When I featured Chili Bamboo Shoots in a Foodstuffs post some time ago, I mentioned that I would like to try using them as a dumpling filling. After a couple of other experiments using the stuff I only have a little left in the jar and I need to use it up. There really isn’t enough to use them alone as a dumpling stuffing, so I decided to use some of my homemade Pickled Mustard Greens and ground Pork to round out the volume. Anyway, for this experiment, we will be essentially be doing the Chinese style dumpling known as Jiaozi, or more specifically, 蒸餃子(zhēng jiǎozi), since we will be steaming them…
- 1/3 lb. Ground Pork;
- ½ cup Chili Pickled Bamboo;
- ½ cup Pickled Mustard Greens (homemade or store bought);
- 2 tbsp. Cornstarch;
- 2 tbsp. Rice Wine;
- 1 tbsp. Chili flakes;
- 1 tbsp. minced Garlic.
For the wrapper, we will Basic Dumpling Dough made using 1 cup of flour and hot water (not shown above because I forgot to include it in the picture).
First, mix all the filling ingredients in a bowl, stirring well, in one direction only, until you have a smooth paste. Set this aside in the fridge for at least an hour to allow the flavors to blend.
Pull off a marble size piece of dough from your ball, form it into a ball between the palms of your hands and then roll that out to a 4 inch circle, using extra flour to keep the dough from sticking. You should be able to get 24 dumplings using marble size pieces each time.
Now place about a tablespoon of the dumpling filling in the center of the rolled out dough circle. There are quite a few different ways to form the single-sided pleat shape typical of Jiaozi and one of the easiest ways is as follows:
Grasp one edge and pinch it into a point…
Next, repeat this, folding the first point over the next and then continuing so that you form accordion-like pleats around the circle. As you do, you will see the edges pull up to form a little pocket around the filling.
Continue the pleats anywhere from two-thirds to three-quarters of the way around the circumference. You can actually do anywhere from three to a dozen pleats but, as a general rule, the more you do, the better the final appearance. When you have completed that part, fold the remaining edge up to the pleated side and squeeze the dough together tightly.
Finish closing so that a nice little frill forms across the top and then push in at the bottom and press down to form a small ‘step’. This part is optional, but I find it makes for a prettier appearance.
Anyway, I hope I have explained the process somewhat clearly and not totally confused things but, hopefully, you should end up with something that looks something like the one above. If not, don’t worry too much… the mistakes taste as good as the pretty ones and practice always makes perfect. It used to take me hours to make 24 pretty odd looking things and now I can toss off the same number of fairly passable ones in about twenty minutes now… more if the wife helps!
Finally, once the dumplings are formed, steam them for about 15 minutes or so. I used lightly oiled foil inside my steamers but lettuce leaves work nicely too. When they are done, let them cool for just a few minutes and serve with your favorite dipping sauce.
Well, I won’t give these top marks but they were still very good nonetheless. The bamboo flavor dominated (which I suppose is what I was aiming for) but I was a little disappointed that my pickled mustard greens just sort of faded into the background. A sharper, saltier taste was anticipated and, when I didn’t get it, something felt missing. But, heck…. I can’t complain too much and I still have a dozen left since we only cooked twelve for a light supper. Maybe for lunch tomorrow I will pan-fry them pot-sticker style…