Sunday, June 14, 2009

Daring Cooks Challenge - potsticker dumplings

Yum yum! This month's Daring Cooks challenge was Chinese dumplings/potstickers, one of the more popular bites at Chinese restaurants. Host Jennifer, of Use Real Butter, provided a version of her family recipe for the Daring Cooks to try. The one proviso of the challenge was that the dumpling dough had to be made by hand (no cheating by using bought wonton wrappers!)

Making the dumpling dough was not difficult. It was a little time-c0nsuming but not enough to put you off. You could make these dumplings in about an hour or so. It's obviously not something you could whip up in a flash but it's also not something you need to put aside a whole afternoon to make.

Jennifer provided both a pork and a shrimp (prawn) filling for the Daring Cooks to try. "The beauty of the Chinese dumpling/potsticker is that the filling is very versatile. That's why there are so many different kinds of dumplings when you go to dim sum," Jen wrote to the Daring Cooks.

"The important thing to keep in mind is that the filling needs to 'stick' to itself or else you will make your life incredibly miserable wrapping up filling that keeps falling apart."

The dumpling dough is made of just two ingredients - flour and warm water - demonstrating, once again, the wonderful chemistry of cooking. Who would have thought that mixing and kneading flour and warm water together would produce a sturdy dough that could then be rolled out into neat little wonton wrappers, filled with a teaspoonful of a sticky filling, and then cooked to make luxurious little purses of goodness.

Although Jen provided two recipes for potsticker filling, I chose to make an adapted version of a Donna Hay potsticker filling of pork and coriander. I'm not a huge fan of pork mince, so I substituted beef mince instead, and this made a delicious filling.

For the final result, we could choose to boil, steam or pan-fry the dumplings. Although I had planned to try each version, in the end I pan-fried all my dumplings to make potstickers.

I absolutely love Chinese dumplings and this was a great recipe to try. I was very pleased with the final results. My folding and pleating of the dumplings does need some practice - I certainly wouldn't be able to get a job as a dim sum chef! - but I thought they looked quite good for home-made dumplings. I would definitely make this recipe again. I loved the filling, so I could cheat next time and just use bought wonton wrappers to save time, but most of the fun was in making the dumpling dough. A big thanks to Jen for choosing such a great challenge!

Based on the recipe provided by Jen from Use Real Butter

250g plain flour
115g warm water

Place the flour in the work bowl of a food processor with the dough blade. Run the processor and pour the warm water in until incorporated. Pour the contents into a sturdy bowl or onto a work surface and knead until uniform and smooth. The dough should be firm and silky to the touch and not sticky. [Note: it’s better to have a moist dough and have to incorporate more flour than to have a dry and pilling dough and have to incorporate more water).

Knead the dough about twenty strokes, then cover with a damp towel for 15 minutes. Take the dough and form a flattened dome. Cut into strips about 1 1/2 to 2 inches wide. Shape the strips into rounded long cylinders. On a floured surface, cut the strips into 3/4 inch pieces. Press palm down on each piece to form a flat circle (you can shape the corners in with your fingers). With a rolling pin, roll out a circular wrapper from each flat disc. Take care not to roll out too thin or the dumplings will break during cooking - about 1/16th inch. Leave the centres slightly thicker than the edges. Place a tablespoon of filling in the center of each wrapper and fold the dough in half, pleating the edges along one side. Keep all unused dough under damp cloth.

To pan-fry (potstickers): Place dumplings in a frying pan with 2-3 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Heat on high and fry for a few minutes until bottoms are golden. Add 1/2 cup water and cover. Cook until the water has boiled away and then uncover and reduce heat to medium or medium low. Let the dumplings cook for another 2 minutes then remove from heat and serve.

Potsticker filling
Adapted from a Donna Hay recipe for pork and coriander potstickers

300g beef mince
3 green onions, chopped
1 tablespoon kecap manis
1 tablespoon sweet chilli sauce
½ teaspoon finely grated ginger
¼ cup chopped coriander leaves
1 eggwhite
vegetable oil, for pan-frying

Place the pork, green onion, kecap manis, sweet chilli sauce, ginger, coriander and eggwhite in a bowl and mix until combined. Use as directed in master recipe above.

Dipping sauce: I made a dipping sauce of 2 tablespoons lime juice, 1 tablespoon brown sugar and 1 teaspoon fish sauce. You could also add one finely chopped red chilli to this sauce if you wished.


Lisa Michelle said...

Love the beed filling and both your dumplings and potstickers came out gorgeous! Very well done!

Audax said...

Wonderful and yes the point is that they taste fabulous. Neat job on the pleating and I just love Donna Hay. Great photos as always. Thanks for your nice comments on my blog. Cheers from Audax in Sydney still cold and not-raining at the moment but very soon I can see.

isa said...

Love your beef filling with chilli sauce. Lovely pictures! Awesome job on this challenge!

Suzie said...

This was my fiurst Daring Cooks challenge and I loved it so much, I will definitely be making bthem again. And now I want to try your beef filling....

Jen Yu said...

That filling you used sounds so delicious! Love how your potstickers turned out - they're beautiful. Congratulations on a successful challenge. Great job!

Andreas said...

Yummy potstickers. :)

Melinda said...

Thanks everyone for your lovely comments. This was a fun challenge and I've seen some great efforts from other DCs. Can't wait for the next challenge!

rasita said...

these look great. Thanks for posting the recipe, especially the dough. We are going to make something similar for dinner tonight and wanted to make from scratch. And now i have a recipe to work from and that works.
thanks again