Dumpling Wrapping Party!
It's been awhile since this blog was updated and I don't blame anyone for abandoning it... We've been having the potluck semi-regularly (Mid-year Thanksgiving was one, Sedar was another), but at least from my side, I haven't make anything super spectacular of note.
A few weeks ago, I thought I'd add a little ethnic twist and host a Chinese dumpling wrapping party. I have fond memories of growing up and wrapping dumplings for dinner every Wednesday night. Since then, my cousins and I have occasional dumpling wrapping get-togethers where we wrap hundreds of little dumplings and each consume more than our fair share, but haven't really shared this tradition with non-family.
As I'm the only regular ethnically Chinese member of the group, I decided it would be fun to introduce this fun activity with a larger group. We met at the local Asian food market and shopped for all the ingredients. I put together the filling and at around 5:30pm, the gang showed up at the door and rolled up their sleeves and started wrapping.... I showed them "ye olde family wrapping" method, but the guys got creative and we had some excellent "mohawk" wraps and "flying dutchman" wraps.
Of course everyone asked me for the filling recipe so here it is... enjoy! Except for the meat, all other ingredients are approximate. Add, delete or enhance based on preference. Whatever you do, they'll taste a THOUSAND times better than anything you buy at Costco!!! They also freeze beautifully.
Roasted Squid's Family Dumpling Recipe
1 lb ground pork
1 lb ground chicken or turkey
1 lb finely chopped shrimp (deveined and shelled)
3 or 4 finely chopped green onions
3 cloves finely minced garlic
5 dried and reconstituted Shitaki mushrooms, finely chopped
1 medium bunch of Chinese Chives, finely chopped (can also substitute 1/2 of a large Napa cabbage, finely chopped, salted, left to sit for 10 minutes, than sqeezed of excess moisture - personally that's too much work for me, so I prefer the chives when they are in season)
1 small bunch of cilantro
2 inch section of ginger, finely minced or grated
3-4 Tablespoons of soy sauce
1 T of kosher salt
1 T of corn starch
Mix everything together by hand, until thoroughly mixed. Let sit for a half or so to let flavors to meld. Wrap using favorite dumpling wrapper (at a $1 a package, much easier and more consistent than wrappers made by hand). Makes between 150 - 200 dumplings.
To freeze: Put raw dumplings on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. Make sure the dumplings are well seperated so they don't stick together. Stick in freezer for at least 2 hours or until completely frozen. Store in plastic freezer bags. These freeze GREAT and we always have some homemade ones in the fridge for quick and easy dinners.
To boil: Bring large pot of water to boil. Add 20- 25 dumplings (or as many as you want to cook - less is fine) to water. Wait for water to come to a boil again. Add a cup of cold water. Wait for the water to boil a second time. Drain water. Dumplings are ready to eat. Note that this technique also works for frozen dumplings.
To pan fry: Add about a couple tablespoons of oil to bottom of nonstick skillet and put on high. When oil is hot, add enough dumplings to cover bottom of skillet (or as many as you want to cook - less if fine). Note that to pan fry, it's important to wrap dumplings so that they stand up. Wait a couple of minutes until the bottoms start to crisp. Add enough cold water so that it goes half way up the dumplings. Be careful as the oil can splatter. Cover the skillet and wait until all the water has boiled away (about 10 minutes or so) - this steam-cooks the dumplings. Uncover the skillet, and let fry until bottom is as crunchy as you like it. For extra crispiness, you can add a teaspoon of corn starch in the cold water bath. Note that this technique also works for frozen dumplings.
Roasted Squid's Dumpling Dipping Sauce
2 parts soy sauce
1 part balsamic vinegar
A splash of Sesame Oil to taste
Finely chopped green onions to taste
Finely chopped cilantro to taste
And Chili-Garlic sauce for added spice, on the side
Note that this recipe isn't exactly traditional. When I was growing up, it was plain white vinegar and no green onions or cilantro. In other families, it's just plain soy sauce. But this is what was served last night. You can also add chopped garlic or whatever additional herbs you'd like.
I also made Brown Sticky Rice, which I had made at a previous potluck. Recipe here.