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Old 01-28-2008, 02:27 PM   #1
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Chinese Water Dumplings (shui jiao)

With Chinese New Year celebration just around the corner, thought I would share my recipe for Chinese water dumplings. My family would always have dumplings on New Year's day (Chinese hot pot on the New Year's eve). This recipe was my grandmother's. IMHO, much better than store bought frozen pot stickers.

Ingredients:
1 package of your favorite dumplings or gyoza wrappers

Filling:
1/2 lb ground pork
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground white pepper, or to taste
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1 scallion (green onion), finely minced
1 egg
1 cup very finely chopped Napa cabbage, squeeze to remove excess water
1 Tbsp rice wine or dry sherry (optional)
2 Tbsp water (for sealing the wrappers)

Dipping Sauce (this can be anything you want):
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1/2 Tbsp vinegar
1 clove garlic, peeled and finely minced (optional)
Asian chili paste (optional)

Instructions:
Just a quick note: I prefer an equal portion of cabbage to meat but my DH likes more meat. You can adjust the amount of cabbage to taste. This recipe should make ~40-50 dumplings, depending on how much meat you put in each wrapper.

If the wrappers are frozen, let them defrost in the refrigerator overnight. This will prevent them from getting all soggy and sticky.

Combine filling ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Place about 1 Tbsp filling in the middle of a wrapper. I use just a tad less. Don't overfill it or else you risk the dumplings bursting when boiling (not a pretty thing).

Dip your finger in the water and trace around the edge of half the wrapper. Fold in half, forming a crescent shape, and press firmly to seal. Repeat for remaining dumplings. If you have trouble sealing the wrapper, you can mix an egg with a teaspoon of water and use that instead of plain water to get a better seal. I use an egg wash for one particular brand of wrappers.

Bring a very large pot filled about 3/4 with water to a boil. Keeping the water at high heat, slowly put in about 10 dumplings into the pot, stirring to make sure the dumplings don't stick to the bottom of the pot. If the water starts to foam over, you can add 1/2 cup of cold water or turn down the heat to med/hi. But make sure the water still has a small roll. After about 4 minutes, the dumplings will start to float up and the peels become translucent with meat sticking to wrapper. Remove the dumplings with a slotted spoon. Repeat until all the dumplings are cooked.

Mix dipping sauce ingredients together. Serve hot with dipping sauce.

Some things to consider:
After removing the dumplings from the pot, I put them on a large plate in single layer because once they start cooling, they have a tendency to stick together, especially those premade wrappers. Also, if you use ground pork, make sure the filling is cooked all the way through. I always make the dumplings with pork because that tastes the best to me (it's what I'm used to). I have tried ground turkey (too dry) and ground beef (not savory enough) but I figure if I'm going to spend all that time making it, I want it to taste good.

The filling can really be anything you want. My mom used to like to switch it up a bit and add dried shrimp or chives, but always with ground pork. Sometimes she might even add rice noodles. You also have the option of steaming or pan frying the dumplings rather than boiling.

You can store them in an air tight container for up to 5 days. There are a couple of options to reheat leftovers. Usually, I will make pot stickers by pan frying them but they can also be microwaved. Don't heat them up too long in the microwave unless you like dry and crunchy wraps. You can also put a damp paper towel over the dumplings when you nuke them to prevent drying. I don't like to reboil them because it makes the wrappers really slick and sticky, water logged, just doesn't taste right. Again, serve hot with dipping sauce.

Hope you enjoy this.

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Old 01-28-2008, 02:38 PM   #2
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YUM!!!!!!!!!

This is my year... Year of the Rat! :)
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Old 01-28-2008, 03:44 PM   #3
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Thanks so much! I love making Dim Sum, Potstickers, etc., etc., & tho I'll be subbing ground chicken or turkey for the pork, I do like the looks of your recipe.
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Old 01-28-2008, 05:34 PM   #4
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Plumies, (or anyone)

I would think that steaming would be more gentle to the dumplings than boiling.

Is the advantage to boiling that you can get more in, and out, more quickly than you could a steamer?

Do you then brown them in a frying pan?

I'm planning a Chinese feast with some friends next month and we'll probably do these.

Thanks!

Lee
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Old 01-28-2008, 05:42 PM   #5
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If I'm doing an assortment, I normally do all 3 - steaming, boiling (which really is simmering), & pan frying.

Makes a nice difference in shape & texture. Steamed dumplings can be shaped upright - either closed or open - with closed or cute open fluted tops. Simmered & pan- fried dumplings - whether semi-circle or triangular in shape - can be differentiated by cooking method as well.

If you're doing an Asian dumpling platter, you can easily end up with several different variations that are very easy to produce from the same basic method/ingredients.
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Old 01-28-2008, 05:57 PM   #6
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If dumplings are going to be steamed, the dough for wrapper is different, portion of hot water is used to prepare dough instead of cold water. With this wrapper, steamed dumpling will have soft skin and not sticky.
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Old 01-28-2008, 05:57 PM   #7
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I have sriracha would that work for asian chili paste? I have been looking for a good dipping sauce for my potstickers and haven't quite hit the right thing.
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Old 01-28-2008, 06:39 PM   #8
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I'm not a personal fan of sriracha, but it works. Asian chili pastes are really a matter of personal preference anyway.
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Old 01-29-2008, 12:46 PM   #9
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GrillingFool, so in following Chinese tradition (superstition is probably more appropriate), have some dumplings for New Year and the upcoming year will be even more prosperous for you!

BreezyCooking, if you try this, let me know how you like it. I use a modified version of the filling for wonton soup. Again, it's homestyled and very simple to make. Sure is good on a cold evening.

QSis, Breezy is right on that you can pretty much do any of the 3 methods for dumplings. It's just what you feel like having. I have found, however, that certain brands of wrappers work better for certain type of cooking. I found that I prefer Chinese brand wrappers for water dumplings because they tend to be thicker and more like homemade ones, and Japanese wrappers for pot stickers because gyozas are usually pan fried. For this recipe, I think you can steam, simmer (at boiling point), or pan fry.

And like Breezy said, once you find a base filling that you like, you can modify it to change it up a bit. My mom would use the same pork filling but instead of green onions, she would use chives and add shrimp. And if you steamed that, you can get something like a dim sum dish.

ChefRuby's mention about using hot water for dumpling peels that are steamed is how I was taught. But I'm waaaay too lazy these days to make my own peels. Maybe if it was for an extra special occassion.

For those who are interested (yes, not only do I like to eat, I'm also long winded), Chinese use the term dumpling as a generic category for a dish where the filling is wrapped in a wrapper. There's also a bun category (in Chinese, it's called bao) where the filling is in a more bread like dough. Wikipedia has a decent write-up on dumplings and there are pictures of steamed and boiled dumplings. Since I haven't posted the minimum required posts, I can't post URLs yet. But if you go to Wikipedia, do a search on jiaozi to see the write-up. You'll be able to see the difference in the peels as ChefRuby described.

Wikipedia also has a write-up on xiao long bao (soup dumplings). Search the term "xiao long bao" to find it. I love these but hate making them!

BTW, QSis, good luck on your Chinese feast! Would love to know what dishes you end up having. Lucky family and friends!
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Old 01-29-2008, 12:49 PM   #10
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Sorry, I forgot to mention that I don't think I've ever had sriracha. But really the dipping sauce can be anything you want. Hot, mild, garlicy, sesame paste baste, etc. I've grown quite fond of the garlicy hot sauce (which I hated as a kid). Goes to show you how tastes change over the years.
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