This month’s Daring Cooks challenge was a great opportunity to try a brand new technique – one that I had never attempted before – and I was very excited about giving it a go. That’s right, this month the Daring Cooks challenge was all about Chinese dumplings, chosen by Jen from Use Real Butter. The catch however, was that we had to make the dough from scratch! At first I was a little nervous, especially about folding those gorgeous pleats, but I found that I quite enjoyed the process and would most definitely try it again to experiment with different fillings and dipping sauces.
This time I made a pork filling with ginger, green onions, water chestnuts and soy sauce. It was very tasty and had a nice balance of flavours and textures. The dough came together pretty quickly and easily, and I was thankful for Jen’s step-by-step photographic instructions on her blog. The pleating tutorial was especially useful, and I like to think I did a passable job for my first attempt! My sister and I made quite a good team, with her rolling as I folded, and then swapping so she could have a practice at folding them too.
I chose to make potstickers, because they looked and sounded delicious, and they most certainly were, with crisp and slightly crunchy bottoms. To go with them, I made a simple dipping sauce similar to what Jen suggested which was delicious as well. I will say, though, that they all disappeared in less than a quarter of the time it took to actually make them. Next time I will have to make a double batch!
Adapted from Use Real Butter
• 450g pork mince
• 3 stalks green onions, very finely chopped
• 2 tablespoons minced ginger
• ¾ cup water chestnuts, minced
• ½ teaspoon salt
• 2 tablespoons sesame oil
• 1 tablespoon soy sauce
• 2 tablespoons corn starch
• 2 cups plain flour
• ½ cup warm water
• 2 parts soy sauce
• 1 part vinegar (red or white)
• A few drops sesame oil
• Sugar, to taste
1. To make the filling, combine all ingredients in a medium size bowl and mix well to combine.
2. To make the dough, place flour in the work bowl of a food processor. Run the processor and pour the warm water in until incorporated. Pour the contents onto a clean work surface and knead until uniform and smooth. The dough should be firm and silky to the touch but not sticky. Cover with a damp towel for 15 minutes.
3. Take the dough and form a flattened dome. Cut into strips about 4-5cm wide and then shape strips into rounded long cylinders. On a floured surface, cut the strips into 2cm pieces. Press palm down on each piece to form a flat circle. With a rolling pin, roll a circular wrapper from each flat disc. Take care not to roll out too thin or the dumplings will break during cooking. Leave the centers slightly thicker than the edges.
4. Place a tablespoon of filling in the center of each wrapped and fold the dough in half, pleating the edges along one side. Use Real Butter’s pleating tutorial was indispensable to me here! Keep all unused dough under a damp cloth.
5. To pan-fry, place dumplings in a frying pan with 2-3 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Heat on high and fry for a few minutes until bottoms are golden. Add 1/2 cup water and cover. Cook until the water has boiled away and then uncover and reduce heat to medium or medium low. Let the dumplings cook for another 2 minutes then remove from heat and serve.
6. To make dipping sauce, combine ingredients in a small bowl and stir until sugar has dissolved.