Honestly, our numerous visits to China Town, in Central London, just to taste their authentic dumplings, have always been tantamount to a massive disappointment.
They never lived up to our expectations, especially, when it came to flavours. I found the outermost layer, very soft and moist but the inner filling was almost flavourless.
So, I started experimenting with dumpling-making for a while and to my delight, it came out with exciting results. The most interesting fact is that there is no cooking involved in the process of making these.
To prepare the filling, you just need to incorporate all necessary ingredients thoroughly. Finally, pop all the beautiful dumplings into the steamer and they will come out ready to devour in just five minutes !!
Surely, it became an instant hit with my family and then with my friends. I even went as far as producing something very much similar to their most popular side dish sea-weed. Guess what I used in place of sea-weed? Well, It’s the humble savoury cabbage or curly cabbage that are available in supermarkets all year round. Have fun shredding it into tiniest of pieces and you will have a lovely heap of greens. They taste so much alike sea-weed, I even happened to suspect whether Chinese restaurants serve us cabbage too !!
How to make restaurant quality sea-weed in actual sense savoury cabbage, is given at the bottom of my dumplings recipe.
Let’s make dumplings for dinner tonight.
300 g Plain flour for 300 g minced pork – enough for 30 – 35 moderate size dumplings.
- Place 300 g of plain flour in a bowl and make a well in the middle.
- Pour 1/2 cup boiling water into the well.
- Cover and let the steam spread for 3 mins.
- Open and run a wooden spoon across, mixing flour with water.
- Now, add more light warm water gradually and kneed the dough until it won’t stick on your fingers.
- Bring it to a ball, cover with a cling film and keep aside.
Let’s get on with the filling now.
Ingredients needed :
Although, I recommend minced pork as best for this recipe, you can opt for minced chicken or shredded cooked prawns in place of pork.
|Minced pork / chicken||300 g|
|Spring Onion – Class A||1 1/2 bunch|
|Dark Soy sauce||4 tbsp|
|Blended sesame oil||3 tbsp|
|Brown sugar||1/4 tsp|
|Ginger – cut into tiny pieces||1 tbsp|
|Corn flour||4 tbsp|
|Rice vinegar||1 tbsp|
|Cabbage shredded into tiny pieces (Adding cabbage will stretch the quantity more. Omit this if you are making for a fewer people. Only with spring onions, dumplings will have more flavour)||1/2 cup|
Lets make :
- Combine pork mince, soy sauce, spring onions, sessame oil, corn flour, rice vinegar, salt, ginger and sugar.
- Take out your dough and divide into equal size small balls as the size of a red cherry. Dust a tray or plate with plain flour and arrange them side by side. Cover lightly with a cling film.
- Dust the work surface with plain flour.
- Take out one ball and flatten it to a round using a rolling pin.
- Place a spoon full from the meat mixture in the middle.
- Bring both sides together and pinch on the pleat making them tightly clasped.
- Make enough for one round of steaming. While they are steaming away, make the next batch.
- Brush oil on the bottom and sides of the steamer and arrange dumplings, leaving a tiny gap from each other.
- Steam on high flame for 5 – 7 mins.
- You will notice the outer cover is cooked properly and glistering. Now, take the steamer part out and remove dumplings carefully with a spoon or a tong and place gently on a plate.
- Serve immediately with dipping sauce and sea-weed.
Recipe for the Soy dipping sauce
- 2 tbsp of Dark soy sauce
- 1/2 tbsp of warm water
- Chopped coriander leaves
- Chopped long red chili pieces for a fiery taste. (avoid this when serving kids)
- Whisk all together and serve in a separate bowl next to dumplings.
(Chinese chili oil. chili paste or fiery chili and garlic sauce are another options.)
Sea-weed side dish
- Simply shred the curly cabbage thinly.
- Deep fry in batches until crispy. (make sure to take out while they are still green. frying too long could make the colour brownish)
- Add brown sugar and salt as per your taste.
- Your yummy sea-weed is ready in a jiffy !!