Our numerous visits to various Chinese restaurants in the 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 in order to produce the best and, much to my delight, came out with exciting results.
Surely, it became an instant hit with my family members and then with my friends. I even went as far as making sea-weed, the most favoured Chinese side dish. In fact, in place of real sea-weed, which is hard to find, I used Savoury cabbage (Curly cabbage). Aha !!! Now that’s interesting isn’t it? Well, the taste is same and I even happened to wonder whether in Chinatown, they too serve us cabbage !!
How to make my sea-weed, in actual sense, cabbage, is given below.
First, make the dough with the following ingredients : Enough for 30 – 35 dumplings.
- Place 300g of plain flour in a bowl and make a well in the middle. Now, pour 1/2 cup of boiling water into the well, cover the bowl and let it rest for 5 min.
- Open the lid and run through a wooden spoon. Again cover and leave for 10 mins.
- Now pour 1/2 cup of warm water gradually while kneading the flour with your hand . Add more warm water if needed and knead until the dough becomes soft to touch and not sticking onto your fingers. Cover and let it rest for 30 mins. In the mean time, make the filling.
What you need for the filling;
|Pork mince or Chicken mince||300 g|
|Spring Onion – Class A – 120 g||1 bunch|
|Soy sauce (dark)||4 tbsp or more|
|Blended sesame oil||4 tbsp|
|Brown Sugar||3 pinches|
|Ginger – shreded||1 inch root|
|Corn flour||4 tbsp|
|Rice vinegar||1 tbsp|
|Cabbage – shredded||1 cup (optional)|
- Mix all the ingredients thoroughly and keep aside for 10 mins for the flavours to bind before making.
- Pork mince is a better choice for this recipe as it gives a very flavourful results.
- A cup full of shredded Chinese cabbage could be added to increase the quantity of the filling in case you are making them for a larger family or a gathering.
- Divide the dough into equal size balls as the size of a red cherry and arrange on a side of the kitchen work- top.
- Lightly flour the surface of the kitchen work- top or a wide chopping board. Place a ball of dough and roll it to a flat round shape with a rolling pin.
- Place a table spoon of minced meat mixture onto the middle of the round shape.
- Bring both sides together and pinch on the pleat making them tightly clasped.
- Make enough for one round of steaming. While one batch is in the steamer, you can go ahead making the next batch to avoid any extra uncooked dumplings to get damaged by sticking onto the surface.
- The final step is to steam the dumplings. Brush oil on the bottom of the steamer and arrange dumplings without sticking to each other. Now, steam on high flame for about 5 mins. You will see the colour of outer cover changes and start glistering when cooked enough.
- Switch off the flame and take out dumplings one by one, very gently, with the help of a soft edged tongs and place on a plate .
Let’s make the dipping sauce
- 2 tbsp – Dark soy sauce
- 1 tbsp – warm water
- chopped coriander leaves
- a few pieces of chopped red chili for a fiery blend. (avoid chili when serving kids)
Whisk all together and serve in a separate bowl next to dumplings with chopsticks, a fork or a spoon. In place of this sauce dipper, you can opt for Chinese chili oil or chili paste which are ideal dippers for these dumplings.
- You simply have to shred the curly cabbage as thinly as possible.
- Then deep-fry in hot oil. Just a min or two is enough for them to get crispy. Do not over frying will lose it’s lovely green colour.
- Now add sugar and salt as per your taste.
- Yummy sea-weed is ready to devour with delight !!