Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Chinese Pork Dumplings

170g flour
90 ml cold water
110g minced pork
15 tiger prawns, peeled and deheaded
1 spring onion finely chopped
1 small piece of ginger finely chopped
light soy sauce
sea salt
Chinese cooking rice wine
1 egg, beaten
Sesame seed oil
A handful of fresh coriander, finely chopped

To make the dough, put the flour into a bowl and make a well in the center, then begin to drizzle cold water into the well, a little at a time, stirring with chopsticks around the edge of the well to incorporate the flour and form little lumps. Continue to drizzle the water where ever the flour is still dry, stirring till a dough begins to form. Knead with your hands till you have a piece of round smooth dough. Leave to rest for 20-30 min.
Take a piece of dough, about the size of a mini bread roll, and knead it again, turning and folding it. Then using a wooden rolling pin, roll your dough as thin as paper, into a round shape. Cut into strips, then into triangles. You need to think in terms of making 6-10 little dumplings for each person, so make as many as you need.

To make the stuffing chop the prawns and pork together very very finely, and mix with the spring onion and ginger. Add a little soy sauce, a few pinches of sea salt, a few drops of rice wine and one beaten egg, and mix well.

To make the dumplings: Taking a little of the stuffing mixture, place it towards one corner of a triangle and fold that corner over to cover the mixture. Then fold again in the same direction, so that you can’t see the mixture except through the ends of this little roll. Then, holding your thumbs a third of the way along from either end, twist and turn up, joining the two remaining corners.

To cook: Boil for 3-4 minutes, and serve with some chopped spring onion, a few drops of sesame seed oil and a drizzle of light soy sauce.

These are also from the book Music, Food and Love. First I will say that the dumplings tasted absolutely gorgeous. They were so good that my son has been asking me to make them again at every meal since. So no kidding, they are tasty. That said, I have some issues with the way the recipe is written.

I would only recommend following this recipe, if you have a good amount of confidence in dumpling making. Otherwise, find another recipe that explains things better, and then use this filling mixture.

First is the dough. It’s no problem to make, but it makes a tiny tiny little ball of dough. Really small. It also doesn’t really specify what size each dumpling skin should be, so you are stuck with a tiny small dough, and no idea how far you should stretch it. The skins have to be big enough that the filling doesn’t stick out, or they won’t stand up to the boiling, so they can’t be too small, but if they are too big, you’ll only get a few dumplings out of it.

Then the making of the dumplings… I typed it up just as it is in the book. If you can understand how that’s supposed to work, you have better spatial reasoning skills then I do.

Still, I enjoy wrapping things in dough, so I just made them as small as I could and still manage, and I sealed them up any way I could. I cooked them slightly longer, in case I had made them too big, and changed the cooking time, but after 5 min they were totally and completely done.

Very challenging, but still fun, and in the end we got to eat many tasty tiny dumplings that I loved!

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