Foodie Friday: China Travel Inspired Dumplings

I love to cook so I have decided to share some travel inspired recipes with everyone. Many of these recipes I found and then adjusted to make my own. Sometimes I have trouble following directions. Since you all have visited Beijing with me a bit I’m going to give you my recipe for dumplings/potstickers. Beyond that though I’m going to tell you what else I prepare with the potstickers. I’m doing this because often times we don’t know what to pair with a dish and and I don’t want you to have that issue.

Quick Story: We went to the Tang Dynasty Dinner Show in Xi’an. The dinner was all these different types of dumplings: pork, duck, sweet potato, and ones that I can’t remember now. We ate first then the lights dimmed and the show started. Before each dance started there was a screen on each side of the stage that told us the story. The translations were not often 100% correct but we got the idea. Most of these I watched with wonder and once the moment passed all I remembered was flashes of moving color, the flash of faux jewels on a costume moving to a tune. One of the acts still stands out in my mind.  I believe it’s called the Flying Buddha. It was light in tone and color: pastels and sweet, gentle notes.

Food often goes hand in hand with happy memories. This was not my only experience with dumplings in China but it is my fondest. I hope that you enjoy the recipe. When you try it I would love to know how it came out. Let me know if you try any variations.  

**WARNING** I cook as much by directions as by taste. If you have questions please ask.

Ingredients:

Dough:

I can make dough but I have not for dumplings because it takes longer than I have time for. So I use Nasoya wonton wraps. I get them at Tom Thumb in the produce section. Eventually when I’m not out of town on a weekend I’ll find a good dough recipe and update you all.

Filling:

This original recipe I found on Pinterest but as I said above, I don’t follow directions well. So here is what I use.

  • ½ Ground Chicken (I’ve also used ground turkey)
  • ½ Cup Fresh Spinach (The original recipe calls for cabbage but I’m not a fan)
  • 1 ½ tbs Green Onions
  • 1 Clove of Garlic (I love using the pre-minced)
  • 1 tbs Soy Sauce
  • 2 tsp Ginger (Fresh taste better but for ease of use pre minced is great)
  • ¼ tsp Pepper

To Cook:

Dipping Sauce:

Sides:

I typically do both of these if I’m cooking for more than just me. If it’s just me I pick one.

Vegetables:

  • Carrots
  •  Broccoli
  •  Mushrooms

White Rice:

I really like Mahatma Jasmine Rice.

Directions:

Dumplings:

  1. Roughly chop the spinach and green onions. Short pieces are better for the spinach. In a medium sized bowl mix together all filling ingredients. At this point if you have a food processor (or blender that doubles as one), put the filling mixture into it and process it into a paste. If you don’t have a food processor, I’ve used my mixer to get everything mashed together well. Once all ingredients are sufficiently combined put them back in the bowl.
  2. Layout your dough. I put mine on a cutting board in rows. In the middle of each square put about a teaspoon and a half to 2 teaspoons of the filling.
  3. Now, time to seal the dough around the filling. I fill a small glass with water, dipping my fingers in the water I then wet the edge of the dough square. From there I fold the dough into a triangle and press the edges together. I also press fork tines around the edge to get a good seal.
  4. Repeat until all filling has been used.
  5. Cooking: Frying/Steaming
    1. Fill the bottom of a skillet with vegetable oil and heat on medium. Once the oil is a medium heat add the dumplings. They only need a couple of minutes per side. Don’t cook them too hot or the dough is burn before the filling is cooked.  
    2. I have a steamer that I set into a pot with an a small amount of water in the bottom of the pan. Before steaming your dumplings put a layer of spinach leaves/cabbage leaves on the bottom of the steamer so that the dough doesn’t stick. Steam for ten minutes.

**Tips: you don’t have to cook all the dumplings at once. Freeze 6-8 in quart freezer bags. Also, make sure to add additional water to the pot after you cook each batch of dumplings or you will burn the bottom of your pot.

Dipping Sauce:

Make to taste and only as much as you need right then.

  1. I start with about ½ c. Soy and Ponzu as a base.
  2. Add a small dash of Sesame oil. If you have ½ cup of Soy and Ponzu mix only 1tsp of Sesame Oil.
  3. Add the Chili Sauce or Red Pepper to taste. I prefer just a hit of heat – 2 tsp of Chili Sauce for every ½ c. of Soy/Ponzu mix.
  4. Add 1tbs of Green Onions to sauce
  5. ½ tsp of toasted Sesame Seeds

**Tips: If you don’t have toasted Sesame Seeds, then you can roast them in a dry pan on medium heat for about 30 seconds

Sides:

  • Vegetables can be eaten raw or steamed.
  • Make the rice as the directions indicate.  

I hope that you have enjoyed this story and recipe. I’m working on the next Foodie Friday post and will get it to you soon. Please feel free to comment and let me know how you liked the recipe and any variations that you used!

**Photos are by Laci McGee. Please note that the dumpling dough is sealed differently. This was how I originally sealed the opening. You can do this but the fork method above seals them better.

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