Beef and Sea Cucumber Dumplings
After making a dish using Sea Cucumber, I had a little under half of one left and I thought it might make an interesting textural component in a dumpling filling. I decided to use ground beef as the main ingredient and that I would cook the dumplings as Guōtiē (鍋貼), more popularly known as ‘Pot Stickers’ …
- 1 recipe Basic Wheat Flour Dumpling Dough (made with 1 cup flour);
- 1 cup ground beef (regular not lean);
- ¼ cup chopped Sea Cucumber, soaked and prepared as here;
- 2 Scallions, finely chopped;
- ½ tsp. each Salt and White Pepper;
- 1 tsp. Sugar;
- 2 tbsp. Oyster Sauce;
Mix the beef together with all the other ingredients (except the dough, obviously), and let it sit for an hour or so in the refrigerator before using. Make sure you mix it very well by stirring repeatedly in one direction until the meat is very sticky and all the other ingredients are incorporated.
I made 16 dumplings using all the dough and filling. This is about right for the intended thickness of the wrapper and the final size of each dumpling. On this occasion, I have chosen a type of wrapper fold that would more usually be employed for steamed or boiled dumplings rather than the pot-sticker variety but it looks pretty, I think. If you want to do this fold yourself, you can follow the more detailed instructions here.
When you are ready, heat a good 4 or 5 tablespoons of oil in a pan over low-medium heat and place as many dumplings as will fit. Let them sizzle gently until the bottoms begin to crisp slightly.
Add about a half-cup of water or so to the pan and then cover. If you have a very tight fitting lid and can see no steam escaping, then tilt the lid slightly to allow for a small gap. Let the pan steam and bubble until the water is all absorbed or evaporated (somewhere between 5 to 10 minutes at the most).
All being well, the upper sides of your dumplings will now be completely steamed to completion. If not, you can add a little more water and repeat the previous step. Let them continue to sizzle away for a minute or two longer until the undersides are good and crisply browned then serve with a dipping sauce of your choice.
I served my dumplings with a sauce made from Soy, sugar, chili paste and rice vinegar. For presentation/photography purposes, I drizzled just a little of the sauce over each dumpling but I served the ones I ate in a dish with all the sauce poured over. A separate dipping bowl might be more elegant if you have guests, though…
The result here was very good generally but I did have one disappointment… I was rather afraid that the texture of the sea cucumber might be a bit too obtrusive if the pieces were too large so I chopped it quite finely (no piece being larger than about half the size of a grain of rice). Unfortunately, I was a bit too cautious and a more coarse result would have been better. It was still a nice meal nonetheless.