As promised, I teach you to make dumplings.
Mel taught me last year when she came to visit me from Canada. We had one day together at my place in London before she headed up to see her boyfriend in Leeds; when I asked her what she wanted to do she said she wanted to drink wine and make dumplings. Done deal.
Since then they’ve been my number one party trick, followed closely by parsnip risotto with sage and mascarpone – don’t knock it ’til you try it.
You can buy dumpling skins or wonton skins at any large Chinese supermarket – you’ll find them in the frozen section.
Dumpling skins – 1 pack
Tofu – 300g, firm
1 carrot, grated
1 red onion, finely chopped
1) Crumble the tofu into a large bowl with carrot, onion, and as much garlic, ginger and coriander as you like. Add some salt and pepper.
2) Make yourself a little dumpling-making station! Mine involves a large chopping board and some rap music, with a small bowl of water for wetting the dumpling skins.
3) Now here’s where things get complicated. Not really though. Take a dumpling skin off the top of the heap and place it on your work surface. Wet your fingers, gently moisten the wrapper and then flip it over.
If, like me, you are not very delicate, then try doubling up. Wet the wrapper and then, instead of flipping it right over, place a second one directly on top – the water will seal them together. Wet the top of that one, and flip. The skins are extremely thin and break easily – I find it much easier this way.
4) Place a small spoonful of filling into the center of the wrapper. Fold the sides up and in and press to seal – the water will make sure things stick.
5) Repeat – eight thousand times. Or until you run out of wrappers. If you’re doubling up, you should end up with approximately 25 dumplings. Don’t be discouraged if they don’t look great at first – practice makes perfect, and it all tastes the same anyway.
6) There are several ways of cooking these – the easiest is in a bamboo steamer. Boil a pot of water and set the steamer gently on top. In roughly 5-7 minutes, your dumplings will be good to go. Mind the steam when you take off the lid!
The dumplings are great served on their own, with a peanut/satay sauce for dipping. Alternatively, they work extremely well in soup – either a clear chicken broth with a few soba noodles and pak choi, or try a simple miso. And if you’re feeling especially ambitious/gluttonous, fry ’em up. Whatever you do, they’re going to taste divine.
Bon appetit, or “祝您有个好胃口!