PART III: The Recipe, The Filling, The Eating
By Kim Cody
As described in Part II of my Dumpling Chronicles, I have compiled here the recipe for the dough prepared for these Vintage Teapot delights. It is based on 3 basic things: flour, oil, water. The recipe we were given is by no means exact. I got the sense that so much of this cooking is by feeling. Here is the basic composition:
Ingredients for the Dough:
- 500g plain flour (makes approx. 35-40 dumplings)
- 20 “drops” vegetable oil (when pushed, they acquiesced that this amount to about 4-5 tsp)
- Boiling Water- no exact amount given, but add to your dough as you mix, starting with a well in the centre. The dough should be relatively firm, but moist enough to roll without splitting. I’d put boiling water into a pint jug, and add ~150 ml at a time until you can mix to firm-set consistency
Method for Preparation:
- In a bowl, combine the flour with boiling water, and oil. No exact amount of water was given, but add to your dough as you mix, starting with a well in the centre. The dough should be relatively firm, but moist enough to roll without splitting. I’d put boiling water into a pint jug, and add ~150 ml at a time until you can mix to firm-set consistency
- Once your dough is mixed and homogenous, form into a rectangular shape and leave to set for about 10 minutes, or until cool. Cover with a damp tea towel to keep it moist
- Cut a section of your dough with a knife and roll into a fat, sausage-like tube. By my estimation, it should be about ½ the width, or so, of a cucumber.
- Chop the dough-sausage into sections about the size of gnocchi. Each section should be the same size
- Flatten the dough-lumps with your palm to form a crude disc. Roll each disc into a thin dumpling wrapper. To do this, take a small, thin, rolling pin in one hand, and turn the dough with the other until you have a disc about 6 cm across that is slightly thicker in the middle and thin at the edges.
- Repeat until all the dough you want is used. Presumably, you can freeze or refrigerate any unused dough.
At the event at The Vintage Teapot, we used a pre-prepared filling of pork belly, seasoned and cooked with bamboo shoots and spring onions. Again, this recipe holds more of feeling and personal taste.
I was intrigued at what now seems obvious: it’s better to use a whole piece of pork belly and mince it yourself than what I have in the past used- minced pork meat. It gave a whole new depth of flavour. Here is the advice on the recipe given to us verbally during the demo:
Ingredients for Pork Belly Dumpling Filling:
Note: all measurements to taste, based on quantity of pork. I make this filling at home and it made about 25-30 dumplings.
- Pork Belly meat
- Bamboo shoots (available boiled/cooked and preserved in brine in Asian supermarkets)
- Spring onions
- Vegetable oil
- Sesame oil
- Light AND Dark soy sauce
- Chinese/Szechaun black pepper
- White pepper
- Chinese cooking wine
- Some vegetable stock or meat stock
Method for Pork Belly Filling:
- Boil the pork belly in water until cooked. When cool enough, remove the skin. Chop the pork finely/mince the pork until it’s at a fine enough consistency to be held together in a dumpling wrapper.
- Dice the bamboo shoots and fry in a pan with a little vegetable oil. Bring them to cook, but only about 60% of the way to “fully cooked”. At the 60% mark, mix these with the pork mince.
- Add the Chinese pepper while it is still warm (n.b.)
- Add this mince mixture back to the pan, and stir-fry in a little more vegetable oil. You can add a touch of white pepper at this point to release more of flavour in the dish.
- Add Chinese cooking wine to the pan, and let it sizzle and evaporate
- Add a dash of both light and dark soy sauce- one to give colour, the other to add more flavour. According to our knowledgeable hosts at the event, the light soy sauce gives the taste, and the dark provides a nice, caramel colour.
- Continue to stir-fry and add a small amount of chicken or vegetable stock to keep it moist, but not wet.
- At this point, add the finely diced spring onions to the mix- they are too delicate to fry during heated part. Keep their relatively fresh feeling by adding to the hot mix once you’ve taken the pan off the heat.
Once this mixture has cooled, you can use it to fill up your dumplings, using the clandestine method described above. There are plenty of YouTube tutorials in that arena, so I won’t attempt further instruction.
There are many variants you can use in this to give it a different flavour- you can try adding mined fresh ginger to the stir fry, or some minced garlic. Why not both, if you ask me? You can also add some minced prawn meat, which sounds incredible, to be perfectly honest.
I leave the variation up to you.
Tried this at home? I want to see your pictures! Send them in and you might get featured in the next article. I love the hands-on types…