiration from the Asian Fushion Girl and her vegetable dumplings. My Asian broth was inspired by Mathew Kadey at Alive.com.

INGREDIENTS:
Filling: (prepared 1 day ahead of time)
2 tablespoons Rice Bran oil
12 button mushrooms, finely diced
10 dried Shiitake mushrooms, rehydrated and finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 spring onions (scallions or green onions) thinly sliced
½ Wombok cabbage (Chinese cabbage) finely shredded
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
½ tablespoon sesame oil

Broth:
8 cups chicken stock
3 tablespoons light soy sauce
½ teaspoon white pepper
6 whole star anise
1 packet (80 grams) dried black fungus mushrooms, rehydrated (optional)
6 dried Shiitake mushrooms, rehydrated and thinly sliced
½ bunch fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves only
⅓ bunch fresh chives, finely chopped
4 small spring onions (scallions or green onions) finely sliced
¼ cup water

Wonton wrappers: Makes roughly 40 wrappers
2 cups flour, sifted
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup boiling water
Rice flour for dusting wrappers

METHOD:
For the filling:
In a large fry pan on medium heat, add rice bran oil and button mushrooms. Cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. You should notice the button mushrooms have shrunk by at least half, which is exactly what should happen.

Mix in the shiitake mushrooms and garlic, spring onions and wombok cabbage

Add the sugar and soy sauce once wombok cabbage has wilted. Turn off heat and add the sesame oil. Allow to cool completely before placing in an airtight container and storing in the fridge overnight.

The next day, remove the filling about half an hour before you wish to make the dumplings. Follow this recipe to learn how to wrap the dumplings – remember practice makes perfect!

For the wrappers:
Follow how I did them

For the money bag dumplings:
This is how I did mine – Add a teaspoon of mixture to the middle of each wrapper and dab the edge of the wrapper with a small amount of water. Lift all of the dumpling edges and fold into a moneybag shape. Pinch the top tightly and continue until all of the wrappers and/or filling have been used.
OR
Follow this recipe.

Place a large saucepan of water on to boil. Once boiled add the dumplings. Once all the dumplings have surfaced to the top – just like cooking gnocchi, ravioli or tortellini – remove using a hand held strainer.

Note: Make sure that the thick part of the moneybag is cooked through. Stick a small knife-point in or bite one to see if cooked. Place back for another 2 minutes if not properly cooked through – just like pasta!

For the broth:
Place chicken stock into a large saucepan on medium heat.

Add the star anise, white pepper and soy sauce. Stir well.

After 5 minutes, remove the star anise and add in the mushrooms, allowing the black fungus mushrooms to rehydrate in the broth. This should take about 10 minutes. Remove the black fungus mushrooms and trim into strips. Place back in the broth and add the water.

Turn heat off once it starts boiling.

To serve:
In deep soup bowls, divide the chives, coriander and spring onions evenly. Divide the strips of black fungus and shiitake mushrooms, evenly, on top of the herbs. Then add 6-7 moneybag dumplings in each bowl and cover with 3-4 soup ladles of broth into each bowl and serve while still hot.

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SERVES 4

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