Sunday, March 31, 2013

Homemade chicken dumplings and ginger scallion sauce

Happy Easter, all!  My family isn't big on celebrating Easter, but since I've been on vacation I've been cooking things that I normally wouldn't tackle (like making my own dumplings!)  I will be honest and say that this took longer than I expected, mostly because I think I was a slow wrapper and made a lot of dumplings, but honestly, if you have some time, these are really yummy, and as I told my friend Allie, it's nice to know what's in your food!

So, the recipe I used was from my favorite cooking app, How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman.  It was given to me by my dear friends, Adam and Jen, and it is amazing.  

Below is pictured pretty much everything you need; a little of a lot of things!  This recipe made around 24 dumplings for me.  You will need:

1/2 lb ground chicken (or pork, or whatever you want to use)
1/4 c minced scallion
1 c washed and chopped leeks (I have a suggestion for washing, see below)
1 Tsp minced fresh ginger
1 Tsp rice wine 
1 Tsp sugar
1 Tbsp soy sauce (I use low sodium)
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1 egg, lightly beaten
large pinch of salt
about 24 dumpling skins (I used square wonton wrappers because it was what I could find)
Peanut oil for cooking

For the Ginger-Scallion Sauce:

1/4 c minced fresh ginger
1/2 c chopped scallion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tsp salt
1/2 c peanut oil

So, about those leeks.  They are best cleaned AFTER you cut them up because they get a lot of sand and grit in between the layers.  I like to fill my salad spinner with water, separate all the rings, swish them around in the water, and then pour out the water, and give the a spin.  I then cut them up into a smaller dice.

Alright, so now combine your first 11 ingredients in a bowl for your filling. 
Now comes the time consuming part, filling the dumplings.  I think that if I had round wrappers, the folds wouldn't have been as complicated as I made them, but who knows! 

So, flour your surface put down a wrapper and place about a teaspoon of filling into the middle of the wrapper.  Have a small bowl of water nearby, and use your finger to wet all four edges of the wrapper.  This will act as the glue to hold it together. 

Next, find a way to fold them up.  I folded corner to corner, and then kind of pinched other corners up and in to make sort of a pleat to make them more interesting.  I don't think it matters how you fold them, as long as they are completely sealed, and you don't leave a lot of air space around the filling inside. 

I think these look kind of like little boats :)

Here they are, all finished!  I only cooked a few, and I made sure the others had a little flour on them, and put them in the fridge for another day.  I have a feeling they will soon end up in the freezer though, because I am still eating pork and spinach from the other night! 
Ok, so now it's time to cook the dumplings and make the sauce.  Take a large skillet with a lid, and heat a light coating of peanut oil over medium high heat.  When your pan gets hot, put in your dumplings, seam side up and let the bottoms brown for about 3 minutes.  Then, add 1/2 a cup of water, pour it in carefully cause the oil will spatter, and put the lid on to catch all the steam.  While these cook for like 3 minutes, get your sauce ready.  If there is any water left in the pan, after 3 minutes, take the lid off and let the water cook off.

The sauce was easy and pretty fun and exciting to make!  I rough chopped the ginger, scallions and garlic, and minced them in my mini food processor.  (It's still one of my favorite kitchen tools!) Then put the chopped stuff in a heat safe bowl.  Heat your 1/2 cup of peanut oil in a small saucepan over high heat until it starts to smoke.  Then comes the exciting part!  Carefully, pour the hot oil into the bowl of veggies.  They are going to spit and sizzle because the hot oil is cooking the veggies, and they are full of moisture.  I didn't get burnt, but be careful!  Then stir it all together and you have your yummy sauce.  Oh, I also added some Sriracha to the sauce for heat!

I finished the dish with some brown rice, topped it with the dumplings, and the ginger-scallion sauce.  It's pictured below in my special rice bowl, made by my friend Jess.  YUM!

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