Here in Singapore, dumplings are a crowd pleaser for breakfast, lunch and even supper. These small juicy pockets of meat and seafood are usually shared with friends and family. Communal dining is the backbone of Asian food and I wanted to bring that energy to a party I was hosting over the Chinese New Year holidays.
What's more, I just moved to the same neighborhood as the famous Swee Choon Tim Sum to find out that it's tripled in size since the last time I've been there. Inspired and ready for the challenge, I went on Redmart to get the ingredients needed. Easy right? RIGHT!
Folding dumplings is a lot easier than I had initially thought. I followed the steps on Recipetineats and tweaked the filling recipe to my liking. And besides, if the folds are not working out for you, there is no shame in pressing the seams down without any pleats (alot of Chinese restaurants do this, I promise!)
Recipe makes 20 dumplings. 15 mins prep time, total cook time approximately 25 mins.
1 packet dumpling wrappers - I bought this on Redmart!
250g minced chicken
4 pieces fresh shiitake mushrooms, chopped
1 cup Chinese cabbage, chopped
1 cup spring onion, chopped
3 chili padi, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 teaspoon fish sauce
Half teaspoon sesame oil
Half teaspoon black soy sauce
Half teaspoon light soy sauce
Half teaspoon grated ginger
1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl and combine well with hands. The ratio of meat and vegetable should be roughly 40% vegetables & 60% meat.
2. Prepare your work station for folding dumplings. Keep flour handy to prevent sticking, and a bowl of water to close the dumplings shut.
3. Powder dry hands. Remove one dumpling wrapper and place on the palm of your hand. Dip your finger with water and wet the edges of the wrapper.
4. Place a teaspoon scoop of filling to the center. Fold the wrapper over and slowly pleat to close. Make sure you fold the edges shut so that moisture does not escape when steaming.
5. Place completed dumplings on a tray that has been covered with a dusting of flour. This will avoid sticking. Cover with cling wrap until ready to cook.
1. Use a pan that has a lid. This is important because we will be closing the lid mid-cook to start the steaming process.
2. Heat one tablespoon of oil in a non stick pan over medium high heat.
3. Add dumplings, pressing down to allow the dumplings to stand up during the cook - and also create a nice brown at the bottom of each dumpling.
4. When the bottom of the dumpling is golden brown, add half a cup of water into the pan.
5. Close the lid immediately to allow the dumplings to steam. Leave for at least 7 minutes to allow the pleats to cook through. If your water dries out, add more accordingly.
6. Remove lid and allow the access water to evaporate and dry up. The bottom of the dumplings will crispen and brown further.
7. Serve hot with simple dipping sauce of equal parts soy sauce, sesame seed oil and dark soy sauce. Add chili padi too if you like things spicy like me.
ALY'S COOKING TIPS
1. Don't stress the perfect pleats. If you can't seem to get it right, just press it down to close. What's important is to fully close the seams so that the dumplings are able to trap heat during the steaming.
2. Go crazy on the fillings! You can use seafood, chicken, pork, fish - whatever your flavor!
3. Use fatty meat for the filling for a juicier end product. I read this on another blog and wished I had known this sooner. My dumplings turned out really tasty but I found them a little dry because of the lean minced chicken that I used. I added oil in the filling to make it juicy but nothing replaces actual fat.
4. You can take out the entire browning process and steam your dumplings entirely on a steamer. I made it this way because I do not own a steamer (yet!) You can even deep fry the entire dumplings!