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.
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.
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.
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
To begin, place a portion of filling in the center of each dumpling round.
Now, gather up two opposite sides and pinch together at the top.
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.
Finally, bring in the remaining end, and repeat the previous step to close the Mermaid’s Purse.
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 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…
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Beef and Sea Cucumber Dumplings
- 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;
- 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.