Chinese dumplings – Easy, flavourful best dumplings ever !

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dav

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 !!

cabbage

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.  

Dough it.

300 g Plain flour for 300 g minced pork – enough for 30 – 35 moderate size dumplings.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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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.

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 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
 Salt  3 pinches
 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 : 

Mix it

  • Combine pork mince, soy sauce, spring onions, sessame oil, corn flour, rice vinegar, salt, ginger and sugar.

Fold it

  • 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.

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  • Bring both sides together and pinch on the pleat making them tightly clasped.

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Steam it

  • 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.

Chinese dumplings

 

  • 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)

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  • 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

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  • 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 !!
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Chinese Dumplings – Flavourful dumplings better than what you get from restaurents

nfd

dav

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.

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  • 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;

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 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
Salt 3 pinches
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.

Let’s make:

  • 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.

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  • Bring both sides together and pinch on the pleat making them tightly clasped.

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  • 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.

Chinese dumplings

  • 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 .

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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)

chil 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.

 

Sea-weed 

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  • 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 !!
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