I love yum cha. Best thing ever. But it requires at least two people and I have a hard time finding people to come with me. Damn you people who live too far away or are busy. So on a weekend I like to make my own dumplings for lunch.
I did originally get the recipe from Asian Flavours but I only used it once. Now I just go from memory.
Preparation and cooking time is probably 40mins. It makes about 20-24 dumplings, depending on how much topping you put in each dumpling. This does require a bamboo steamer. You can pick up a nice one at a cooking store or an el cheapo at an asian supermarket.
~250g wonton wrappers (I can only find 500g so just save the rest for next time or for wonton soup or throw at someone…)
Spinach (1 bunch from vic market. Not sure the quantity it is sold at regular supermarkets. After blanching and squeezing out the water, it is normally slightly larger than my fist)
270g tin water chestnuts
A handful of shiitake mushrooms. Or you could replace it with pork mince or whatever
Make sure that the spinach is as clean as possible. There is nothing worse then eating a dumpling and then crunching on some grit. Blanch the spinach and squeeze out as much water as possible.
Cook some ginger and garlic on a fry pan for a few seconds. I like having more ginger than garlic. Ginger is yum. Then add the spinach, water chestnuts and shiitake mushrooms and splash in some soysauce. I think I end up using about 2 tablespoons. Cook it up and then let it cool down a bit.
Cut out some baking paper and line the bottoms of the steamer. Blend the filling in a food processor. For how long is up to you. Or, if you are lazy then don’t blend at all. Just make sure that the water chestnuts are cut to manageable size.
Start assembling your dumplings. Plop about a teaspoon of filling onto a wrapper. Don’t put it too much, it is very easy to over-stuff it. Dip your fingers in water and wipe the edges of the wrapper. Then bring up the corners together and squeeze them closed.
Put the dumplings in the steamer. My ones normally fit 5-6 on each level but I’ve got a pretty cheap one. You can get big ones that fit more. Or just do two batches. Add some hot water to a pan and then put the steamer on top. Cook for about 18 min. Keep an eye on the water and top it up when necessary.
Serve with the sauce of your choice – soysauce, sweet chilli sauce, a sauce of your own creation, whatever. I like to eat them with balsamic vinegar. And to complete the yum cha experience, drink some green tea. For preference, the loose leaf kind that has jasmine. Ah china town, how you spoil me.
This is not a leftover-friendly food. Make fresh, eat fresh. If you want to eat them over two days then stick the rest of the filling in the fridge and assemble them when you need them. Trust me, pre-making the dumplings isn’t that good.
I’m going to have to try making different types. I’ve tried pork dumplings but they were very dull. And pork buns didn’t work out too well either…