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Monday, January 18, 2010

Shrimp Dumplings


I have had a fierce craving for dumplings lately ever since I went to Chinatown. I have always wanted to try to make them at home, or at least my bastardized version of them. I recently bought a book called “The Comfort Table” by Katie Lee and there was a shrimp dumpling recipe which was just watered down enough for me to try it. The original is here. Usually I try to go for authenticity, at least as close as I can get to it but with Chinese food I make an exception. Since The Husband has a lot of food allergies and he is allergic to a lot of Asian ingredients I can’t buy them so I usually don’t get close to authentic, unfortunately. This recipe gets fairly close however, using basic ingredients that most people have in their pantries.


I love shrimp so I decided to used them for the filling, although you could use pork or another kind of meat.


I also decided to add bamboo shoots and green onions. I really like bamboo shoots, although it is very hard to describe the taste. They taste sort of woody and are crunchy. The green onions are there for the fresh taste.


I then minced everything up in the food processor until it was almost a paste.


I also added in an egg to bind everything together and some garlic, ginger, salt and pepper.


To make my life easier I used wonton wrappers from the freezer section of the supermarket.


Filling the dumplings was rather messy. It is the longest part of the recipe and I had to work quickly before the wrappers dried out. I started off by brushing them with water and depositing a teaspoon of the filling in a corner and then folding them over and pressing on the edges to seal them. At the beginning I overfilled them and everything squished out all over the place but I started using less and everything stayed in place. The husband took the picture above since my hands were full of shrimp at this point.


Here is my pile of finished dumplings. I really should have laid them out flat on a baking sheet and covered them with a damp cloth rather than just piling them on top of each other on a plate. They dried out a bit and were sticking to each other. Oops. Lesson learned.


Since I didn’t feel like frying them I baked them in a pan. To get a crispy texture I used canola oil spray on the pan and then on top of the dumplings. It looks like I was trying to lay them in a geometric pattern but I was just trying to cram as many as I could.


I made a dipping sauce with lemon juice, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, green onions and red chillies.


I really wasn’t sure how long I needed to leave my dumplings in the oven so I left them in until they looked golden.


The outside of the dumplings was nice and crispy and the inside was nicely cooked with a good balance between the shrimp and the veggies. The dipping sauce was tangy and hot with the chillies but I think I will still play around with the recipe the next time I make this. I had a ton of leftovers and it was a fun recipe to try. The longest part was just filling them. I think I will make faux wonton soup by adding some of the leftovers to chicken broth with a bit of the dipping sauce and some cilantro.

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