Dumplestiltskin

There once was a girl long ago, who sat atop a high tower,  dreaming of the day she would have Chinese Dumplings. That was me, a few weeks ago, in my office building downtown…and yes, the dumplings were on my mind. I gazed woefully out onto the city and thought about having dim sum for lunch. Alas, I am too timid to go for dim sum by myself and none of my lunch buddies would go with me.

Suddenly, it occurred to me that a trip to my beloved T&T Supermarket was long overdue. I knew what I had to do. I would venture forth, and make the dumplings myself. I would go to the ends of the earth (or at least, as far as lakeshore) to find the perfect ingredients, and I would make my own precious little meat pockets dipped in spicy sauce.

I spent about $15 total on everything that was needed for the recipe. I decided to go simple the first time. Plus, the whole concept of a chinese dumpling is simplicity. I procured the foodstuffs required for pork and cabbage dumplets, and spicy shrimp dumplets. I read on the internet that it is very important to salt the cabbage heavily, then let most of the water drain out of it, then squeeze the bejesus out of it to get even more water out, otherwise you would be in for a soggy surprise.

Simple seasonings were in order, such as soy sauce, sesame oil and spring onions.

I got lovely lean ground pork from T&T at an absolute steal, I tell you. Maybe $3.00 for all you see in the above picture.

And very nice fresh black tiger shrimp, which I learned at home to my dismay had not been deveined. But I powered through and managed to butcher those little suckers.

Water chestnuts, which I could not find fresh – or maybe I didn’t look. I hate how cans of water chesnuts always come in huge sizes, but you only ever use about 3 of them. Mental note: I shall have to research options for water chestnut recipes in future.

Note: I made waaaaay to much shrimpy filling. I also dumped the entire bottle of soy sauce into the filling by mistake. Good thing it was almost empty. I thought it was ruined, but it actually turned out okay.

Store-bought wonton wrappers. We had to go to 3 grocery stores to find these, and surprisingly enough, it was at Sobeys. I’m sure they had them at T&T but I couldn’t find them, and it was crowded and Cheesler had that murderous gleam in his eye that he gets when annoyed by my meandering in grocery stores.

Assembling the dumpling is easy. Plop a little mound of filling into the middle of a wonton wrapper…that’s about a tablespoon there.

Wet two of the four sides with some cold water, then fold the wrapper over into a triangle and press the sides together. The water acts as a glue.

Faced with a giant bowl of filling and hundreds of wonton wrappers, I enlisted Cheesler to assist in the assembling of the dumplings. He made the process super-efficient by doing four at a time.

This was exciting for me because I could take action shots of the food being prepared, which is usually quite difficult when I’m cooking alone. Plus, Cheesler has beautiful man-hands and makes a great model.

You can try to make different shapes for your dumplings. We tried a few, but the shape that worked best for the store bought wonton wrappers was the triangle.

A yummy spicy dipping sauce made from soy, sriracha, garlic and sesame.

We employed three different cooking methods as we weren’t sure which one would yield the tastiest dumplings, and also had to find a way to use up the metric ton of the cuties we had created. First, we tried steaming them…

For about 5 minutes, which turned out like this…

Then, we boiled some. This only took about 3 minutes.

With the following result. Hmmmm. Much the same appearance as the steamed ones but a little denser and less rubbery.

Then, we fried some up in sesame oil. This way was super nummy, but the store-bought wonton wrappers got very crispy.

With a little of the spicy dipping sauce, all of the above were fantastically delicious. We filled up on them, and still had lots of uncooked ones leftover, half of which I froze, half of which I made into wonton soup the next day.

Our preference for taste and texture was the boiled dumplings. But boy do those fried ones ever take a purty picture!

I will definitely make these again, but I think next time I shall make my own wrappers which would likely be a little bit thicker and therefore more substantial.

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Categories: Food

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  1. Quail Egg Ravioli with Truffle Sage Sauce « Soph n' Stuff - May 15, 2011

    […] when I had a bunch of wonton wrappers left over from making chinese dumplings, and also had a pack of quail eggs, I realized I could finally do it. My instinct was to lean […]

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