Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Freestyling on Feeling

I commented to a friend today that I'm slowly regressing into my Chinese culinary roots. To which she retorted, "you're turning into your mother!" Which, in all honesty, wouldn't be such a terrible thing. However that would mean that I had only a arsenal of 6 dishes to make. Awww, sorry Mothership, but we all know it's true. I'm a lot more adventurous in the kitchen, and she's acknowledged that - and I think my attitude around food has rubbed off on her quite a bit. If she likes something I've made, she'll ask me how I did it, what did I change from that last rendition, or if I added something new. I would like to think I've expanded her palate a bit, but one of my favourite "mom" quotes is, "I don't eat the couscous!" (in response to anything cooked, granular, and remotely resembling couscous)

Anyway, getting back to this post. I had a craving for dumplings...homemade dumplings. I have noticed that I don't have any food in my freezer that's quick to prepare and nutritious. Don't get me wrong, I do have a lot of nutritious food in my about four different parts or frozen solid! And a spoon can only eat so much oatmeal and yogurt. So I decided to make some dumplings - which take about 10 minutes to cook and served piping hot. I didn't have a recipe in mind, but there were a few things I wanted to integrate - such as sweet potatoes and yams. I was definitely looking for a vegetarian-themed filling and went with:

-sweet potatoes
-garlic chives
-green onions
-ginger & garlic
-pork (only for half)

I mashed all of these fillings in a couple of large bowls (one vegetarian, one meat) and added to each:
-1/2 egg
-1 tablespoons cornstarch
-1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
-1 tablespoon oyster sauce
-1/2 tablespoon sugar
-1 teaspoon sesame oil

Mix well and let chill.

So there's really nothing I can say about dumpling pleating. To be quite honest, my first attempt a couple of years ago failed spectacularly, so I didn't really have very high expectations. Here's the thing - it will always be about the fillings - so who cares how fancy you fold or pleat your dumplings? Fold them over in a triangle for all I care! Do it ravioli style or just mush up the ends into a big ol' knot. To each their own. I did a more traditional pleat (4 for veggie, 3 for meat) and I have to say - they turned out really well! I used the generic round dumpling wrappers (premade) and used water to seal. It doesn't take too long - and if you have some nice background music on, you can easily sit there and wrap dozens! Which is exactly what I did - but now I have two giant freezer bags full of dumplings ready to go! Nutritious snack/meal success!

To fry it "steam-fry" style:
Heat up a shallow pan/saute pan with about 1 1/2 tablespoons of oil on medium high.
Lay about 8-10 dumplings in the pan. Let cook and sizzle for about a minute.
Pour in 1/3 of a cup of water, cover the pan and reduce the heat to medium LOW.
Let cook for about 10 minutes or until the water has evaporated.
Once the water has evaporated, the dumplings should start sizzling and crackling - once that side has browned nicely, flip over and lightly brown another side (if you like - feel free to take them off the heat before flipping and eat) if you like for another minute or two.
Serve with dipping sauce (equal amounts light soy and rice vinegar, 1 green onion chopped) and hot sauce.

1 comment:

  1. hahahah "steam fry". I do love me some steam fry on everything. The dumplings look great and it was very Michael Smith Chef at Home style of you to do this ;)