Pork and Chive Dumplings

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Dumplings are amazing. Little rounds of pastry encasing delicious fillings. Sometimes the pastry even manages to hide warm broth that oozes out when you gently prod the delicate casing with your chopstick. SO. GOOD.

Unfortunately, I haven't yet figured out how to seal in the liquid, so my dumplings don't release clear, tasty liquid when stabbed. But they are still delicious. And one day, when I do figure it out, I'll be sure to let you know.

We had dumplings the other night, and I set Milo and Laura to work folding thousands and thousands of dumplings while I fried up this batch.

You can put whatever you want in dumplings. Minced meat, shredded chicken, prawns, scallops, vegetables (cabbage, chive, spring onions, are normal but you could put anything in it, really - corn, broccoli, spinach. Eggplant. Anything you have), even leftover Bolognese or burrito mince- it will be good. I was originally going to make pork and prawn dumplings with diced water chestnuts (my favourite) but then I noticed my chives growing so I decided to use them instead. This recipe uses garlic chives, which is what I have in my garden, but you can use regular chives. Just be warned that your hands and fingers might smell chivey a few days later, like mine do.

Pork and Chive Dumplings
Makes about 100

- 500 g pork mince
- 1 brown onion, diced
- 1 shallot, diced
- 5 cloves garlic, crushed and finely chopped (or pressed with a garlic press)
- 1 1/2 cups chives, finely chopped
- 3 spring onion, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup sesame seeds
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup sesame oil
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tbsp Shao Xing cooking wine or sherry
- 1 tbsp corn flour
- salt and pepper
- 4 packets of gow gee pastry (the round ones, although you can certainly use the square wonton
pastry if you like)

Not all ingredients are pictured, because I always leave things out. Sorry ):

In a large bowl, combine the meat, onions, shallots, chives, spring onions, garlic and sesame seeds. In a small bowl, mix the sauces, sesame oil and Shao Xing. Stir in the cornflour until dissolved. Pour the seasoning into the mince and stir well. Season with salt and pepper - I use powdered pepper and also fresh ground pepper because I like it to be peppery throughout with tiny chunks of ground pepper. Usually I'd use white pepper that comes in paper packets, but we didn't have any at home. I also use table salt (or demon salt as we call it) instead of sea salt. I don't know why. But I remember learning to make it as a child, and being taught to use this salt, and not the fancy pink salt flakes or sea salt flakes. So I've always done that.

Get a little plate ready and a little bowl of water, and a big plate for your dumplings.

Put one pastry on a plate (or in your palm) and use a small spoon to dollop a small round of filling into the middle. If you can be bothered, you can make quenelles using two spoons, but I didn't bother because it doesn't matter much.

Dip your finger in water and paint a half circle. This is to seal the pastry so your filling doesn't fall off when you cook it. You can also use
an egg wash, but water works just fine.

Now the tricky part - folding it shut. I couldn't take any photos doing this that showed the process, but you can look at this tutorial here (start at 2:26). Basically, you fold the circle in half, and then pinch the top piece until it fits onto the bottom piece. Press them together and seal, and flatten the bottom so it can stand up on its own. There's your dumpling.

Repeat with the rest of the wrappers until the filling is all gone.

Heat up some oil in a frying pan. When the oil is hot (I test by sticking in a wooden chopstick, and if tiny bubbles appear, the oil is hot enough), put in your dumplings.

Meanwhile, put your kettle on to boil with 2 cups of water. Turn the dumplings every few minutes. You want them a nice golden brown.

When all three sides are golden brown, pour in a tiny bit of water so and let that boil. When the water has been absorbed, the dumpling is ready (: you can tell when the pastry is translucent and not doughy.

Alternatively, you can deep fry, boil, or steam the dumplings. But pan fried like this is my favorite way.

Make your dipping sauce. I make mine with 3 tbsp soy sauce, 1/4 cup hot water, 1 tbsp sesame oil, 1 tbsp chilli oil, 1 tbsp sesame seeds, 1 tbsp fish sauce, 1 tbsp vinegar and 2 tsp sugar. I also had some pickled carrot, miso soup and chawanmushi (Japanese egg custard).

So delicious! (:

xx gee


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