I eat at Korean restaurants about once or maybe twice a year. I have rarely had dumplings during a Korean meal and, quite honestly, don’t particularly associate dumplings with Koran cuisine at all; Mostly, I think, because they most often appear on the menu under the name ‘pot-stickers’ or the Japanese name ‘Gyoza’. A lot of Korean restaurants will include Chinese, Japanese, or Thai items on the menu, and the dumplings I have seen in these places are generally the fried ‘Guo Tie’ or ‘Wor Tip’ variety that are commonly called pot-stickers, and it is never suggested that they are a Korean ‘thing’ at all…
At Alirang, a tiny, but excellent Korean restaurant in downtown Ottawa, they had dumplings described on the menu as ‘Mandoo’ (Korean Dumplings) … I have seen the name Mandoo in cookery books before, or in its more common variant ‘Mandu’, and the Wikipedia entry for the term suggests that the word refers to a wide variety of native Korean dumplings. In truth, I don’t think this is the case as the word clearly descends from the same root as ‘Manti’ (central Asian dumplings) and ‘Mantou’ (Chinese steamed buns) … In the inset in the above picture, I have shown the menu entry, which includes Chinese characters for the name. These solve the issue a little as they translate as ‘Korean style fried dumplings’ and suggest more a Korean twist on a standard Chinese classic rather than a purely Korean delicacy.
Anyway, whatever the origin, these were pretty decent , except that the wrapper dough was a bit thick for this type of dumpling and would be more appropriate for boiled or even steamed. The Chinese characters specify ‘jiānjiǎo’ which actually means ‘pan-fried’, but these ones were clearly deep-fried and quite oily, although I don’t mean this as a criticism as these were, as I say, pretty darned decent. The filling was ground pork and cabbage that didn’t seem to be seasoned with anything except a little salt, but the simplicity of this worked very well and the overall effect was very flavorful. They may not be truly a traditional Korean delicacy … but who cares 😊
These little dumpling preparations are ‘Fun Gor’ (or fěnguǒ in Mandarin) as is indicated by the last two characters in the Chinese name. This type of dumpling is characterized by the semi-translucent wrapper that is made using a combination of starches like cornstarch, or tapioca starch, and non-glutinous Wheat flour. The English name on the menu just calls them ‘mushroom dumplings’, but the first character does not translate as ‘mushroom’ but rather, in this context, as ‘vegetarian’.
One of the classic Fun Gor is the Teochew Fun Gor, which contains ground pork and peanuts. These, however, appear to have been called ‘vegetarian’ as the filling rather mimics the Teochow variety by replacing the ground pork with mushrooms, chopped to leave a texture like ground meat, plus water chestnut in place of peanuts. There was also some celery in the mix along with, I am fairly sure, just a little bit of cilantro.
The size of the dumplings could have been a little smaller as these were a little unwieldy with chopsticks, but the taste and texture were excellent. I am still not very proficient at making the dough for this type of dumpling (as opposed to the basic wheat flour type), but I should very much like to give these a try at home…
I had these dumplings at Urban China in the City of Edmonton some while ago. The English name given on the menu describes the content well enough but the Chinese Character name more particularly identifies them as a specialty of the Cantonese town of Chaozhou commonly known as ‘Fun Gor’. You should be aware, though, that the town and the dumplings both have a host of different spellings and can appear together on a menu (to list just a few possibilities) as:
- Teochew Fun Gor;
- Chiu Chow Dumpling; or,
- Chaozhou Fen Guo
This type of dumpling has a starch based wrapper that is translucent when steamed. It is typically made with wheat or tapioca starch (or a combination thereof) and flour is sometimes added, with rice flour being the most common. Pork and peanuts are invariable components of the filling but shrimp, both dried and fresh, are often included, as are white radish, black mushrooms, and cilantro.
The version you see pictured above has the standard starch-based wrapper and is of a fairly common shape (although you can often find them formed as a flat, half-moon, with the pleat on the side). These ones were quite large and a little unwieldy when trying to manipulate them with chopsticks, but they held together well and didn’t fall apart. The pork presence in the filling was a bit bland, while the coarsely chopped peanuts added some texture but little taste. Most of the flavor actually came from dried black mushroom, with a little cilantro in the back ground. The dumplings were not bad, overall, but definitely not the best ‘fun gor’ I have ever had…
By the way (and for those interested), the first two characters in the Chinese menu name indicate Chaozhou (or Chiu Chow, etc.) while the middle character (pronounced zhēng, in Mandarin) means ‘steamed’. The last two characters identify the dumpling type and yield the ‘Fun Gor’ pronunciation but they are actually non-standard deviations from the typical menu listing . Usually, the characters 粉果 are used for this sort of dumpling (and the pronunciation is the same) but, here, the restaurant has employed 粉粿, instead. This makes a bit of linguistic sense in that the final character translates as ‘cooked rice for making cake’, but. In usual renditions, the standard character (果) means fruit. Anyone have any information on this point?
