Preparing time 4 hours
Cooking time 20 min
Dumplings are believed to symbolise wealth in Chinese culture. They are eaten all year round, and can be eaten at any time of the day. Each family has its own preferred method of making them, using favourite fillings, with types and methods preparation varying widely from region to region. Chinese dumplings may be divided into various types depending on how they are cooked and wrapped. They can be boiled, steamed or pan fried. They can be eaten with soy sauce as a based dipping sauce that may include vinegar, garlic, ginger, rice wine, hot sauce and sesame oil.
Making the dough around 25 dumpling wrappers.
300g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
180 ml hot water
To make the dough, sift the flour into a large bowl.
Slowly with a fork or chopsticks stir in the hot water, a little at a time, until you have a firm dough.
Add more water if the mixture seems dry. When the water is mixed with the flour, dust both hands with flour and start kneading to form dough. The dough will be quite tough and should easily be able to be lifted from the bowl without sticking to the bottom.
Then knead on to a clean working surface, dusting the dough with little flour if it’s sticky until it is smooth for around 8 – 10 mins.
Cover the dough with damp kitchen towel and the bowl with Clingfilm and leave to rest for two hours. If you do not have enough time, you can use the dough after it is rested for 1 hour, at least. But the dough will be smoother and springier if you let it rest longer.
After resting, the dough will be softened and smooth texture.
Dust the working surface and your hands with extra flour and knead the dough for 3 to 5 mins until the dough hardens again. Let it rest for about 30 minutes or longer.
Cover the dough with the damp kitchen towel and cover the whole lot with the bowl upside down.
When the dough is rested again. Divide the dough into three equal sizes, and cover the two bits under the damp kitchen towel
Lightly flour the surface and roll it with your hands to form a thick rope 2.5 cm in diameter,
then cut with a sharp knife into pieces about 2cm long.
Roll each of the small pieces into a small ball, Dust the ball with flour, and then squash each flat with your hand.
With a rolling pin, roll each ball into a small round flat pancake about 11cm in diameter.
Arrange the round skins on a light floured tray and cover them with a damp kitchen towel to prevent them from drying out until you are ready to use them. Dust little flour between layars to prevent them sticking to each other.
Place about 2 teaspoon of filling into the centre of each pancake and moisten the edges with water. Fold the dough in half and pinch together with your fingers.
Pleat around the edge, pinching with your fingers to seal well. Do not let filling to touch the sealing area. You do not need to fold beautiful dumplings, the goal is to make the dumplings hold their shape during boiling.
Transfer each finished dumplings to the floured tray and keep it covers until you have stuffed all the dumplings.
Prawns and chives filling
500g fresh prawns
1 chopped red chili (optional)
25g finely chopped chives
2 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon of sesame oil
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
Salt and white pepper to taste
Finely chop the prawns and the chives with the chili.
Combine the chopped prawns, chives, chilli, soy sauce, vinegar, salt and pepper in a large bowl.
For dipping sauce
3 tablespoon of soy sauce
3 tablespoon of rice vinegar
1 tablespoon of chilli oil
1 teaspoon of sugar
1 teaspoon of grated ginger
Combine all together and place is a small bowl.
To cook boiled dumplings
In china, when they talk about dumplings, they usually referring to boiled dumplings or (shui jiao). Not the potstickers, nor steamed dumplings, but boiled ones. They consider it a staple, a delicious alternative to rice and noodles. They are ultimate comfort food they eat every week. They are very delicious if they are made the right way. Boiled dumplings are moist and juicy. A small bite of a dumpling, the mouth-watering of hot and flavourful soup with drizzle from the filling. Everything works perfectly together to create a fulfilling, healthy, and hearty one dish meal.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
Add dumplings one at a time into the boiled water. Use a big serving spoon to stir the water gently and continuously, until the water starts to boil again, so the dumplings do not stick to the bottom, for about 1 minute. Adjust the heat so the water is at boiling point.
When the dumplings float to the surface, continue boiling until the dumplings are filled with air and swollen, and the dough starts to become transparent, about 1 min. immediately transfer all the dumplings to a plate. During the boiling process be careful as the dumpling cooks quickly and you should stand beside the pot throughout boiling process, as they will fall apart with in seconds.
To cook potstickers
Using a fraying pan with a lid. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium high heat. When oil is hot, place the potsticker in the pan, pleat side up.
Add two tablespoons of water in the pan and cover quickly. Turn the heat to medium. Cook covers until the water is evaporated and potstickers are cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes.
Remove the cover and flip one potsticker to see whether the bottom side is golden over cooked. If not, turn to medium high heat and cook until the bottom side is golden brown. And serve in a plate.
To steam dumplings
Steaming dumplings is a classic method, and the bamboo steamer is the traditional vessel for doing it. They are readily available In Asian stores. You will also need a pot that will fit the bamboo steamer without getting it to touch the water. A wok is the ideal tool for steaming. It is curved shape that narrows toward the bottom that holds the water.
Line the bottom of the bamboo basket to prevent the dumpling from sticking. You can use readymade creased papers with hole in or make your own. A liners of lettuce or cabbage will do to. Lay the dumplings apart in the bamboo basket. Fill the wok with 2 inches of water. On medium heat, without the bamboo steamer, bring the water to boil.
Once the water has reached the simmering point. Place the bamboo steamer over the wok. Make sure the lid is on. Steam until the dumplings are cooked through for 5- 10 mins. When removing the bamboo basket, do take care as it’s hot. Serve immediately.
You can also steam dumplings with a metal steaming basket with a lid.
To freeze raw dumplings
To store dumplings always freeze them uncooked. It will not affect the texture or flavours of the dumplings. Dust the bottom of a big airtight container with a thin layer of flour. Place the dumplings, one finger apart from the other. Store in the freezer for up to two month.
To cook frozen dumplings
Use same method above, but this time when the dumpling are boiling adjust the heat so that it carries on boiling but not spilling. Cover and cook for 3-5 minutes. Uncover the pot and continue to cook for 1 min. transfer and serve immediately on a plate.
To store and reheat cooked dumplings
Store leftover boiled dumpling in airtight container in the fridge and eat within 2 days.
To reheat in microwave, add dumplings into a bowl and sprinkle with a few drops of water. Cover and heat until warm.
To heat by steaming. Place dumplings in a bowl. Place a tall rimed plate upside down in a pot. Cover the plate with water. Place the dumpling bowl on top of the plate inside the pot. Steam over high heat until water is boiled. Continue to cook for 5 min.
To pan fry. Grease a non-stick pan with little of oil and heat over medium heat. When the pan is hot, add the dumplings. Then add a tablespoon of water, cover immediately, and cook for 2 to 3 mins.