Doris' Dumplings

Chinese cooking is just in my blood. I find it the easiest, most delicious food to cook, and it makes everyone very happy when I do so. My friends’ favourite thing that I cook is my dumplings. My aunty Doris taught me how to make them one Chinese New Year, and I’ve never looked back since. I’ve made them for nights in, dinner parties – you name it, people ate it there. They’re pretty freaking good, and surprisingly not difficult to make. Are you up for it?

I bet you are now! All you’ll need is…

Ingredients:
2 Pack of Dumpling Skins (find this at your local Chinese supermarket)
1 Pack of Chives/Koo Chives
3 Carrots
1 Egg
2 Tsps of Cornflour
1 Tsp of Sugar
1/2 Tsp of Salt
4 Tbsps of Black Pepper
6 Tbsps of Olive Oil
1/2 Tsp of Chicken Concentrate/Chicken Powder
1 Pack of Minced Pork

If you don’t know where to get chicken powder and dumpling skins, head to your local Chinese supermarket, they’re bound to have them. The dumpling skins should be in the fridge section.

Firstly, chop up your chives into 2cm lengths. Chop up your carrots as thin as you can possibly get them (like little matchsticks) and make them around 3-4cm long. Chopping takes a while, so get this out of the way first.

Okay, all that chopping done, phew! Now for the fun part. Get out a big bowl, pour in your chopped carrots, chives, pork mince, cornflour, egg, sugar, salt, pepper, olive oil and chicken powder in (basically, everything but the dumpling skills).

Mix it all together until everything is well combined.

Get out your dumpling skins (make sure you defrost them fully if they’re frozen ones) and peel a dumpling skin from the top of the pack (be gentle as they’re very delicate). Pop a tbsp of your mixture in the centre of your dumpling, making sure there is plenty space around the sides (especially the top and bottom) of the skin to crimp it. This is hard to perfect – you don’t want too little of the mixture in it, but don’t put too much in as when you fold your dumplings you might break it/have the mixture spill out.

Fold the dumpling skin in half and press the loose edges of the skin so your mixture is snug inside.

Now you can leave them like that if you want, but for really professional dumplings, it’s time to learn to crimp them! Place your finger on a section of the dumpling and push the rest of the skin onto that finger, then move it away. Keep doing this so all of the crimped parts smoosh together. I’m pretty awful at explaining (sorry), so if you’re panicking as you are in the mood to impress, there are plenty of videos on Youtube. Hopefully this picture will provide some sort of mediocre guidance…

Ta-daaaaaa!

Now repeat this until you’ve used up all your dumpling skins.

Soon you’ll have an army of dumplings just waiting to be cooked.

When you’re done, put a pan on low heat and cover it with olive oil.

Fit as many of your little dumpling soldiers as you can onto your pan. You may have to do this in batches.

Boil some water and pour it over the dumplings until the water is halfway up the dumplings.

Now cover the pan. If you have a double-sided pan, perfect. If you have a cover for you pan, that’s great too. Unfortunately, I had neither at the time, so I got another pan to put on top of my pan to keep in the heat. Leave them to boil and bubble away the water. Check on it every now and again but without letting too much of the heat leave.

Once the water is all gone, they should be good to go.

Lift them out of the pan (some might stick together, but you can separate them once they’re on the dish) and pop them into a serving bowl/tray/plate/whatever you like.

Let them cool a little, but you can stare at them in pride for a while.

While you wait, you can mix up a dipping sauce for them. My go-to sauce is Chinese vinegar mixed with some ginger, but you can also go for the standard soya sauce dip too. This dish is perfect as nibbles or to be served alongside a rice or noodle dish.

Just a little tip – I always buy an extra pack of dumpling skins in case I have too much mixture. If I have too many dumpling skins, I’ll put the rest in the fridge or freezer to use another time. If you have too much of the filling, cook the mixture in a pan until the pork is cooked, make some rice and mix it in with that, topping it with soya sauce. Delicious!

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