Inspired by this london blogger as well as my own frustration with only having access to expensive (and not so nice) frozen dumplings from Chinatown, we decided to make dumplings en mass. Having frozen dumplings in the freezer is perfect for those lazy days when you just feel like something delicious and comforting.
To stock up on groceries, we made the trek out to Hoo Hing Grocery store in Leyton. Sure we could have bought our dumpling pastry elsewhere, but we also wanted to stock up on the frozen peeled prawns they sell. These prawns are absolutely fantastic for a quick stir fry and at 1kg for a fiver, definitely won’t break the bank too!
We also ended up buying Chinese Garlic Chives (£1.79), 3 packets of Dumpling Pastry (Shu Jiao – £0.99 each) and a 800g of pork mince (£3.50).
Now for the filling…
800g Pork Mince
Garlic Chives, finely chopped
2 inch knob of ginger, finely grated
5-6 splashes of light soy
2 tsp sesame oil
Generous sprinkling of white pepper (I add a lot!)
Mix all the ingredients in a bowl, using your hands to really massage the mixture together. I always use a disposable sandwich bag as a ‘glove’ so that my hands (and nails) don’t get too dirty. The longer you massage, the better texture your filling will have. You don’t have to use these exact ingredients, so feel free to add shitake mushrooms, prawns, Chinese cabbage or even use chicken mince as a base.
Now for the fun part!
We folded two types of dumplings, volcano dumplings (Xiao Long Bao style) and gyoza style.
For the Gyoza style…
Grab a dumpling wrapper and place a small tablespoon ball at the centre of the pastry. Fold the pastry in half to make a half moon shape. If the sides don’t stick, use a little water in the inside wrapper.
Fold 5-6 ‘pleats’ along the edge of the dumpling. We didn’t worry too much about making them perfect – after all it was my flatmates first time making dumplings!
These can then be steamed, boiled or pan fried, or frozen for later consumption.
For the Volcano style…
Grab a dumpling wrapper and place a small tablespoon ball at the centre of the pastry. Bring one side of the pastry towards to centre, folding pleats in a round motion. It’s best to keep one finger ‘wedged’ in the middle of the folds, so that the pleats are being folded around your finger. This way you create a nice little crater in the middle to add vinegar once cooked.
Definitely more tricky that the ‘gyoza wrapping’ but a lil practice makes perfect.
Now to cook the dumplings…
We decided to steam the volcano dumplings, propping the dumplings on top of thin carrot rounds in the steamer to stop them from sticking. We served these alongside black vinegar (Chin Kiang brand), with lots of fresh finely chopped ginger.
The gyoza dumplings were pan fried ‘guo tie’ style. This gives the dumpling the texture of being steamed, whilst having a nice crispy base. To cook the dumplings this way, add a little oil to a fry pan. When heated, add the gyozas, standing then upright (make sure the dumplings have a flat base). You can bring the edges around to make a half moon shape if you wish, but we didn’t bother.
Once the dumpling has a nice crispy base, add about 1cm of water to the pan, without moving the dumplings. Put a lid on the pan to steam the dumplings for 2-3 min. After steaming, remove the lid, let the water evaporate and leave the dumpling cooking for a minute longer to crisp the base again.
The good thing is that we ended up making ALOT of dumplings. Most of them have been portioned and frozen, making it really easy to drop them in boiling water for a delicious meal on a lazy day!