If, like me, you like to give a nod to various festivals as the year spins around then you might like this fun little number to try to Chinese New year which, in 2015, falls on 19th February. It’s the year of the snake next year but these ridiculously tasty but easy potsticker dumplings for Chinese New Year are made using pork or prawns. They’re a type of dim sum and these can be just as tasty made at home as in a Chinese restaurant. I love the idea of letting my kids try food from lots of different countries but taking them to a restaurant if I’m not sure they’ll like the food is stressful so we often try international food at home. These were a a big hit.
They look hard -but they’re really not. My 5 year old is a dab hand at making these and they’re a fun activity for half-term as long as you banish the kids from the stove when you cook them.
The only hard work is going to be finding the dumpling skins or wonton wrappers but, unless you are miles from an Asian grocers or large supermarket, (which, admittedly, you might be), you shouldn’t struggle to find them. They’ll be in a freezer or fridge, they’re about 3 inches square and may be called spring roll wrappers.
Let’s try this!
1 cup (about 200g) of minced pork or minced prawns or crab meat
3 spring onions (scallions), snipped finely
1/4 cup (about 50 g) minced bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, cabbage or peeled and shredded carrot
(or chopped yellow pepper if your kids are fussy blighters and you’ve never followed a recipe properly in your life so why change the habit of a lifetime – just giving you rebels permission to free-style)
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp finely chopped fresh ginger
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp dark sesame oil
about 25 wonton or dim sum wrappers
For the sauce:
1 tbsp sesame oil
1/4 cup or 60 ml soy sauce
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds (optional)
1 1/2 tsps rice or another light vinegar (white wine vinegar at a pinch)
1/2 tsp crushed garlic
1 tbsp shredded fresh ginger or 1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp sugar
Combine all of the ingredients except the wrappers in a bowl.
Place one rounded teaspoon of filling on a wonton wrapper.
Moisten the edges of the wrapper with you fingers or a pastry brush dipped in water.
Pinch the wrapper corner to opposite corner, then gather up like a little purse, pinching to seal.
As you complete the dumplings, keep them under a damp tea towel so they don’t dry out.
Heat about 4 tbsp of peanut, vegetable or corn oil in a large frying pan (ideally non-stick but it’s not crucial) with a lid (yes, the lid IS crucial). Turn the heat to medium high.
Place half the dumplings into the oil, one at a time but fairly briskly so they have a similar cooking time. Place them seam side up and do not crowd. You’re going to cook them in two batches. Here’s what you do with each batch.
Cover the pan and cook for 5 minutes.
Uncover and add 3/4 cup or about 180 ml water to the pan and recover for 2 minutes to steam. This will make a huge noise and may traumatise the cat. Just so you know.
Remove the lid and cook for about 3 minutes more or until water has evaporated. Remove to a warm place and repeat with any subsequent batches.
If this all sounds too complicated you can steam them for 10 minutes in a bamboo or electrical steamer, again maybe in 2 batches so as not to crowd but they won’t have the lovely crisp bottoms you get with frying. It will make them considerably healthier though!
Serve with the dipping sauce. Yummy!
Happy lunar New Year!