Saturday, July 29, 2006

Veggie Dumplings

I like dumplings, the Chinese kind (guo tie), a la Shanghai dumplings when I was in Melbourne. Of course, they're oily as hell, but it's one of those party foods that a few friends could get together and share while having their meals on their own.

I was planning my packed lunches for the week when I thought about making Shanghai dumplings as part of my menu. I didn't feel like having any meat, so I made it a full vegetarian dish. Be warned though, this isn't the kind of dish that you can whip up in half and hour - you've gotta make the dough, then make the dumplings and cook them how you want it. If you want it as straight dumplings, just boil and enjoy. If you want the guo tie/potsticker style, then add a further step of pan frying after boiling. In both cases, enjoy with black vinegar and ginger.

Veggie Dumplings

The dough:
200 gm plain flour
Pinch of salt
1 tbsp oil
Warm water

The filling:
1 package frozen spinach
Equal amount of chives
1 tbsp light soy
1 tbsp chinese wine

1. Make the dough! Add small amounts of warm water to form a dough. It's as easy as that. And yes, that means you've got to get your hands dirty. We're aiming for a consistency that is not too hard to mould and too soft that it breaks apart easily. After a good amount of kneading, cover with a damp cloth and leave for a few hours in the fridge.

2. For the filling mixture, drain and squeeze dry the spinach and chop it coarsely. Add chopped chives and season with soy sauce and chinese wine.

3. The magic number to this dish's serving size is 16. So split the dough in two parts, and then split each part in two, and then split in two again. With each serve, roll out on a floured surface and make a flattened disc. Seal the edges and pinch the sides to secure it.

4. Cook the dumplings in boiling water until skin is translucent. If you want it potsticker style, pan fry the dumplings until skin is golden brown. Enjoy!


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