Sunday, January 4, 2009

dishing up dumplings

Well, I'm not so sure how to begin my first post of our new year. I had a wonderful holiday season filled with lots of good company and came away with a refrigerator full of left-overs. I hope everyone else did too. We cooked, and ate, and drank, and laughed, and then tried to get some sleep - it amazes me every year how the time passes so quickly after so much anticipation. And now with the company gone home and the fridge returning to its normal state for a family of two, I actually have time to go to the store and pick out a few choice ingredients to play with in the kitchen. (Not to mention my new toy which I hope to spend plenty of time with in the near future...)

So, this past weekend I spent a little quality time in the kitchen making these beauties: Let me tell you - they are worth every naughty word I uttered trying to master folding these little guys, and thanks to my very patient assistant who eagerly helped me fill and fold, they didn't even take too long to make.

Spicy Shrimp Dumplings
(inspired by Szechwan Won Tons in Su-Huei Huang and Mu-Tsun Lee's 'Chinese Rice and Noodles')

*Note: this recipe makes an enormous quantity - approximately 12o dumplings, depending on the size of your wrappers. Extra cooked dumplings can be refrigerated for a few days, or frozen by placing them in a single layer on a baking sheet and freezing, then packing into air-tight freezer containers or baggies. I also imagine the recipe could be halved or even quartered without any problem, but I've written it here in its original form as that is how I made these. In addition, I'll add that if making the entire batch, it is quite nice to have a dumpling helper or two...

Ingredients:

2 packages square won-ton wrappers (approximately 120)
1 Lb. shrimp, shelled and deveined (I used frozen, which I thawed under cold running water and then drained)
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. pepper
1 1/2 tsp. tamari sauce
2 scallions, whites only - chopped
1 Tb. dry white wine
1 Tb. sesame oil
2 eggs, beaten

For the Sauce:

6 Tb, tamari sauce
1 Tb. sugar
1 Tb. rice wine vinegar
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 scallion, sliced
2 Tb. hot pepper sesame oil

To make the dumplings:

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, pulse the shrimp and scallions (white parts only) just until coarsely chopped and combined. Transfer to a medium bowl.

To the shrimp mixture add the salt, sugar, pepper, tamari, wine, and sesame oil. Add in beaten eggs and stir gently to incorporate. Set aside.

Have ready a small bowl of water, the won-ton wrappers, and a large baking sheet lined with damp paper towels.

Begin making the dumplings by spooning a small amount (roughly 1 tsp.) of the shrimp filling into the center of a won-ton wrapper. Do not over-fill. Moisten the edges of the wrapper by dipping a finger in the bowl of water and running it along the wrapper's edges. Fold wrapper over mixture to form a triangle and press the edges together to seal, being careful not to push out any filling. Fold the won-ton over itself once more, and bring the left and right corners together, dampening one corner and pressing the other over it to seal (or fold and seal in your preferred method - there are numerous tutorials on the web). Place on the baking sheet lined with damp towels, and continue to fill and fold dumplings until all the filling has been used or you run out of wrappers.

Bring a large pot of water to boil and gently add dumplings in batches, being careful not to over-crowd the pot. Give the dumplings a gentle stir to prevent sticking and cook until they float to the top of the water and the filling is cooked through - about 3 minutes per batch.
Remove dumplings with a slotted spoon and transfer to a large plate.

Whisk together the sauce ingredients and serve with the hot dumplings.

I'm already thinking of making more.

4 comments:

Lucy said...

Fiddly, but worth it.

I don't think the quantity would be at all problematic. (I LOVE dumplings of any Asian variety and would have no problems wondering what to do with 120)It's often hard to make such things in smaller amounts anyway and the task made all the better if yours are willing assistants

Happy New Year, Chelsea!

chelsea said...

Too true. I would be all too happy to have a freezer full of dumplings to be had at the ready...

(and a Happy New Year to you, Lucy!)

Kari J said...

your photography is beautiful! And I want one of those dumplings (and sugar cookies right now)!

Chelsea said...

Thanks, Kari. It might be time to make some more of these dumplings already... They went fast!