Beef and Sea Cucumber Dumplings

Beef and Sea Cucumber Dumplings

This little Dim Sum dish consists of Dumplings formed using an easy to master Mermaid’s Purse fold, and are cooked Pot-sticker style, so they are crispy on the bottom and tender at the top. The Sea Cucumber it uses takes a little bit of time to prepare, but, while you could replace the ground beef in the filling with Pork, or some other meat, the Sea Cucumber adds a unique texture to these dumplings which cannot be replaced.

Ingredient Notes

Reconstituted Sea Cumber
Reconstituted Sea Cumber

If you are you are unsure about how to prepare Sea Cucumber, you may follow the steps in my Introduction to Dried Sea Cucumber.  You won’t need as much the one shown above, just chop enough to make a quarter cup or so.

The dough for the wrapper is just a Basic Dumpling Wrapper Dough made with one cup of water. I would recommend using hot water to make it.

The Method

The filling mixture for Beef and Sea Cucumber Dumplings
The filling mixture for Beef and Sea Cucumber Dumplings

First ix the beef together with all the other ingredients (except the dough and extra flour, obviously), and let it sit to chill well 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.

A dumpling formed with the ‘Mermaid’s Purse’ Fold
A dumpling formed with the ‘Mermaid’s Purse’ Fold

Here is an example of the style of dumpling you will be aiming for. I call this the ‘Mermaid’s Purse’ style and it is really very easy. As we are making 16 dumplings in all, it helps if you divide your dough and filling into sixteen equal portions. Each portion of dough needs to be rolled into a circle about 4 inches (10 cm) across

A Dumpling wrapper with filling ready for folding.
A Dumpling wrapper with filling ready for folding.

To begin, place a portion of filling in the center of each dumpling round.

The first step for folding a Mermaid’s Purse Dumpling
The first step for folding a Mermaid’s Purse Dumpling

Now, gather up two opposite sides and pinch together at the top.

The second step for folding a Mermaid’s Purse Dumpling
The second step for folding a Mermaid’s Purse Dumpling

Bring one end up so the center meets the pinched together center of the first two sides and then crimp along the seams where the end and the two sides meet.

Closing a Mermaid’s Purse Dumpling
Closing a Mermaid’s Purse Dumpling

Finally, bring in the remaining end, and repeat the previous step to close the Mermaid’s Purse.

Steaming Dumplings after searing the bottom Pot-sticker style
Steaming Dumplings after searing the bottom Pot-sticker style

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).

Finishing Beef and Sea Cucumber Dumplings
Finishing Beef and Sea Cucumber Dumplings

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 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…

Your Recipe Card:

Beef and Sea Cucumber Dumplings

These Beef and Sea Cucumber Dumplings use a Mermaid’s Purse fold, are filled with Ground Beef and Sea Cucumber, then cooked Pot-sticker style.
Course: Appetizer, Dim Sum
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: Oyster Sauce, Scallion, Ground Beef, Dried Sea Cucumber, Wheat Flour Dough
Author: John Thompson

Ingredients

  • 1 recipe Basic Dumpling Wrapper Dough made with 1 cup flour;
  • 1 cup ground beef regular not lean;
  • ¼ cup chopped reconstituted Dried Sea Cucumber
  • 2 Scallions finely chopped;
  • ½ tsp. each Salt and White Pepper;
  • 1 tsp. Sugar;
  • 2 tbsp. Oyster Sauce;
  • Extra Flour for rolling;

Instructions

  • Mix the filling ingredients together (everything but the dough and extra Flour), stir well until smooth and sticky, the chill for at least twenty minutes.
  • Roll out 16 dumpling rounds from the dough, top each with one sixteenth of the filling mixture and fold as desired.
  • Fry the dumplings in liberal oil at low-medium heat until the bottoms are golden and crispy.
  • Add one-half cup of water to the pan, cover almost tight, and cook for 5 to 10 minutes until the water is largely evaporated and the top of the dumplings are tender.
  • Serve hot with a dipping sauce of choice.

Comments, questions or suggestions most welcome!