Northern Chinese Dumplings – little bites of gold

I love dumplings. The problem is, whenever I’ve had MSG in the past year or more I’ve had some very unpleasant symptoms (Mr Incredible calls the reactions an MSG Hangover and all the symptoms are pretty much the same) so dumplings are often desired but rarely tasted. Last night though we made Beyond Jelly’s recipe http://www.beyondjelly.com/2011/08/jiaozi-recipe-northern-chinese.html and LOVED them. Adventure Girl had hers complimented by some frozen peas and corn with no dipping sauce and devoured them. I was a bit unsure about adding the Shaoxing rice wine with her eating and also being pregnant but rationalised that the quantity of alcohol they contain is virtually non-existent so added it regardless… still wondering on that one for next time though.

A few things we did differently to Beyond Jelly:

  1. I doubled the amount of ginger
  2. I used a chopstick to stir the mixture together and found it worked really well in combining the ingredients without pockets of mince clumped together
  3. Instead of vinegar we dipped them in Tamari with chopped chilli.

Here’s the recipe (taken from Beyond Jelly) and some photos we took:

Dumpling 2

Dumping 1

Dumpling 3

Dumpling 4

Dumpling 5

____________________

Makes 50 dumplings

300g Chinese cabbage (wombok), finely chopped
1 tsp salt
500g minced pork
75g Chinese garlic chives, finely chopped
2 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine
2 tbsp roasted sesame oil
1 tbsp finely chopped ginger
1 tbsp cornflour
50 round wheat dumpling wrappers
Shanxi vinegar or dipping sauce
extra cornflour

Put the cabbage and salt in a bowl and toss to mix them together. Leave them for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes firmly squeeze handfuls of cabbage to get rid of all excess liquid and place in a large bowl. Add the pork, chives, soy sauce, rice wine, sesame oil, ginger, and cornflour and mix all ingredients together.

Place a heaped teaspoon of filling in the middle of a wrapper. Dip your finger in water, trace it round the edge of the wrapper and fold the wrapper over to make a half-moon shape. Pinch the edges together, trying to remove any airpockets as you go.

Holding the dumpling in one hand, use your t hand to make pleats along the edge, working from one end of the half-moon to the other. Squeeze the edges together with each pleat so that a tight seal is made. [Tip: the dumpling pleats will seal better if your fingers are still slightly damp]

Place the dumplings on a tray dusted with cornflour. Don’t let them sit for too long as they will go soggy.

Boiled Dumplings:
Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Add half the dumplings and return to the boil, a quick stir often, so they don’t stick to the bottom or each other. Cook for 8-9 minutes. With a strainer, scoop the dumplings out of the water and set aside. Repeat with the remaining dumplings.

Fried Dumplings:
Heat 1 tbsp oil in a frying pan. Add a single layer of dumplings and cook for 3 minutes or until dumpling bases are golden, shaking the pan lightly so the dumplings don’t stick. Add 79mL (1/3 cup) water, cover and steam for 3 minutes, then uncover and cook until the water has almost all evaporated. Repeat with remaining dumplings.

Serving: For a main meal, I usually allow 7-8 dumplings per person and have some vegies on the side. Serve with Shanxi vinegar, chinese red vinegar, or another dipping sauce.

To freeze uncooked dumplings:

Place a heaped tbsp cornflour in a freezer bag. Carefully place 16 dumplings inside, twist the top and carefully roll the dumplings round inside until they are all coated with the cornflour. Sprinkle with more cornflour if needed. Tie up the bag and place flat in freezer.

Cooking from frozen:
No need to defrost, just place the dumplings in a large saucepan of boiling water (at most 25 at one time), and return to boil. A quick stir often, so the dumplings don’t stick to the bottom, and cook for 12-15 minutes. The dumplings are usually cooked through about 4 minutes after they rise to the surface.

Notes: Garlic chives are a flat, fat chive. The chives, dumpling wrappers, cabbage, vinegar/dipping sauce, and rice wine can be found at asian grocery stores (in Australia). Large Australian supermarket chains in certain locations have chinese cabbage, Shaoxing rice wine and dumpling wrappers on the shelves.

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