Mastering the art of dumpling-making could well make you the most popular member of the family with a Saturday-morning home yum cha special!
Fresh from the garden: Chinese leaves, spinach, spring onions, ginger
Recipe source: adapted from a recipe by Ken Hom on bbc.co.uk/food
Makes: about 35 dumplings
For the dough
For the stuffing
For the dipping sauce
What to do:
For the dough
- Fill the kettle and turn on to boil. Place the flour into a large bowl. Carefully measure the hot water and stir it gradually into the flour, mixing all the time with a fork or chopsticks, until the water is incorporated. Add more water if the mixture seems dry.
- Tip the dough mixture onto a clean work surface and knead it with your hands, dusting the dough with a little flour if it’s sticky. Continue kneading until it is smooth – this should take about eight minutes.
- Put the dough back in the bowl, cover it with a clean damp towel and let it rest for about 20 minutes.
For the stuffing
- While the dough is resting, wash and spin-dry the spinach, removing and discarding any large stalks. Finely chop to yield 150g.
- Wash and peel the first layer from each of the spring onions. Finely chop to yield 3 tablespoons.
- Peel the skin from the ginger and finely chop to yield 2 packed teaspoons worth.
- Combine all veggies and the rest of the stuffing ingredients in a large bowl and mix them together thoroughly. Set aside.
Preparing the dumplings
- After the resting period, take the dough out of the bowl and knead it again for about five minutes, dusting with a little flour if it is sticky.
- Once the dough is smooth, shape it into 2 rolls about 23cm long and about 2cm diameter, using your hands.
- With a sharp knife, slice each roll into 16 equal-sized pieces (each piece is about 15g). Using your hands, roll each of the dough pieces into a small ball and then, with a rolling pin, roll each ball into a small, round, flat and thin ‘pancake’ about 9cm in diameter.
- Arrange the round skins on a lightly floured baking tray and cover them with a damp kitchen towel to prevent them from drying out until you are ready to use them.
- Place about two teaspoons of filling in the centre of each ‘pancake’ and moisten the edges with water. Fold the dough in half and pinch together with your fingers.
- Pleat around the edge, pinching with your fingers to seal well. The dumpling should look like a small Cornish pasty with a flat base and rounded top.
- Transfer each finished dumpling to the floured tray and keep it covered until you have stuffed all the dumplings in this way.
- Heat a large lidded non-stick frying pan until it is very hot. Add the vegetable oil and place the dumplings flat-side down into the pan.
- Reduce the heat and cook for about two minutes until they the dumplings are lightly browned. Add the water, cover the pan tightly and simmer gently for about 12 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed. Check the water half-way through and add more if necessary. Uncover the pan and continue to cook for a further two minutes.
- For the dipping sauce, combine all the dipping sauce ingredients together in a small bowl.
- Remove the dumplings from the pan with a large slotted spoon onto serving plates and serve with the dipping sauce.
Notes: Why do we let the dough rest? What does to yield mean? Why are there different soy sauces? Why are these called pot-stickers?