June 2009 Daring Cooks Challenge
The second Daring Cooks' challenge is hosted by Jen of use real butter and it is Chinese dumplings which can be steamed, boiled or fried (called potstickers). Jen, thank you, so, so much for the delightful challenge!!
The Challenge: Chinese dumplings/potstickers
(aka gyoza in Japanese)
It's a basic concept: a filling inside a dough wrapper, sealed, and cooked. This delicious theme runs through many cultures and is among the more popular bites at Chinese restaurants - especially dim sum. The recipe Jen provided is based on a family recipe. There is a lot of wiggle room and Jen encouraged Daring Cooks' to explore. And said “If you've made them before - great! Now try something different!”
The is my first attempt
Notes during the process
1. The dough is very stiff and dry as compared to bread dough
2. The shaping requires a little repetition to get right.
3. I found that when you can just start to see the filling through the dough it is about the right thinness.
4. I made a light lunch for some mates of mine so I choose 4 flavours
a. Pork, chives, roasted garlic, roasted onions and wattle seed
b. Seasoned seaweed with chilli, onions, garlic, lime and Nashi apples
c. Lamb, mint, chives and sheared Nori sheets
d. Pork, red cabbage, Chinese five spice and dandelion
The very dry dough
The dough rolled into a sausage shape
The shaped dumplings waiting to be filled
The filling on top of the dough
Pork, chives, roasted garlic, roasted onions and wattle seed
Seasoned seaweed with chilli, onions, garlic, lime and Nashi apples. This flavour combination was my absolute favourite and most of the other people there as well I will be making these again in a few days time.
Lamb, mint, chives. onions, garlic and sheared Nori sheets
Pork, red cabbage, Chinese five spice and dandelion. Dandelion is so nice with cabbage and pork just adds that nice touch of meat.
The formed dumplings
A close up of the dumplings
I served them with two home-made dipping sauces
1. Traditional Chinese Dumpling sauce made from light and dark soy sauce, red rice vinegar, hot chilli oil, sugar, garlic and ginger
2. Ketjap Manis an Indonesian sauce mixture of brown sugar, molasses, garlic, ginger, star anise, liquid smoke, bay leaf and coriander seeds. Which is my favourite Asian Sauce.
The cut versions of the dumplings
My second attempt
After about 3 dozen my technique for pleating the dumplings got a lot better as you can see. These are so delicious and morish and look so darn good - a very easy meal.
Ready to be fried in the pan
Just fried dumplings these are nice also
Fried and steamed potstickers
Cut up potstickers
I did eight varieties -
Korean beef chilli oil and pickled veggies
pumpkin, tofu, nutmeg, chilli
pork, chives, ginger, onions, chilli
spinach, tofu, egg, mushrooms
bacon, omelette and truffle oil
seasoned seaweed, potato, ginger, fried onion.
Chicken and corn
Mushroom, beef and oyster sauce
My third attempt
I thought I would do a sweet dumplings dish I did deep fried dumplings. These were delicious I served them golden syrup, the crunchy skin went so well with the mint/fruit/cream cheese filling and golden syrup.
The sweet filling of lots of mint, cherries, grapes, pineapple, banana and pawpaw, dried blueberry skins combined with cream cheese.
The deep fried dumplings
Close up of the dumplings
Golden syrup coated dumplings
My fourth attempt
I had a high tea for a special friend's birthday and I decided to do the best Chinese Dumplings I could so I thought for a while last night (thanks SingingHorse and fun4eat for inspiration) and I asked what was my friend's most favourite thing and the answer was 'flowers' – so that is what I did. This was an EFFORT to do and to make it look nice took a lot of time but it was so so worth it. For example the petals (i.e. the individual colour dumplings) were of different sizes (green largest, red medium and white smallest) and different thickness's (green thickest, red medium and white the thinnest) to make the flower and also I had to control where the colour was strongest so for the green petals the bases were white going to a deep green at the pleating. The red petals started at the base light red going to a dark red near the top of the petal or the pleating. Then I organised the filling so the green had the most 'herbs' going through to the white that had the most 'flowers'. There were several other processes involved I won't bore you with all the details now.
Saying it got a good reception is a massive understatement – I got lots of brownie points for doing this even the restaurant owner liked it. I was lucky when cooked the colours darken and came out perfect and looked so natural.
The red dumpling dough is coloured with rose water that was red, the green with clover juice and the white with roasted onion, since it was a flower I kept to that theme – the filling was crunchy lotus, light chicken mince, chrysanthemum, clover, and roses. It smelt wonderful when cooked and tasted like it looked – very much like eating an edible flower salad.
The dumpling flower for a high tea for a friend's birthday party
Assembling the flower
My fifth attempt
I made crab dumplings with kelp seaweed/jellyfish soup
Ingredients for soup – kelp, jelllyfish, black sesame oil, chilli oil, white and black sesame seeds, sweet soy sauce (ketjap manis), double delux soy sauce (soy infused with cardamon, star anisee, orange peel, lemon grass and chilli), fish sauce, oyster sauce, melted fried anchoivies, liquid smoke, rice wine, chicken and prawn stock. Barely simmer for 20 mins.
