Making dumplings for the first time can prove a little tricky but with tips and a bit of practice you'll be making your own in no time. Pop them into the freezer and you have a delicious snack that you can prepare quickly. My gorgeous girls love them and they are great for tots.... mmmmmmmmmmmmm.
If you have a cleaver, go to your local butcher and ask for pork belly and try mincing your own meat, this way you will end up with a spongey, moist filling that is flavoursome and juicy instead of dry.
Chinese cooks use two cleavers to mince their meat but I only feel comfortable using one thanks very much!
Here we are aiming for half fat and half lean pork so that the fat renders down whilst cooking and keeps the filling moist.
Slice the ginger then fan it out and shred it finely.
In a fan type motion with your knife or cleaver, dice the ginger finely in a similar way that you'd finely chop herbs.
Mix hot water into the flour first before adding cold so that the water cooks the flour and it ends up looking like this. This is an important step as the hot water helps to make the dough elastic and it is easier to fill your dumpling wrappers.
Keep kneading the dough just like bread so that it ends up looking like the dough below.
Here, the gluten has started to relax and the dough is still soft and a little sticky. Try not to spread too much flour on your working surface or you will lose the stickiness in the dough. If you have to use a little flour only use cornflour otherwise, plain flour and the like will be absorbed into the dough and make it unmanageable.
Cut the dough into portions and cover them in plastic wrap ready for use.
Roll the portion of dough into a long rope and cut with a plastic scraper, similar to gnocchi. Notice that there isn't too much flour on the work surface.
Press the piece of dough down with the palm of your hand, cut surface facing up, so that a circle is formed then roll the wrapper as above. I have a dim sum rolling pin but you can go to your local hardware store and have a small bit of wood cut to suit.
When you fill the dumpling it is important to leave a a rim so that you can fold and pleat the wrapper. Oops, in the above photo I dredged the dumplings with too much cornflour which made it difficult to pleat and seal the wrapper - not good.
To form the dumpling, fill the wrapper, fold it in half then pinch the right hand corner. Start pleating the front side of the wrapper whilst pinching against the back of the wrapper and there you have it. Notice that I haven't dredged the bench or dumpling with much cornflour and the result is a lot better.
300g pork mince
2 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp shao xing wine
1 tsp light soy sauce
1/2 tsp white pepper
3 large slices ginger chopped finely (I don't normally measure the ginger and put lots in for health benefits)
1 1/2 tsp cornflour
Marinate the pork with the sesame oil, sugar, salt, shao hsing wine, light soy sauce and pepper for 20 minutes then add the finely chopped ginger and cornflour. Mix well to combine. Set aside.
300g plain flour
1 tsp sesame oil
2/3 cup hot water
1/3 cup cold water
cornflour for dredging (see photo's and tips above)
Sift flour into a bowl then add the sesame oil and hot water. Mix together with a pair of chopsticks. Add the cold water a little at a time until the dough forms then knead until smooth. Cover with cling wrap and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
Cut the dough into portions. Roll each dough portion into a rope and cut with a plastic scraper similar to gnocchi. Use cornflour sparingly to dredge the dumplings (if required) to prevent them from sticking to the bench top.
Press the piece of dough down with the palm of your hand, cut surface facing up, so that a circle is formed then roll the wrapper - see photo's above.
Fill the wrapper with the pork mixture and pleat the dumpling. Place the finished dumpling on a tray lined with parchment paper. Cover with a damp cloth so that they don't dry out. At this stage you can cook them in a pot of boiling water for about 5 minutes or you can add them to a pan with oil and water to make pot stickers. Alternatively, you can freeze them. Serve with Chinkiang vinegar with slivers of ginger - enjoy.
If you have some left over pork filling, roll it into little balls and freeze them. For a quick snack boil up some chicken stock with some finely diced coriander root and add the pork balls. When the pork is nearly cooked add some choy sum and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Serve with coriander leaves, some finely sliced spring onion and a drizzle of sesame oil.