Thursday, August 9, 2012

Pork & Green Onion Dumplings

When I was growing up, my family would have dumpling parties.  My parents would invite a few of their friends and their families over to make dumplings.  I remember it being a lot of work and very time consuming, so we wouldn't have fresh dumplings very often.

Nowadays, in Asian grocery stores, there is a huge variety of dumplings in the freezer section.  They're made of chicken, pork, beef, lamb, and seafood.  They have mushrooms, lotus root, green onion, cabbage, spinach, and more.  Frozen dumplings are super convenient but unfortunately, a lot of these dumplings are also full of preservatives, fillers, and MSG.

Recently, on a whim, I decided to make dumplings on my own.  It didn't take as much time as I remembered and the end product was so tasty, with fresh ingredients and none of the preservatives, fillers, or MSG that I want to avoid serving to my family.  The best part was that I could freeze a bunch of dumplings and have them for future meals.

Dumpling Wrappers:  You can make your own dumpling wrappers from flour and water.  Alternatively, in the Asian grocery store, there are all sorts of wrappers - sui mai wrappers, posticker wrappers, dumping wrappers, wonton wrappers, and others.  Dumplings are traditionally made with the round shaped wrappers.  Wontons are traditionally made with square shaped wrappers.  I use the round shaped wrappers.  I look at the serving size and servings per package and do a little math, to find out how many wrappers per package.  I want the package with the least number of wrappers because that means they are the thickest wrapper.  In my case, it's the potsticker wrappers.

Dumpling Filling: There's a lot of flexibility in what you put in a dumpling.  I like to keep it simple and use green onions and ground pork.  My mom likes ground pork with cabbage, mushrooms, and shrimp.  For seasoning, I add salt, pepper, garlic powder, ginger powder, light soy sauce, and oyster sauce.  I put in some corn starch to bind the filling together.

Wrapping:  Maybe "wrapping" is not the best term to use here.  I'm using "wrapping" because that's the verb used in Chinese.  Basically, you take a wrapper, place a teaspoon of the pork filling in the center.  Dip your finger in water and trace the perimeter of the upper half of the wrapper.  Fold the dumpling in half like a taco, then pleat the edges (fast forward video to 2min 27sec).  Pleats are typically only on one side, but it doesn't matter since it's all going in your tummy anyway.

Cooking: Dumplings can be steamed, boiled, pan fried, or deep fried.  Baking or microwaving aren't really recommended.


Pork & Green Onion Dumplings

1 lb ground pork
1 c green onions (chopped)
1 T oyster sauce
1 T light soy sauce
1/2 t salt
1/8 t pepper
1/8 t garlic powder
1/8 t ginger powder
1 T corn starch

1 lb pkg dumpling wrappers

  1. Mix all ingredients (except dumpling wrappers) together.
  2. Put a teaspoon of the pork filling in the center of a dumpling wrapper.  Wet your finger, and trace it along the perimeter of the upper half of the wrapper (like a rainbow).  Fold the dumpling in half, like a taco.  Pleat the edges together.
  3. Dumplings may be frozen at this point.  Hint: freeze dumplings for an hour on a plate, then transfer to a Ziploc bag.  This will help prevent the dumplings from sticking together and from becoming smashed.
  4. Bring water to a boil.  Add in frozen dumplings, bring back to a boil.  Boil for 8-10 minutes.  Dumplings should puff up and float.

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