Food & Drink

Teddi A. Wohlford: Gather friends for a dumpling night

Every culture has its own form of dumplings. Most dumplings are dough with their filings varying in flavor by the ingredients readily available and seasoned with a spice profile dictated by the cuisine or cook preparing them.

In a recent cooking class I taught at Robinson Home, I had 16 eager students all making Asian dumplings. Today, I will share with you some of those recipes and some tips for dumpling success.

For me, variety is the spice of life and keeps my work as a chef fun and challenging -- always learning and never a dull moment.

The most “traditional and familiar” filling for the dumplings was made with ground pork and seasoned with minced fresh garlic and ginger root as well as soy sauce and Asian sesame oil. I also made a filling of ground beef and cabbage that had some minced green onion and garlic as well as hoisin sauce and Asian sesame oil. The third filling I prepared was made with ground chicken breasts seasoned with freshly grated orange zest and lemon zest, and flavored with miso paste.

We used prepared wonton wrappers (3-inch rounds) available in most larger grocery stores in either the produce section or natural foods section. Square wonton wrappers also are commonly available. If you’re able to find only the square wrappers, simply use a 3-inch round cutter to create circles for making steamed Asian dumplings or pot stickers.

When assembling your dumplings, do not overfill the centers -- too much filling won’t allow you to seal your dumpling properly and make for a messy cooking experience. Use water around the edges of the dumpling dough to act as glue when you gather and press to seal the edges.

When cooking the dumplings, do not overcrowd a bamboo steamer (if making steamed dumplings) or a frying pan (if making pot stickers). Allow a bit of space between each piece.

It only takes a few minutes to cook these filled dumplings, but to be safe, check the internal temperature of a few in each batch, making sure that they register at least 160 degrees in the center. They will continue to cook a bit more once removed from the cooking vessel.

My recipe for Short-Cut Asian Broth is wonderful and so very flavorful. The combination of beef and chicken flavors make for a super-yummy combination, but the secret to the flavor profile is the seasoning packet I use in the broth -- a cheesecloth bundle of peppercorns, cinnamon sticks, star anise, fennel seeds and whole cloves (the five spices of Chinese Five-Spice) and I also add some garlic and bay leaves to the bundle.

The spice bundle “steeps” while the broth simmers, releasing all of its flavor. Once done, the cheesecloth bundle is simply lifted from the broth and thrown away.

Use this broth as the base for wonderful wonton soup. And you’ll probably have extra filling that did not make it into dumplings. Make some small meatballs with the fillings and cook in the boiling broth until done.

Prepare your own dipping sauces for your dumplings by using my recipes. My favorite two sauces are the Sriracha-Honey Sauce and the Spicy Peanut Sauce.

Gather some friends or family members and have a dumpling night -- letting everyone share in the work and fun!

TEDDI’S RECIPES

Beef and Cabbage Filling for Dumplings

1 1/2 pounds ground beef

2 cups finely shredded cabbage

1 carrot, shredded

1/4 cup minced green onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 egg

2 tablespoons hoisin sauce

2 tablespoons Asian sesame oil

In a large bowl, combine beef, cabbage, carrot, onion and garlic. Whisk together the egg, hoisin sauce and sesame oil.

Add hoisin mixture to the beef/cabbage mixture. Blend thoroughly.

Pork Filling for Dumplings

2 pounds ground pork

2 tablespoons thinly sliced green onions

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger root

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 egg, beaten

1/4 cup soy sauce

2 tablespoons Asian sesame oil

In a large bowl, combine ground pork with green onions, ginger root and garlic. Whisk together the egg with the remaining ingredients.

Add the egg mixture to the meat mixture. Blend thoroughly using your hands or a sturdy spoon.

Citrus Chicken Filling for Dumplings

2 pounds ground chicken

1/4 cup finely minced fresh parsley

Freshly grated zest of 1 orange

Freshly grated zest of 2 lemons

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 egg, beaten

1/4 cup soy sauce

2 tablespoons Asian sesame oil

1 tablespoon miso paste

In a large bowl, combine ground chicken with the parsley, orange and lemon zests and garlic. Whisk together the egg with the remaining ingredients.

Add the egg mixture to the meat mixture. Blend thoroughly using your hands or a sturdy spoon.

Short-Cut Asian Broth

6 cups chicken broth

3 (10.5-ounce) cans beef consommé (undiluted)

SEASONING PACKET:

6 cloves garlic, cut in half

4 star anise

2 bay leaves

2 cinnamon sticks

1 tablespoon whole peppercorns

1 tablespoon fennel seeds

1 teaspoon whole cloves

Cheesecloth and kitchen twine

Makes 10 cups.

In a soup pot, combine chicken broth and beef consommé.

Combine all ingredients of the spice packet and bundle in cheesecloth, securing in kitchen twine. Add to the broth. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes.

Remove seasoning packet and discard.

Sriracha-Honey Dipping Sauce

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup sour cream

1/4 cup sriracha sauce

1/4 cup honey

Makes 1 1/2 cups.

Combine all ingredients and whisk until smooth.

Thai Curry Dipping Sauce

2/3 cup coconut milk

2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste

1 tablespoon fresh juice from 1 lime

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon Asian fish sauce

1 tablespoon honey

1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger root

Makes 1 cup.

Combine all ingredients and whisk until smooth.

Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup soy sauce

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

2 tablespoons (packed) brown sugar

1 tablespoon finely minced fresh ginger root

1 clove minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Makes 1 1/2 cups.

Place peanut butter in a small mixing bowl.

Combine water, soy sauce and lime juice. Heat until very hot. Whisk into the peanut butter until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and blend well.

Pineapple-Sake-Teriyaki Dipping Sauce

3/4 cup sake

1/4 cup hoisin sauce

2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 tablespoon Asian sesame oil

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon finely minced ginger root

1 (10-ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained well

Makes about 2 1/2 cups.

Combine all ingredients, except the pineapple, and whisk until smooth. Stir in the pineapple.

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