In my bowl, little bundles of joy sat bathing in ladles of broth, topped with a crack of pepper and sprinkling of chopped scallions. "Why haven't I thought of this? Ever?" This - along with the pudgy frog that found its way into the living room, its nose touching the glass separating Fat Kermit and the elevated pool - brings about fond memories of friendships that grew out of shared office space.
These days, I make enough dumplings to feed a party of six. The only difference is in its shape: I find the potsticker-styled ones more versatile in terms of storage and cooking methods. Because they can sit upright independently, these can be steamed, pan-fried or boiled with ease. I'd usually make them while watching TV, arrange them on a wax-paper lined baking tray, leave in the freezer for about an hour and finally pack them in a few ziplock bags. After all, this is comfort food for me.
Don't spend too much time pondering over the names. Briefly, you want to use "dumpling skins" instead of "wanton skins". The latter is thinner and not as ideal for pan-frying. We are making these babies to boil, steam or pan-fry.
1.2 lbs minced pork
16 medium shrimps, peeled, deveined, minced
3 oz canned water chestnuts, diced
2 stalks scallions, chopped
A bunch of cilantro or Chinese parsley, chopped
Garlic and ginger, chopped
A dash of soy sauce, shaoxing wine each
Few drops of sesame oil, and salt+pepper
1 egg to bind, mix the ingredients thoroughly
It helps if you watch this video from Chow. Observe which hands to use, how to fold and crimp to suit your preference. Practice makes perfect. Just one note: the skins may harden if left out too long. Covering the pile with a clean damp cloth will keep them soft.
Next up, subsequent posts on dumpling soup, steamed dumplings, pan-fried pot-stickers, and other options.