Sunday night’s theme was decided since last week, when someone suggested we should make dumplings, and the immediate reaction was “yummmm”, so dumplings it was! For this theme, we worked on the “many hands make light work” principle and thanks to the many hands, the wrapping of the dumplings were not as tedious as previously thought.
I have always remembered eating dumplings when I was little, and in many different forms. One of my favourite is Won Ton Mee (egg noodles cooked in either soup or black sauce with little yellow pork dumplings as its sides). I like mine dry (non-soup), with lots of flavoursome sauce and soft but chewy dumplings…yumm! We also eat them during Dim Sum, either in forms of Fried Wontons or Gao Jis (Chinese) – pan fried pork dumplings with white skin eaten with chinese vinegar and ginger. Yumm! I’m hungry just thinking about it!
For our dumplings, we made them out of pork mince, prawns, chinese mushrooms, ginger, chives (all diced well) and chestnuts as the main ingredients and seasoned well with salt, pepper, soya sauce, shao xing wine and combined together with corn flour. Then get in there and mix it with your hands (the only way to do it!) until well combined. If you want a more detailed recipe, then follow this blog here.
Then comes the fun part, making the dumplings! We used two different kinds of wrapping skin (no, we didn’t make them, we just bought them from the oriental store), wonton skin and gyoza skin because we couldn’t find the white dumpling skin.
For a full demonstration of how to wrap the dumplings you can refer to various youtube videos that are similar to how we made it. There are quite a few ways to go about making it, so choose one that is easiest or will suit you.
Otherwise you can take private lessons from Esthey who seemed to make a perfect one from the get go! Should have seen the rest of us struggling to get the dumplings look as nice as Esthey’s. She made it look so easy when she demonstrated it to us, but once it came to making mine, it just looked funny and out of shape.
Apparently the tricks are to:
1. Not to fill it up with too much filling (or they will fall out or not be able to seal properly)
2. Wet the edges of the skin with cornflour and water
3. When choosing to crimp the dumpling, only pinch the pastry on one side
4. To make it look pretty, make sure the pinches are heading towards the middle of the dumpling
5. You can tuck in the ends together to make it look neater
6. The shape you would want the dumpling in, is a crescent shape
7. Make sure you seal it well, or it will spill when its boiled, or pop when its fried!
I think we made about 110 dumplings that night, and it didn’t take as long as I had initially expected (well done to all the dumpling wrappers! ours didn’t look great in the beginning, but they certainly took shape at the 20th dumpling – so kudos!). Esthey pan fried half of the dumplings, and Sammy boiled the rest of them.
To complete the meal, we had soup (which Esthey boiled for a few hours with pork bones), noodles, and chinese cabbage. The dumplings didn’t sound like a lot, but they were GONE in a matter of minutes – they were that good! The boiled ones had enough flavour and they were not overdone (so it was nice and soft).
The pan fried gao jis were the hit of the night…! They were cooked so well – crispy skin on the outside with yummy pork on the inside and dipped with Esthey’s amazing concoction of a dipping sauce (fried chilli, onions, dark soy sauce, soy sauce and red wine vinegar, ginger?). It was soooo good and tasty! Paired perfectly with our noodles.
Now, if only our soup was perfect….! In our haste and hunger to feed the masses, we realized that the soup wasn’t enough, so we added more water to it, and started dishing them out into the bowls…only to realize that we didn’t add SALT. Wow, what a difference it would have made because the soup was so sweet…! But it didn’t matter much because the king of the dish was the dumplings, and they tasted so good that i forgot about the soup anyway!
Well done to Esthey for once again preparing, cooking and making all the little side dishes/dipping sauces etc, and then you beat everyone else to helping Aunty Kit wash up (if aunty kit wasn’t there, you’d probably would have taken over!) You are indeed, in many ways, a wonderwoman in my eyes 😀 YOU ROCK ESTHEY!