Chinese Dumplings Cook Off From One Side of the World to the Other

Now, I don’t know about you, but I am absolutely obsessed with oriental food. Moving from my small home town to the bright lights of London, one of the first things I learned was, there’s more to life than Wagamama. London is packed with loads of authentic chinese and japanese restaurants that are much better than main stream chains, and my go-to choice of entrees are ALWAYS dumplings. Or gyoza, for the intellectual linguists amongst us. When I was in Australia, the suburbs are actually packed with restaurants specialising in dumplings, so I was in food heaven! Only problem is, I’ve been harbouring a severe allergy to shellfish, which eliminates a high proportion of restaurants, as they don’t offer plain chicken, beef or pork on their own. After finally tracking down some plainer ones, my boyfriend and I vowed that we would learn to master them at home ourselves. We decided we would make them together over Skype, in the evening his time (which was sadly 10.30am for me, but by the time we had finished it was like an early lunch). They actually turned out really well, and they’re super easy to make, really cheap, and actually pretty healthy (about 30-40 calories per dumpling, depending on fillings). A great treat for a down day!

Anyway, I snapped some pics of our progress, and how they turned out! Thought I would share it with everyone! I based mine on an online recipe for help with the dough, but the filling and cooking was all our own!

1. Create the dough (yes, we made this from scratch!). Its simply plain flour and water. I used 140g of flour and 150ml of very very hot water. This dough makes enough for about 15 dumplings. Mix the two together in a bowl until it makes a ball of dough.

2. Kneed the dough for about 6-8 minutes until its smooth and stretchy.

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3. Put in a bowl and cover with a damp cloth and leave while you make your fillings. (I’m unsure exactly what this is for, but a few recipes I had looked at online told me to do it, so I did.)

4. Chop up chives, four spring onions, two chilli peppers, two cloves of garlic, and one chicken breast into the smallest pieces you can. If you have a food processor, mince it and mix it together. I pre-cooked my chicken, but the bf used his raw. Neither of us died so its up to you. I’m just a serious raw chicken germophobe, so I pre-cooked mine. Just remember to make sure its cooked through at the final stage, particularly if you’ve used raw chicken. You’ll need to cook them a little longer if you have.

5. With your mixed up filling, add a bit of soy sauce (as much as you feel you need to get the ingredients to stick together), and some chilli oil if you like it spicy.

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6. Take out your dough, and roll it into a long, thin sausage shape, about the circumference or your thumb and forefinger when you make a circle. Cut the sausage shape into equal pieces. Usually about 15.

7. Roll each one into a circle shape, put a bit of filling in the middle (only a little bit – you don’t want to over stuff them), and fold the dough over like a pasty. Dab water onto the edges to make them stick, and press together with your fingers to make the edges flat. It looks a bit like the back of a stegosaurus.

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8. Once you’ve used all your dough and filling (the above proportions should make it just about exact), you can either fry or steam your dumplings. For frying, use a shallow pan, heat some oil until its hot, and place the dumpling in. Let it sizzle in the oil (use more chilli oil for more flavour if you like), and flip it onto both sides until they brown off. (Leave them for longer if you’re waiting for the chicken inside to cook). Also try and get the base side to flatten and let it stand up like that for a while too. For steaming, I tried various options as I didn’t have my steamer here with me, but the easiest and most effective method was just plop the dumplings into a pan of boiling water and leave for a few minutes until the dough becomes, somewhat, chewy. You’ll be able to tell by watching the colour and texture change. Remove with a draining spoon and serve!

9. For dipping sauce, use either soy sauce on its own, or add chilli oil or fresh chillies, and some chinese rice wine/vinegar. Serve as an entree, or on a bed of egg/chicken fried rice as a main course!

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Easy and SO delicious!

Have a great bank holiday weekend, all!

Love always

Coco xx

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