Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Dumplings are Delicious

My family and I enjoyed an excellent dumpling dinner a couple nights ago. I poked and prodded the internet for a recipe that sounded like it would suit our tastes. Everything, of course, had ginger in it and my little sister is allergic, so that was going to be an obvious adaptation. Eventually, I found this delicious recipe from An Intimate Hunger. Posted below is my adaptation of that recipe. I advise going to her blog to check out the original, especially because I'm not posting the recipe for her dipping sauce here and it's excellent with the dumplings. Also, these dumplings are sweeter than most, because of the way I tweaked the recipe.

1 Pkg won-ton wrappers (We got about 50 in our package)
1 lb ground pork
2/3 T Cardamom
1/3 T Cinnamon
1/4 t Chile Powder (I used Ancho Chile Powder because it's what I had on hand. This particular variety has very little heat, but makes the other flavors richer. Vary this to suit your tastes.)
2 T green onion, minced (I prefer my onion chopped fine, but tiny little minced up bits aren't strictly necessary.)
3 medium cloves garlic, minced
2 T soy sauce
1 T sesame oil
1 large egg, beaten
Half an apple, grated (or more, if you like less pork and more fruit.)

Flour for dusting.

Be aware that you'll probably want a cookie sheet by the end of this. If you don't have one, get out the wax paper, because you're going to want it.

Mince up your green onions and throw them in the microwave for roughly 30 seconds to soften them up. Then, in a large bowl, combine all the ingredients EXCEPT FLOUR well. The best way to do this is to dig your hands down into the raw pork and work everything together. It is disgusting, but effective.

Refrigerate for 1/2 hour to an hour to let the flavors meld a bit.

In the meantime, make the dipping sauce.

Dust your cookie sheet or wax paper with flour. Keep a bunch of flour handy, because you're going to need to put more down. Won-ton wrappers are designed to get sticky when wet, so when water gets on your folding/wrapping surface (and it will), you need to soak it up with flour or your won-ton wrappers will rip open and you will have ruined, or at least marred, your dumpling. And that would be sad.

Have a small bowl of water handy, and a brush for brushing water on to the wrapper. Lay out your first won ton wrapper and brush the edges with water. Or the whole wrapper. Both the author of the original recipe and I just brushed water over the entire wrapper and it came out just fine. Using a spoon, place a heaping (or more or less, depending on the size of your wrappers) teaspoon of your pork mixture off-center in the wrapper, fold one half over the other and press the edges together to form a tight seal. I say off-center because it makes it easier to fold the won-ton wrapper over. Place on floured surface and continue through the rest of the wrappers and pork.

Get some steaming apparatus going. I used a frying pan with a vegetable steamer placed into it and scrounged up a lid that fit. It fit 8 dumplings at a time. Put your dumplings in and steam for 20 minutes.


Here's what mine looked like after steaming:

That's the second batch of dumplings. I only got one from the first batch because my family ate the rest without me.

I used up the entire package of won-ton wrappers, but we certainly did not eat fifty dumplings between the four of us that night. The rest were left on the cookie sheet, covered in plastic wrap and thrown in the freezer until they were completely frozen, then tossed into a zip lock bag. There's half of a one-gallon bag in the freezer and it's full of dumplings. 20 minute snack, appetizer, dinner, whatever.

Go forth and nom! (And if you make your own alterations to this recipe, I would love to hear about them.)

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