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I ordered this particular dim sum offering. The final character in the Chinese menu name (角) usually indicates a dumpling made with rice flour and wheat starch but these had a wrapper that was more like those used for won tons and they also had the shape of dumplings generally identified using the 餃 character.
At first, I misread the first two characters in the Chinese name as being ‘Celery’, and it wasn’t until after I placed the order that I recognized them as meaning ‘Cilantro’, which I heartily dislike. Fortunately, there was no hint of that herb (or celery either, for that matter) either visibly or in the taste.
The filling was very nice and tasty but it was little drier and less tender than I expected. I doubt the restaurant would be as fraudulent as to substitute shrimp when lobster was clearly specified, but they must have used a western variety of lobster as it clearly was not the succulent east-coast sort. To my surprise, this dim sum was served with a little dish of mayo on the side. This really didn’t appeal to me, actually, and I just used a little soy sauce which went well. The wrapper was nicely crunchy and the overall experience was quite good.
By the way, for those who are interested, the second to last character when standing alone means ‘shrimp’ but the preceding letter means dragon and, in Chinese, a ‘Dragon Shrimp’ (pronounced lóngxiā, in Mandarin) is a lobster…
I very much enjoy making my own dumplings but when I saw these commercially prepared frozen Potstickers in my local supermarket, I was curious to see what they might be like. This particular variety is produced by a company I have not heard of before called InnovAsian Cuisine and a visit to their website reveals that they do quite a number of similar Asian snacks and entrees. I don’t expect to be buying many of these on a regular basis, to be honest, but the Pork Potstickers definitely seemed worth a try… Continue reading “Foodstuff: Pork Potstickers – InnovAsian Brand™”
I have a done a couple of lamb dumpling posts since I began my blog, notably Boiled Lamb Dumplings and Xian Market Dumplings with Lamb. Since I was planning to make steamed dumplings using some cooked lamb I had leftover in the fridge, I thought I would share the recipe with you as it illustrates not only a different filling mixture from my previous posts, but also another cooking and folding method for the dough… Continue reading “Steamed Ginger Lamb Dumplings”
I have published quite a number of posts featuring the Chinese dumplings commonly known as ‘Jiaozi’, all of which are comprised of fillings of one sort or another wrapped in a dough made simply of flour and water. The similar sounding ‘Baozi’, on the other hand, are formed with a leavened dough and are more ‘bun-like’ generally, although the steamed variety (as opposed to baked), are very like steamed or boiled jiaozi except in the texture of the skin.
I wanted to try using some of my Tienjin Pickled Vegetable in some sort of ‘bao’ after having used it with some pleasing results in jiaozi and I discovered, while doing a little research, that Tientsin is actually famous as the birthplace of a particular class of bao known as ‘Goubuli baozi’ (狗不理). The name has an interesting origin, which you can read at in more depth if you follow the preceding link, but it is commonly translated as ‘Dogs-will-ignore Dumplings’, and typically contains pork. For this experiment, I am not actually trying to reproduce any of the many varieties that exist (chiefly as I have never eaten them anywhere), and so I am simply calling this experiment ‘Tienjin Baozi’… Continue reading “Tienjin Baozi”
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… Continue reading “Pickled Bamboo Dumplings”
Dim Sum aficionados will certainly be familiar with the dumplings most commonly known by their Cantonese name ‘Shu Mai’. They also appear on menus as shui mai, shu mai, sui mai, shui mei, siu mai, shao mai, siew mai, or siomai, but in Mandarin they are simply known as shāomài, and their name in Chinese (燒賣), simply means ‘cook and sell’.
As dumplings go, these are amongst the most easily formed, simply being a basic open ended pouch containing a filling. There are plenty of regional variations, but the Cantonese versions are generally based on pork and shrimp. Other additions, can include mushroom, scallion, ginger, and even chopped scallops. Some are quite large, being more than a mouthful, but I like mine on the smallish side… Continue reading “Shu Mai with Pork and Shrimp”
Samosas, for those unfamiliar with them, are Indian snacks consisting of a deep-fried stuffed dumpling that are now popular around the world. In India, there are a variety of regional names and different forms: They can be bite-size tiny, or things the size of a small baby’s head, they can be folded in triangles or half-moons, and can contain all sorts of fillings such as spiced meat, potatoes or other vegetables. Some even contain sweet fillings apparently, although I have not encountered these myself as yet.
Meat-stuffed Samosas usually contain beef, lamb or chicken, but I am going to use pork for this version as it will allow me to use some of the pulled-pork I had left over from my recent Sunday Gravy experiment… Continue reading “Samosas with Pork”