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Steamed pork dumplings.

There are not many foods that are almost universally loved by all. Dumplings happen to be one of those magical foods that are delicious at anytime of the day. It is said that the Chinese have been making dumplings since 225 A.D. Any food that stands the test of time for that long must be damn good.

Many people are intimidated by making and folding the dough, but don’t be, you can always buy pre made wrappers at the grocery store. There are many different techniques for folding dumplings, so do what works for you. When researching how to make dumplings, I was intimidated by videos of cooks folding dozens of dumplings in minutes with ninja like precision. These cooks have been mastering their craft day in and day out for many many years. I soon realized that my poorly folded dumplings tasted just as good as the ones I folded well. Don’t overthink it, you will find that making dumplings can be as simple or complex as you want it to be.

Ingredients:

For the Dough

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup cold water
  • You can also buy pre made dumpling wrappers at your grocery store.

For the Filling

  • 2lb Fatty ground pork
  • Fresh ginger about 2” long
  • 1/2 cup minced scallions
  • 1 Tbsp rice wine
  • 1.5 Tsp sesame oil
  • 1 Tsp Soy sauce
  • 1.5 Tsp sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • Ground pepper

Method:

First make to make your dough, thoroughly mix the flour and salt together in a bowl. After, add water and mix until the dough comes together. Once the dough has come together knead until smooth, then wrap dough in plastic wrap and allow to rest for 30-60min at room temp.

While waiting for dough to rest you can begin to make your filling. Start by peeling and grating your ginger with a microplane or grater, then chop your scallions. In a bowl add your pork, ginger, scallions, rice wine, sesame oil, soy sauce, sugar, salt/pepper. Mix well in a bowl to even distribute all ingredients, then cover and set aside to allow the flavors to meld.

To make your dumpling wrappers, start by taking your dough ball and evenly dividing into 4 sections. Flour each section, then evenly roll each section into a log about 1” in diameter. Then with a knife cut about 1 1/4” sections from each dough log, flour sections well and roll into little golf balls. To roll dough balls into wrappers, start by flouring your work surface well and then smooth a dough ball into a pancake with the heel of your hand. With a rolling pin, roll dough out dough then make 1/8th of a turn  with dough and repeat until you have a round wrapper about 4” in diameter. Making sure your work surface and dough is well floured will make your life a lot easier and prevent the dough from sticking. If you want bigger or smaller dumplings adjust the size of the sections you cut from the dough log accordingly.

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Rolling out dumplings

Once you have your wrappers rolled out, scoop a heaping 1/2 Tbsp of filling into each of your wrappers. There are a variety of ways to fold the dough over on the filling, you can check out youtube for instructional videos. The easiest way would be to fold one end of the dough over the filling to make a half moon, then pinch the ends together all the way around, and making sure to remove all the air pockets that may form.

To pan fry dumplings add about 2 Tbsp of canola oil in a non stick pan over med-high heat. Once the oil is hot but not smoking add your dumplings with the sealed edge facing upwards, be careful not to overcrowd the pan. Once the dumplings have browned on the bottom (about 3-5 min), add water to the pan until the dumplings are halfway submerged, and cover with a lid to steam for about 15-20min or until they become slightly translucent, cut open a dumpling to test that they are done all the way through.

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One of the many ways to fold dumplings

To steam dumplings you can use a bamboo steamer or vegetable steamer. What ever you choose the principle is the same. You want to boil a layer of water in the bottom of your pot and have the dumplings sitting above the water level so that it is cooked by the rising steam. To do this add your water to the pot and place your steamer above the water level, then bring water to a boil. Once the water has come to a boil carefully place your dumplings on the steamer and close the lid and allow to steam for 20-30mins. Depending on what kind of steamer you are using you may need to add more water. Be VERY careful when removing the lid from the pot, steam burns hurt like a bitch.

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