For Laura, a Chinese Dumpling Tutorial.
For Jiaozi or Guotie:--->recipe and tutorial follows...
5 cups flour type 55
1 - 1 1/4 cups water (ratio 5:1), you can halve this.
500 grams (a pound) of greens, cabbage, chard, chinese cabbage, etc.
500 grams ground pork, at least 1/3 of which should be nice and fatty
100 grams pork lard or duck fat
a bunch of spring onions or chives, use garlic chives judiciously
a piece of fresh smooth skinned ginger the size of your thumb
3 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons Chinese black vinegar
optional: Chinese tree ear mushroom, shrimp, shredded carrots, other things you have aroundThe first thing you want to do is to make your dough, which should be done with type 55 flour and water. I use the moulinex to make my dough but have done it by hand. This will take you about 20 minutes of hard kneading so I suggest you gather up Kim, Julia, Alison, Tom, Simon, and anyone else you can get all into your little 12 square meters and begin lining them up to knead for a few minutes each. The dough will be difficult to knead at first and then at a certain moment, the strings of proteins in the flour will break. You will feel that the texture suddenly goes soft and easy to knead. When it does that, you know it is done. (Don't try this with Simon's hand mouli thingie, it is not the right type of blender and will burn out the machine if you try.) Once you have the dough, put it in the fridge and let it rest while you make the stuffing.
Chop up your greens. These can be chard, chinese cabbage, regular cabbage, spinach, collards, broccoli rabe, anything fresh. If you use spinach you don't have to parboil much. Heat up a large pot of water.
If you are using tree ear mushrooms, set them in hot water to hydrate. These mushrooms are also called black cloud mushrooms and are found at the chinese shops. They add texture and color to your jiaozi but are not absolutely necessary.
If you decide to make them fancy with shrimp, chop up your shrimp and mince your ginger. This can go straight into the bowl with the ground pork.
Shrimp is not something we always put into our jiaozi. In fact the only main things you need for good jiaozi is some nice fatty pork and greens. Once the water boils, parboil your greens. This is done by putting the chopped greens into rapidly boiling water all at once, and when it comes to a boil again, quickly turn it into a collander or chinois which has been lined with a clean rinsed dishcloth, and run cold water over it to cool it down completely. Once that is done, you'll want to twist the towel around and around and squeeze as hard as you can to remove as much liquid as you can from them. Add it to the bowl with the pork and the shrimp.Bu this time, your mushrooms should be hydrated.
Chop them up and add them to the bowl, along with your seasonings: spring onions or garlic chives if in season, ginger, salt, soy, sugar, sesame oil, and chinese black vinegar. Mix that up with your hands really well. That's your stuffing. Now for the dumpling making: Cut your ball of dough into 4 pieces with the knife. Keep them under a damp towel in their bowl to stop them from drying out while you work. Roll the quarter piece into a snake about 1cm thick, and cut the snake in half lengthwise, then half of that and half of that all along, ending up with 16 small pieces the size of good sized gnocci. Roll each one out into a flat circle by spinning it along as you give it two or three good rolls. This way your dumpling will be rolled thinner round the edges. It is good to have a nice thick jiaozi skin in the middle, especially if you are going to make guotie with them, which are these very same dumplings which are cooked by frying instead of boiling. Folding dumplings is just something you have to learn by doing. Many people just fold them in half. The more you make these dumplings, the more you'll fall into your own personal style. The person who taught me to fold dumplings was my Chinese housekeeper, the one who saved my life when I was living in Beijing. Over the years, Ive made dumplings with lots of Chinese people and each person has had his or her own style, learned from their family. In Shanghai, they like to make them small, to delicately pop into your mouth. In Beijing, the style is a bigger dumpling that comes to the table freshly boiled in big steaming heaps in the middle of winter. in Hong Kong, where they fry them and often steam them instead of boiling, there again you have a different style. The most important thing is to make sure that the stuffing is well sealed in the middle of the dumpling, so that water doesn't leak into them and dilute the flavor. When you make your own dumpling skins, you don't have to wet the edge of the skin to seal it, because it already contains enough moisture and broken glutens to bind together, The skins you work with when they are homemade are more flexible and easier to make into the "purse" shape, sitting upright. At this point you can freeze them if you want. Note that the fried dumplings do much better when you have some frozen already, since they don't overcook in the middle all the time when the bottom is browning. To cook by boiling, which is my favorite way because that's what we used to eat in Beijing, you add the dumplings to simmering water, and let them simmer until they float to the top. If the dumplings are frozen and you want to boil them, bring the water to a boil, and then cook it down with a small bowl of cold water twice, bringing the dumplings to boil twice. If you cook these dumplings too long, they will not taste as good - don't overboil them. Serve them with nice cold Chinese beer, Tsingdao or the likes. For the dipping sauce, in each dipping bowl put 2 Tablespoons Chinese black vinegar, 1 Tablespoon soy sauce, 2 drops of sesame oil, and a 1/4 teaspoon finely minced raw garlic.
I hope you like them!
Labels: Spring 06