Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Daring Cook's Challenge: My Childhood Revisited

When I read what the June Challenge was this month, memories flooded my head of when I was a child staying with my grandparents. My grandfather or "goung" made the best, and I mean the best dumplings.
Every size and flavour. I remember he used to make me these special ones. They were about 8 inches long. Inside he stuffed ground pork, cellophane noodles, egg and green onions. He would then pan fry them and serve them to us for lunch or a snack.
I spent the better part of an afternoon hand crafting these and reminising with myself about the days when I would sit and watch my goung do the same.
He has since passed, but it's funny how one single little thing like a dumpling can make think about how much you appreciated those little things that the people you love do for you.

I want to thank Jen for this recipe. I am a huge fan of her blog "Use Real Butter". I had such a great time making this recipe and living my childhood for one afternoon 20 years later.

Shi Shi Jen. Thanks.

Chinese Dumplings/Potstickers

Pork filling:
1 lb (450g) ground pork
3 stalks green onions, minced
1/2 c. chopped chives (Chinese or regular)
1/4 (55g) cup ginger root, minced
3 tbsp (40g) soy sauce
2 tbsp (28g) sesame oil
2 tbsp (16g) corn starch

Dough: (double this for the amount of filling, but easier to make it in 2 batches - or just halve the filling recipe)

2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (113g) warm water
flour for work surface

Dipping sauce:
2 parts soy sauce
1 part vinegar (red wine or black)
a few drops of sesame oil
chili garlic paste (optional)
minced ginger (optional)
minced garlic (optional)
minced green onion (optional)
sugar (optional)

Combine all filling ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix thoroughly (I mix by clean hand). Cover and refrigerate until ready to use (up to a day, but preferably within an hour or two).

Make the dough, Method 1: Place the flour in the work bowl of a food processor with the dough blade. Run the processor and pour the warm water in until incorporated. Pour the contents into a sturdy bowl or onto a work surface and knead until uniform and smooth. The dough should be firm and silky to the touch and not sticky.[Note: it’s better to have a moist dough and have to incorporate more flour than to have a dry and pilling dough and have to incorporate more water).

Knead the dough about twenty strokes then cover with a damp towel for 15 minutes. Take the dough and form a flattened dome. Cut into strips about 1 1/2 to 2 inches wide. Shape the strips into rounded long cylinders. On a floured surface, cut the strips into 3/4 inch pieces. Press palm down on each piece to form a flat circle (you can shape the corners in with your fingers). With a rolling pin, roll out a circular wrapper from each flat disc. Take care not to roll out too thin or the dumplings will break during cooking - about 1/16th inch. Leave the centers slightly thicker than the edges. Place a tablespoon of filling in the center of each wrapper and fold the dough in half, pleating the edges along one side. Keep all unused dough under damp cloth.

To boil: Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add dumplings to pot. Boil the dumplings until they float.


Anonymous said...

Oh wow, your grandfather's dumplings sound like they were complete heaven! Yours look heavenly too! Glad this brought back great childhood memories for you, and it definitely shows in your expertise :)


Thanks so much for your nice comment! It was a ton of fun to make these.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful story; I love how food evokes memory. Your dumplings and their dipping sauce sound so delicious.

Audax said...

Wonderful to recall childhood memories and your dad's dumplings so delish. Your potstickers look super to me and the pleating is nice. I think your dad's skills rubbed off onto you - your a natural. Cheers Audax

Thymes of Change said...

They look great!!! But I would expect nothing less :) Funny how both June challenges are close to your heart this month!

Jen Yu said...

Oh my goodness, that was such a touching post :) I feel the same way about my Po-Po. You made gorgeous dumplings, but more than that - it was just very special to read what it meant to you. Big hugs. xxoo