If you have been reading my blog for awhile you probably have noticed I have a “thing” for dumplings. See 2 of my recent past blogged recipes for dumplings here and here. And its true, I love them. I have a lot of personal affection and history surrounding eating and making Chinese Dim Sum and Asian Dumplings.
I can’t remember the first time I made dumplings at home, but likely quite young. My mom taught my sister and I at a very young age how to make homemade egg rolls, wontons, and pot stickers. Additionally my mom, a kindergarten teacher of over 40 years, used to come to my elementary classroom every year and spend the entire morning with my class, teaching us all how to make these little Chinese “treats” along with the variety of sauces that accompany them. My mom would set up different little stations where each of us children would participate in cutting, chopping, mixing and filling our dim sum. It was set up so that we would all alternate every 30 minutes, so that each child had a chance to learn and participate in each step of the cooking process. Our half day lesson ended with us all cooking and then eating our “home made” won tons, egg rolls, and pot stickers for lunch. It was a big hit every year. Even now as an adult, at school reunions, someone will almost always come up to me and remind me of those days my mom spent the day teaching our class how to make Chinese food and how much they loved it.
This following recipe I decided upon after picking up some beautiful lemongrass at the Farmer’s Market and thinking Vietnamese inspired dumplings certainly sounded like a yummy way to use it. I did a quick search on the internet and the best thing I could find was a May 2010 Food and Wine magazine recipe for encouragement and inspiration, that “yes indeed”, lemongrass does work well in a dumpling. I then made my own “Truffled Pig” version, which you will see, ended up being a completely new recipe on its own.
As with my previous dumpling recipes, I focused on creating a filling that was healthy and nutrient dense. Additionally I demonstrate how to cook these dumplings 2 methods, which are quite healthy as well. These dumplings can be cooked 1. Steamed in a bamboo steamer, or 2. “Pan Steam-Fried” (featured in photo above) which is a low fat method of browning and steaming the dumplings in a non stick skillet over medium high heat for a couple minutes.
Make Ahead: Freeze any uncooked dumplings on a floured (or cornstarch) baking sheet. Once frozen, after about an hour, transfer them to freezer zip lock bags. Cooking your dumplings straight out of the freezer is exactly like the directions below, just extend the steaming time in the bamboo steamer or on the non stick pan (lid on for steaming) a few extra minutes. Or if you want to have a freezer filled with a variety and large supply of dumplings ready to cook, double the recipe and your ready to go. If you were to check my freezer at any given time, you’d likely find it filled with at leas one big freezer zip lock bag of dumplings, sometimes two. Some say last one month the in freezer, but I say as long as you really squeeze out all the air in the bag each time you put it back in the freezer, keeping it air tight protects them from frost and “freezer burn”. With proper storage they can easily taste good and last up to 3 or 4 months in the freezer.
- 1/2 lb ground chicken (I use organic ground chicken breast)
- 1/2 lb finely chopped medium to jumbo sized shrimp/prawns (Click here for nice guidelines on shrimp)
- 2 stalks (2 tablespoons) of fresh grated lemongrass or 2 tablespoons store bought prepared lemongrass
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce (Ie: Thai Kitchen Brand here)
- 1 tsp cornstarch
- 3 tablespoons fresh chopped green onions
- 1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro
- 1 can water chestnuts finely chopped (optional, I love it for the nice crunchy texture it adds)
- 1 tablespoon of fresh minced ginger
- 1/2 tsp of white or black pepper (I prefer white pepper but black is fine)
- 1/2 tsp of salt
- 1 organic egg ( You could probably omit this if you want, its used as a “binder” but I have made this without the egg)
- 1 package of gyoza wrappers ( found at Asian markets and most major supermarkets in the refrigerator section)
* Tip: If you can not find the round gyoza wrappers you can use square won ton wrappers instead, your dumplings can be folded into little triangles, or you can use a cookie cutter to make the wrappers into a circle
- In a large bowl, mix the first 12 ingredients together
- Place a dumpling skin on a work surface, moisten the edges with water, and put teaspoon of the filling in the center
- a. To fold dumplings like in the photo featured at the to which is called Shu Mai: Gather the edges of the wrapper up around the filling, squeezing gently, to plea the sides; some of the filling should remain exposed. For step by step easy to follow video instructions click here: Video Here b. To fold and make in half moon shape like here: Place each dumpling skin on a work surface, moisten the edges with water and 1 teaspoon of the filling in the center. Fold over the skin at the median line to create a little “half moon” shape (see above photo at the top of this recipe). Use a fork to press in and indent around the corner to make sure the dumpling skin stay folded over and stuck together.
Cooking Methods: Steaming or Pan Seared and “Steamed”
- Option A. Rig a bamboo steamer over a large pot with about 1 inch of water; bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Option B. Heat a non stick skillet with 1 tablespoon neutral oil over medium high heat
- Option A: Put as many dumpling in the bamboo steamer (lined with parchment paper) as you can fit in a single layer and cover the pot. Option B: place dumplings in skillet with hot oil and wait 1 to 2 minutes until edges are brown and then add a couple tablespoons of water and quickly place lid on skillet to steam
- Option A : Cook until the exposed filling turns pink and the wrappers are tender: in steamer 4 to 6 minutes Option B : in skillet cook aprox 4 (do not burn the bottoms)
Serve and Enjoy with dipping sauce of soy sauce, rice vinegar and sesame oil
I’ll be posting all the nutritional information for these later this week, but these are healthy, low fat and low cal.