Ingredients for dumpling filling – starting from top going clockwise - minced chicken, crab meat covered in chilli oil & sesame oil, sliced asparagus, Chinese preserved vegetables (cabbage, onions, turnip and carrot), garlic chives, seasoned seaweed, double delux soy sauce, pepper, sea salt, arrowroot. In Australia you can get garlic chives that is chives that taste like chives and garlic – look for it in your stores it is beautiful and saves time.
Fried seafood dumplings (I noticed that the potstickers already posted where very very well fried so I did that these are not burned just fried to within an a hair's breath of becoming bitter - requires constant checking I used my best heavy stainless steel frying pan on med-high heat about 4 mins then added some of the kelp/jellyfish soup then covered to steam on high heat the dumplings about 4 mins.)
Fried and steamed potstickers (with a side order of kelp and jellyfish on the left side of the dish) notice the change in colour when steamed - from very dark brown/black to glossy bright brown very interesting the close ups are of the same dumpling! (yes it is much better when fried very very dark then steamed it has a lovely deep undertone from the frying.)
Seafood potsticker kelp and jelly fish soup (actually the soup was excellent I never realised jelly fish and kelp where so good together.)
Recipes for the Daring Cooks' June Challenge.
The Challenge: Chinese dumplings/potstickers (aka gyoza in Japanese)
It's a basic concept: a filling inside a dough wrapper, sealed, and cooked. This delicious theme runs through many cultures and is among the more popular bites at Chinese restaurants - especially dim sum. The recipe I provide is based on my family recipe. There is a lot of wiggle room and I encourage you to explore. If you've made them before - great! Now try something different!
The process goes a little like this:
1 lb (450g) ground pork
4 large napa cabbage leaves, minced
3 stalks green onions, minced
7 shitake mushrooms, minced (if dried - rehydrated and rinsed carefully)
1/2 cup (75g) bamboo shoots, minced
1/4 (55g) cup ginger root, minced
3 tbsp (40g) soy sauce
2 tbsp (28g) sesame oil
2 tbsp (16g) corn starch
1/2 lb (225g) raw shrimp, peeled, deveined, and coarsely chopped
1/2 lb (225g) ground pork
3 stalks green onions, minced
1/4 cup (55g) ginger root, minced
1 cup (142g) water chestnuts, minced
1 tsp (5g) salt
3 tbsp (40g) sesame oil
2 tbsp (16g) corn starch
Dough: (double this for the amount of filling, but easier to make it in 2 batches - or just halve the filling recipe)
2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (113g) warm water (I found that I needed an extra 25ml)
flour for work surface
2 parts soy sauce
1 part vinegar (red wine or black)
a few drops of sesame oil
chilli garlic paste (optional)
minced ginger (optional)
minced garlic (optional)
minced green onion (optional)
Combine all filling ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix thoroughly (I mix by clean hand). Cover and refrigerate until ready to use (up to a day, but preferably within an hour or two).
Make the dough, Method 1: Place the flour in the work bowl of a food processor with the dough blade. Run the processor and pour the warm water in until incorporated. Pour the contents into a sturdy bowl or onto a work surface and knead until uniform and smooth. The dough should be firm and silky to the touch and not sticky.[Note: it’s better to have a moist dough and have to incorporate more flour than to have a dry and pilling dough and have to incorporate more water).
Make the dough, Method 2 (my mom’s instructions): In a large bowl mix flour with 1/4 cup of water and stir until water is absorbed. Continue adding water one teaspoon at a time and mixing thoroughly until dough pulls away from sides of bowl. We want a firm dough that is barely sticky to the touch.
It is perfectly fine to use more than the 1/2 cup listed in the recipe as everyone's climate and flours vary. Use your judgement - this is what being a Daring Cook is about. We are trying to cultivate a sense of intuition so that recipes are general guidelines from which you can expand your own style.
Both dough methods: Knead the dough about twenty strokes then cover with a damp towel for 15 minutes. Take the dough and form a flattened dome. Cut into strips about 1 1/2 to 2 inches wide. Shape the strips into rounded long cylinders. On a floured surface, cut the strips into 3/4 inch pieces. Press palm down on each piece to form a flat circle (you can shape the corners in with your fingers). With a rolling pin, roll out a circular wrapper from each flat disc. Take care not to roll out too thin or the dumplings will break during cooking - about 1/16th inch. Leave the centres slightly thicker than the edges. Place a tablespoon of filling in the centre of each wrapper and fold the dough in half, pleating the edges along one side (see images in this post for how to fold pleats). Keep all unused dough under damp cloth.
To boil: Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add dumplings to pot. Boil the dumplings until they float.
To steam: Place dumplings on a single layer of napa cabbage leaves or on a well-greased surface in a steamer basket with lid. Steam covered for about 6 minutes.
To pan fry (potstickers): Place dumplings in a frying pan with 2-3 tbsp of vegetable oil. Heat on high and fry for a few minutes until bottoms are golden. Add 1/2 cup water and cover. Cook until the water has boiled away and then uncover and reduce heat to medium or medium low. Let the dumplings cook for another 2 minutes then remove from heat and serve.