A good dumpling is a thing of beauty, and these dumplings are good. Really good.
It's taken me about 30 attempts and 5 years to get these little beauties right, but I think I've just about perfected the traditional Chinese dumpling.
What you'll need:
Minced pork (leave out for vegetarian and replace with mushroom)
Rice wine vinegar
Chicken powder (leave out for vegetarian)
Chilli oil (if you like chilli oil)
Small bowl of water
Large frying pan with a lid/ wok with a saucepan lid
Dumpling casings. Get these from the Wet Market. Ying Tung Wet Market is cheaper and the lady who sells them is super lovely. For a family of four I ask for $20 worth. "Yee sup mun, un gui" and point to the dumplings.
You'll then need fillings. This comes down to personal preference, but I like to make minced pork and chive dumplings. I get the pork from the supermarket as I've no idea how to ask for minced pork in a wet marker beyond "jew yot". The chives I just pick a bunch and pay.
The magic comes from the flavourings. Once all the ingredients are finely chopped and added to a large bowl, sprinkle in one teaspoon of chicken powder, two capfuls of rice wine vinegar, a good squirt of soy sauce, a liberal sprinkling of garlic powder and a teaspoon of sugar. Mix that all together and leave it to infuse in the fridge for about half an hour.
When you're ready to make the dumplings, take a casing and lay it flat in your non-dominant hand. Add a teaspoon of the filling being careful not to let any juice in. No one likes a soggy dumpling. Pack it until there is about 1cm of space around the edge all the way around.
Take a little water and dab it sparingly around half the dumpling edge, then fold the other half of the casing up to meet the wet edge.
Place the dumpling on a flat surface and push down a little to create a flat bottom. Now pinch the tops all the way across to seal in all the filling. Place it on a plate and move on to the next one.
They should look a bit like this
Now grab your large frying pan/ wok and add some oil. Peanut oil tastes best but it also kills you faster, so feel free to use whatever oil you have available. Get the pan nice and hot, until the oil starts to smoke. Now add the dumplings, flat bottom down to the pan. Move them around quickly so they don't stick. I fill up the pan with as many dumplings as I can but not so close that they all stick together.
Turn the hear down a little and fry for about 2 minutes. Now place the lid over the dumplings so they're completely covered. Pour over enough water to add about 1cm's worth to the bottom of the pan. It should make a lot of noise and steam and be quite dramatic. Now cook the dumplings with the lid on for another 3-4 minutes.
Once the water has evaporated, remove the lid and take the dumplings out. Leave to cool for a minute as they're hotter than the sun when they first come out.
Make a dipping sauce of soy, sugar, fresh ginger and chilli oil. Eat.
Apparently you can freeze any left over dumplings that you've not cooked (so long as the pork wasn't pre-frozen) but I've never had any left to do this.
If you have any other great dumpling recipes, leave them in the comments below.
Also if you know how to say 'minced pork' in Cantonese, let me know!