30 kinds of wonderful: 12. Dumplings.

OK, so I’m doing this thing where I’m counting down to my 30th birthday with 30 kinds of wonderful. If you need to catch up, just start here.
Now let’s go!

12. Dumplings

Yep. I know what you’re thinking. Those are MARSHMALLOWS. Not dumplings. You’ve lost the plot.

And you’d be right. They are. They are merely there to prove a point. That contrary to what you are about to see below, I am actually quite capable of making, and photographing, food that looks nice. OK? OK.

So, because it’s a Saturday night, and I’m not in an epic kind of mood, I’m doing another smaller, simpler “wonderful” post. Saturdays are excellent dumpling eating nights, as are all nights (or lunches!). Or breakfasts.

And I love love love love dumplings. You know those conversations you have about what your “Death Row” meal would be? (What? You don’t have those conversations???). Well, mine would most definitely contain dumplings, front and centre. To the left would be tomatoes and smoked salmon, and to the right would be some nice ripe cheese and sliced olive sourdough. You may well argue that this is a very strange combination. I would heartily disagree, but would respect your right to an opinion.

While it never appears on this blog, I’m actually an extremely passionate cook. But I am deliberately not a food blogger. Simple reason being, I am SUCH a glutton that I absolutely flat out refuse to photograph my food before I eat it. Why let it sit and congeal when the true joy is in the eating?

You can see what I cook (or plan to cook) on pinterest, if that’s your thing.

But anyway, dumplings. I eat them out. I eat them in. I eat them multiple times a week.

If you’re a Sydneysider, I’d suggest stopping reading right now and heading out to Miss Chu, Chinese Noodle House, Din Tai Fung or Dumpling and Noodle House in Potts Point.

Truth is, though, you can make awesome dumplings in the comfort of your own home, because the bags of frozen dumplings sold in Chinese supermarkets are really excellent and also extremely cheap. The beloved design fascist will attest that of recent times, I have been on a quest for the ultimate “steam fry” technique at home. Steam fry, as you can kind of see in the awful photo below, is a dumpling that has been steamed until the liquid evaporates, and then fries in a small amount of oil. As its own delightful liquid evaporates, you are left with a lacy frill surrounding the dumpling.

These lacy frills look a little singed, but don’t be put off, they are delicious regardless.

What I’ve learned so far is… use a non-stick frying pan with a little vegetable oil rubbed on the bottom. Arrange the dumplings in a pretty(ish) pattern in the pan. Pour in about 5mm of water. Bring to a simmer. Cover for a few minutes. Uncover and let the water evaporate. Let the dumplings fry (gently!) for a minute or two, then (bravely) invert the frying pan onto a plate to reveal your masterpiece/tasty mess.

I like a dipping sauce made from a mixture of black vinegar, soy, sesame oil and “shrimp chilli” paste, but purists may proceed with black vinegar alone.

I hasten to add that the Chinese most certainly do not own exclusive rights to the word “dumpling”. Dumplings from all over the world are just as fine… from pierogis to momos.

Just this evening I made baked ricotta dumplings (Italianish?) to go in green split pea soup. They practically floated out of the oven…

Just once, because I’m feeling generous, I’ll put the recipe up. They were made with 350g ricotta mixed with one egg, 3/4 cup of breadcrumbs, 100g grated parmesan, and 1 grated garlic clove. I made them into golf balls and baked them at 180 degrees centigrade for 20 minutes on oiled baking paper. However as you can see here my baking paper was the cheap variety (grumph) and the little blighters stuck. They were quite delicious though, so I forgave them.

So there you have it. Dumplings, so very deserving of inclusion in my 30 kinds of wonderful list. Bon appetit!

To be continued tomorrow.

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~ by Niccola on January 14, 2012.

One Response to “30 kinds of wonderful: 12. Dumplings.”

  1. […] local dumpling joints can expect to see a whole lot more of me over the next few […]

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