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Old 03-29-2006, 08:07 PM   #1
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Steaming Dumplings?

I hope this question isn't too stupid to be answered!

I love steamed dumplings from Chinese restaurants. So I bought a big bag from a Chinese grocer a few weeks ago. I can't figure out how to steam them without some sort of steamer contraption. There must be some way to do this that I just haven't figured out, using basic kitchen equipment.

Thank you for any suggestions you can offer!

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Old 03-29-2006, 09:13 PM   #2
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ready?? here goes... in a dish pot pan with a cover, place about 1/8 inch water or broth and a few garlic cloves. then place several heavy leaves of cabbage or lettuce and put your dumplings in them to protect them from water immersion...cover and bring to simmer...steam for x minutes, serve!

even if you use a steamer basket, line it with green leaves and the sticky dough won't stick to the pot or pan! works like a charm.
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Old 03-29-2006, 09:16 PM   #3
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Put an inch or so of water in the bottom of a large pot. Put a metal colander or strainer into the pot. Place the dumplings into the strainer in a single layer and bring the pot to a boil, covered, until the dumplings are done.

You can also make a steamer out of tuna cans opened at both ends and disposable pie plates with holes punched in them (also in a large pot).
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Old 03-30-2006, 09:56 AM   #4
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Corinne - I make steamed Chinese dumplings, or dim sum, all the time. Any type of covered steamer basket will work, but do line it, as previously suggested, with lettuce or cabbage leaves to keep the dumplings from sticking. As they steam, the dough becomes very thin & translucent & sticks easily.

If you really enjoy Chinese dumplings - store-bought or homemade - you might want to pick up a bamboo steamer, which is what I use. I bought mine from a Chinese grocer, but I'm sure they're also available online. I paid less than $10 for mine, & what's nice about it is that you can steam several layers of dumplings or other dishes at the same time over a wok filled with about an inch of water. It's really a handy & attractive item to have around.

Edited to add, here's a pic that's like the one I have:

http://www.greenfeet.com/bamboo-steamers-.html
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Old 03-30-2006, 11:06 AM   #5
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You can improvise a steamer out of just about anything. You just need something to hold water that can be heated on the stove and then something to place the food on so that it is not sitting in the water. A pasta pot can hold the water and then like Andy suggested use some tuna cans or something else with a plate on top to put your food. Get some (clean) rocks and put those in and wrap the dumplings in lettuce like Robo suggested. These are just two ways. Now that you know the basic concept you can use your imagination and come up with a million other ways.
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Old 03-30-2006, 01:35 PM   #6
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If you do use one of those improvisations - do keep in mind that you need a SAFE way to remove the plate &/or your dumplings from the pasta pot without getting burned by the steam. This is why I prefer a cheap bamboo steamer basket.
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Old 03-30-2006, 01:46 PM   #7
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corinne, if you have a wok with a dome lid, you can make a steamer out of it.
i forget who mentioned this here, but i've tried it and it works great!

place a little water in the bottom of the wok, then place a few chopsticks sideways in the wok above the water so the form a sort of bridge or support, then carefully place the plate of whatever you want to steam on the chopsticks, and cover. crank up the heat and they'll be steaming in no time.
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Old 03-30-2006, 07:11 PM   #8
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Thank you for all the ideas! I especially like the wok & chopsticks one! The lettuce was a great tip, too! Thanks, guys!!!
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Old 04-03-2006, 09:10 PM   #9
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Bamboo steamers are great I dont have one but got one for my job in Texas for 10 Bucks,Dummy me didn't think to get one for myself and I will never find one where I live.Not a big deal cause I rarely need one.
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Old 04-04-2006, 11:01 AM   #10
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jpmcgrew - you can buy one online for under $15. They're so cheap & so useful, why not treat yourself? A few posts up here I posted a link to a company that sells them, but there are tons more.

I love mine & use it a lot. For the $10 I paid for it, it's repaid that dozens of times over.
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