Making your own dumplings is pretty simple. I’m the type of person that likes to make things from scratch to see if it tastes any better than those manufactured/processed ingredients. At least once anyway.
After watching Poh from Poh’s Kitchen/Masterchef Australia Season 1 make dumplings I thought what they hey, let’s do it. We made the dumpling skins, filling and sauce and it wasn’t too much of a challenge!
½ cup plain flour
½ cup wheat starch (wheat cornflour)
Boiled hot water
2 ½ cups Chinese cabbage, finely shredded
½ tsp salt
250g pork mince
3 tsp ginger, chopped finely
1/3 cup spring onions or Chinese chives, chopped
1/8 tsp ground white pepper
¼ cup chicken stock or water
4 ½ tsp light soy sauce
3 tsp Shaoxing wine
1 tbs vegetable oil
4 ½ tsp sesame oil
½ cup shitake dried mushrooms, soaked and chopped
Spicy Dipping Sauce
¼ cup light soy sauce (1/8 tsp of soy)
6 tsp Chinkiang vinegar (1/4 cup of vinegar)
1/8 cup sugar
2-3 tsp chilli oil
3 tsp ginger, finely shredded
2 tsp garlic, chopped finely
A sprinkling of fresh diced chilli (Optional)
1. Place flour and wheat starch in a bowl.
2. Pour a small amount of hot water into the flour and starch mix and stir with a fork until you can tip it onto the bench top and knead into a firmish, smooth ball. Poh’s recipe doesn’t specify how much water to add, so add maybe a tablespoon at a time because I accidentally added too much and had to re-add the flour and wheat starch to balance everything out.
If it feels a little sticky, add a small amount of equal plain flour and wheat starch and mix to the dough.
3. Wrap in cling wrap and rest for an hour.
Note: If you don’t have wheat starch the traditional way is to use one cup plain flour but follow the same method.
1. Mix salt with cabbage and allow to sit for 15 minutes so salt can draw liquid out of the cabbage. Wash cabbage briefly before squeezing to remove as much liquid as possible. You should end up with a heaped half cup of cabbage.
2. Mix together with remaining ingredients until everything is incorporated.
3. To make dumplings, sprinkle dough with some plain flour and roll into cylinders with a diameter the size of a 20 cent coin.
3. Cut into one centimetre thick disks and flatten with the palm of your hand. Tuck the disks under an overturned plastic container so they stay moist. With a dumpling rolling pin or 20 centimetre piece of dowel, roll ONLY inwards from the outer edge of each circle, so you maintain a regular circle. If you roll outwards, you will find the circle will become misshapen very quickly.
4. Once the dough has been rolled out to about one millimetre thick, spoon a teaspoonful of the filling onto the centre of the wrapper. When crimping, only pleat one side of the dumpling leaving the other edge straight. This will give the dumpling an attractive crescent shape and let it sit nicely.
5. There are two ways you can cook these. Firstly, you can just boil them in plenty of salt water. When they float, allow them to cook for a further ten seconds, then scoop out with a slotted spoon into a colander.
6. If you want a crispy bottomed finish, position the dumplings neatly in a frypan filled with about one centimetre of water and a dash of peanut oil.
7. Cover and allow the dumplings to steam for about eight to ten minutes. When all the water evaporates, the little bit of oil that remains will help crisp up the bottom. Serve immediately with spice dipping sauce.
Spicy Dipping Sauce
1. Mix all the ingredients together and serve with dumplings. In brackets I’ve mentioned using minimal soy and more vinegar, I found it was much more reminiscent of the sauces you’d find in any dumpling house. Poh’s recipe uses way too much soy sauce that you can’t even taste the slightly sour/salty Chinkiang vinegar.
We also added diced fresh chilli that really gave it a kick.
The actual process of making the skins was extremely straight forward, and fun to make so that’s a definite plus!
The skin when cooked didn’t have the same bite to it as dumplings at a restaurant. Usually there is this slight chewiness but nonetheless I found the dumplings to be pretty darn good.
With the changes I made to the sauce, it just made a good dish to a great dish. Loved the Chinkiang vinegar with chilli.
The filling was pretty much what you’d get elsewhere so I’d say that’s a good achievement. What I liked about these dumplings is that it wasn’t drenched in oil. We used minimal oil or only as much as required so it didn’t stick to the pan and they came out well so I was very happy with the end result.
I might try a different skin recipe but I’d keep the filling and sauce (with changes) recipe for the next time I make it.