Dumpling Time / by Yeesum Lo


I grew up on dumplings. Not the frozen, quick cook kind (those would come in college), not even the kind that came in a little steaming basket, but this kind, the kind only a mother can make. Everyone knows - whichever version of dumplings your mum made you is forevermore the correct version of dumplings. You get the gist. 

These are the dumplings I ask for every time my mum comes to visit. The garlic chives can be substituted with bok choi, watercress, or even kale if it so tickles you (I might sauté it first though)

Mum's Dumplings
2 bunches garlic chives (or any green, tender leafy vegetable)
500 grams lean pork mince
3 tbs Chinese Cooking Wine
1 tbs Soy Sauce
1 tps Chicken Powder
Liberal pinch - Salt & Sugar
1 egg
1 tbs Corn Flour
1 pack 40 pcs Shanghainese Dumpling Wrappers (Remember they need to be white not yellow and it will be in the refrigerated section of a good Asian food store - or Harris Farms apparently has them too! )

To make the dumpling filling:

Season the pork mince with the wine, soy sauce, chicken powder, salt and sugar, let stand for a while - maybe 10-15 mins. Finely chop the garlic chives, squeeze all the moisture out of it and mix it in. (Note: If you're using Bok Choi, make sure it's cooked, then chopped and squeezed). Now add the corn flour, and lightly beaten egg. Mix well. 

To make the dumplings

Do what my mum does and basically divvy up your filling on a plate into quarters and halve that etc. until you can eyeball how big of a spoonful you can allot to each dumpling (it will be around 1.5 teaspoons) (Pro tip: don't take all the wrappers out in one go as they tend to dry out)

0. Find a small sauce dish, put some water in it (this is your glue)
1. Place the filling on the middle on the wrapper
2. Fold the bottom up to the top, covering the filing
3. But take care to leave a small gap (such that the bottom edge is folded up but does not reach the top edge)
4. Now, using your finger, dip some water to wet the underside of corner A.
5. In one smooth motion, bring corner A on top of corner B (they'll meet in the middle) and stick them together. Edge C should now be standing up perpendicular to the bottom of the dumpling and curved. 

To cook the dumplings:
You can boil them (just boil until they float, cut open, make sure the pork's cooked.. yada yada yada). Or, you can pan fry them. (You can also put them into large ziplock bags and freeze them - if you freeze them, you can still follow the below pan frying instructions without defrosting them. Just put them in the pan frozen)

To panfry: heat a flat pan, spray well with oil. Heat. Add dumplings, line them up so they're sitting up - flat bottom down. Cook on medium high for about 3-5 mins. Now have your pan lid ready, and pour in a cup of water. It will sizzle. Place the lid on it and cook at medium low for 5-10 mins (5ish if they're fresh, 9-10 if they're frozen). If the water runs out, add in more bit by bit. When time is up, open the lid and let the water cook out, then wait another 3 mins or so for the bottom to brown and crisp 

Serve with whatever dipping sauce you like. I use Chinese vinegar and worcestershire sauce but I'm weird. :D