My addiction to Dumplings has to be traced all the way back to Melbourne. The frequent visits to Shanghai Noodle House during the student years (cheap, but service is nasty). The more refined Hu Tong for their Xiao Long Baos. Or the weekly work lunch at Ping’s Dumplings Bar in Clayton (Awesome vegetarian dumplings!). Back in KL, dumplings don’t appear much in our repertoire except for the odd visits to Ding Tai Fung. But doesn’t mean we love them any less! Since I don’t eat out much anymore it only makes sense to start making my own dumplings.
Dumplings are often consumed during the Chinese New Year too because they are shaped like the ingots. There can be many different types of fillings, depending on preferences or origins. They can either be steamed, boiled in stock or pan-fried. I love the crispiness of the pan fried version (provided they aren’t too greasy), simply dipped in vinegar. Comforting.
I saw a recipe on one of my favourite blogs Rasa Malaysia, and it was a Guestpost by Hyosun from Eating and Living: Mandu (Korean Dumplings). My eyes popped when I noted that she uses kimchi as filling which prompted me to list dumpling wrappers in my shopping list for the next day because it’s just too hard to resist. I’ve made a few changes to it though, mainly because Frank doesn’t eat pork dumplings (really missing out, this guy). But the result? I couldn’t believe these are vegetarians! I will add Kimchi to my dumplings everytime from now on.
Vegetarian Mandu (Adapted from http://rasamalaysia.com/mandu-recipe/)
25 – 30 dumpling wrappers (I used the gyoza wrappers just because I prefer the colour, they are also slightly thicker)
1 cup (packed) finely chopped kimchi
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
3 rehydrated shitake mushrooms, stalks removed and finely chopped
2 tablespoon scallions, finely chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon finely grated ginger (or juiced)
50g chopped up cooked sweet potato noodles
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1/2 egg (use the other half to seal the wrappers)
salt to taste (about 1/2 teaspoon)
generous dash of white pepper
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 teaspoon ginger, minced
1 teaspoon sesame oil
Prepare the fillings. With the tofu, make sure you squeeze out as much liquid as possible (I place a chopping board on top with paper towels). Squeeze out water from kimchi and mushrooms too, using cheesecloth or by hand. Then combine everything together and season.
Set aside in the fridge and drain all the excess liquid before using.
Place a spoonful of filling in the middle of the wrapper. For the method of pleating the dumplings I referred to this. First you wet the edge with egg wash, bring the opposite side together and pinch the middle bit first. Starting from the right side fold and pleat 4 times. The pleats would point to the centre. Work from middle to edge. And then repeat the other side (opposite direction). Seal properly.
I thought I’d really struggle with this but it was quite fun. Think they don’t look too ugly for a first timer eh?
To pan fry the dumplings, first heat the oil in a pan and arrange the dumplings neatly. Fry for 2-3 minutes until lightly brown. Then pour in about 50ml of water, covering the pan. Let cook about 4 minutes. Once the water has evaporated lift the cover and add a little bit more oil if you need to. Continue to cook the dumplings until golden brown.
If you like them crispy on both side, turn the dumplings and cook for 2 more minutes. Whip up the dipping sauce and serve. Watch them disappear in minutes!