Cathy’s Kitchen Prescription LLC
Chewy steamed dumplings are comfort food. They are also fun to make. Fill them with all manner of minced vegetable fillings but keep the mix fairly dry. To add interest, try different dipping sauces. I steamed them here, but I also adore them in a light vegetable soup with tender greens. I made them with whole white wheat wrappers to lend a sweet nuttiness and to up their nutritional benefits. If time is tight, make them in advance and freeze them. Dumplings cook in a flash for a speedy supper.
Prep time 1 hour for dumplings plus 30 minutes for filling and sauce
Cook time 15 minutes
Makes 20-22 dumplings
2 shallots, fine dice
1-2 tablespoons Shaoxing rice wine to deglaze pan
2 ½ cups fresh large shiitake mushrooms, sliced, tough stems removed
4 cloves garlic
½ cup packed cilantro
1-inch fresh ginger, peeled, grated
2 stalks celery, fine dice
1 to 2 tablespoons tapioca starch
1 teaspoon Chinese black vinegar
2 to 3 teaspoons good quality soy sauce or red miso to taste
250 grams whole wheat white flour
125-130 milliliters very hot water
1 freshly squeezed orange
2 teaspoons Chinese black vinegar
2 teaspoons good quality soy sauce
Pinch freshly ground Sichuan pepper
½ teaspoon grated ginger
1 clove grated garlic
2 tablespoons slivered scallion
1 red or green slivered Thai chili or shake of dried chili flakes
Using a mezzaluna or chef knife, mince the garlic and cilantro together.
Heat a skillet for 3 minutes over a medium flame. Add the shallots, lower heat, cook until they become translucent and release their liquid. As they begin to darken the pan, deglaze with the Shaoxing wine.
Add the shiitakes, minced garlic-cilantro, ginger, and celery. Cover and cook on low until the mix softens and becomes fragrant.
Uncover. Stir in the 1 tablespoon of the tapioca flour, adding more if the mix is still watery. Cook a minute or two more until it dries out. Season with the Sichuan pepper and black vinegar and soy sauce, if using. Remove from flame and mix in miso, if using.
Add flour to a food processor and pour in 125 milliliters of the hot water. Run for 2 minutes or until the mix gathers into a ball. It takes time to hydrate the flour so be patient. The dough should not be wet or overly soft. Adjust flour or hot water as needed.
Remove and knead for 10 minutes. If the texture is right, you should not need to add flour as you knead the dough, but use flour if it sticks. The kneaded dough should become smooth and supple. Cover and rest the dough for 30 minutes.
With your hands roll the dough into a 1-inch diameter cylinder. Slice into 12 equal pieces. Keep them well covered to prevent drying as you make the dumplings.
Lightly dust a board with white whole wheat flour and roll out the first piece of dough with a wood dowel or small rolling pin, forming a thin circle 4-5 inches in diameter. Roll the edges more thinly than the center by rotating the dough as you go.
Using a 3 ¾ inch or 9.5 cm round ring mold or bowl, cut out a disk. Cover and reserve the scraps. Lay the disk in your palm, floured side facing up. Dip your finger in water and wet the perimeter. Use a small spoon to mound the filling in the center, shaping it into football shape.
There are many ways to fold a dumpling. The simplest is to simply bend up the sides like a taco, then seal the edges together to form a half moon. Here, I chose a classic method of leaving one side smooth and creating 6 to 8 pleats on the other side, which creates appealing crescents. Seal them well and gently press them on the board to flatten their bottoms so they stay erect while steaming.
Repeat until all your dough, including the scraps, are rolled, filled, and folded.
Heat a large non-stick skillet for 3 minutes over medium-low heat. Place the dumpling upon it, spaced slightly apart. After a minute, pour in a cup of very hot water, cover, lower flame and simmer the dumplings for 15 minutes, after which the water should have evaporated, and the dumplings steamed and browned on their undersides. Keep an eye on them periodically and do not allow them to burn. Alternatively, you can simply steam the dumplings for 15 minutes.
Serve warm with the dipping sauce.
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