Tuesday, March 17, 2009

pork and shrimp dumplings

pork and shrimp dumplings
Originally uploaded by d_fornear
When I was a little girl, I used to crawl under the table and sneak raw wonton wrappers while my mom folded pot stickers and watched Young and the Restless. I loved the flour-y dough.
I had a strong craving for these, pork and shrimp were both on sale. What better time to make dumplings than when your six-month old is trying to nap, you have three loads of laundry to do, and a bathroom to clean?
I made the dough, too, because I envy the chewy, delicious mouthfeel of the dumplings at my favorite dim sum place, Jade Garden. I used whole-wheat pastry flour, which gave the dumpling skins a nutty, rich flavor. The skins were so easy to make, I might never buy "alimentary paste" again...although maybe to snack on for old times.

With the whole-wheat flour (which, admittedly, is a little old. I haven't been baking as much since Boone entered the world.), I had to add more water than the recipe called for.  I let it rest for a little over an hour while I made the filling.

Rolling out the dough. Some recipes call for splitting the dough in half, rolling it out and cutting circles out.  I find you waste less if you divide the dough in half, then each half into twelve pieces.  Roll out each piece into an circle-ish shape.  Make sure you have a sheet pan lined with parchment or paper towels dusted with flour.  I fit about twelve skins on the sheet and then add another layer of paper towels for the rest. 

Pleating the tops takes a little practice, but with the thicker, handmade dumpling skins, a little wonkiness adds to their charm!

Shrimp and Pork Pot stickers
Adapted from Gourmet

For the Dumpling Skins:
1 1/2 -1 3/4 c whole-wheat pastry flour (or all-purpose)
1/2 c lukewarm water
All-purpose flour for kneading and rolling

For the Filling:
3 ounces of canned water chestnuts, rinsed (about 4 large)
1/2 lb raw shrimp (peeled, deveined)
1/2 lb fatty ground pork (preferably from shoulder)
1 bunch of scallions, rough chopped (white and green parts)
1 clove garlic, rough chopped
2t peeled ginger, chopped
1 1/2 T soy sauce
1t Maggi Sauce
1t toasted sesame oil
Black pepper to taste

1T peanut oil, for frying

For Dipping Sauce:
1/3 c soy sauce
2T chinese black vinegar
2T water
1T chile-flavored sesame oil
1t ginger, peeled and grated on a microplane

Make dumplings:
Stir together 1 1/2 c flour and 1/2 c water until a shaggy dough forms.  Add water a teaspoon at a time if necessary.  Knead on a lightly floured surface until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Dust dough lightly with flour and cover with an inverted bowl. Let stand 10 minutes to an hour at room temperature. 

While dough is resting, put chestnuts, scallions, garlic, ginger, pork and shrimp in food processor. Pulse briefly until uniformly chopped.  
Remove filling to a bowl, add the rest of the ingredients and mix until combined. Cover and chill at least 10 minutes.

While filling is chilling, line a sheet pan with parchment or paper towels lightly dusted with flour, then dust work surface with flour.  Halve dough and cover unused half with inverted bowl. Shape remaining half into a ball.  Use bench scraper to halve dough and halve again until you have twelve small pieces.  Roll out each piece with a lightly floured rolling pin.  Sprinkle dough with flour as needed. Transfer dough circles to lined sheet pan and cover with additional paper towels.  Repeat with remaining half of dough.

Line another sheet pan with paper towels and lightly flour.  Put one circle of dough on clean work surface.  Put a tablespoon of filling in the center of the dough.  (It helps to wet the spoon before scooping filling.) With a wet finger, moisten the border along the bottom half of round. Fold the unmoistened top half of round against the wet border.  Moisten outside border and pleat 5 or 6 times along the top. Press pleats together.  Stand on lined baking sheet. Form the rest of dumplings and cover loosely with paper towels.  You may place them in the freezer at this point.  Once frozen, they can be placed in a freezer bag. 

Make dipping sauce:
Stir together all ingredients in a small bowl. Restir before serving. 

Cook dumplings:
Heat peanut oil in a large skillet over medium high heat until it's almost smoking.  Arrange dumplings, seam side up,  in a tight spiral pattern quickly.  You should be able to fit all dumplings in the skillet.  Fry dumplings until bottoms are golden. Do not move or check bottoms for 2-3 minutes.  Add 1/2c water, tilting pan to distribute evenly. Cover tightly with a lid until liquid is evaporated and bottoms of dumplings are crisp and dark golden brown. 
Serve immediately with sauce.