Chinese dumplings are just one of my favorite things. All kinds.
I mean it is hard to find anyone who doesn’t like them. Children of all ages will eat them and that cannot be said for many things. If you live in a big city, finding Dim Sum is an easy task. If you live in a less cosmopolitan city, good luck finding a steady source of a variety of dumplings. This brings me to my latest cooking challenge, which, fortunately, I have lots of time to take on now that I am MEtired.
I think even the most accomplished cook would admit that Chinese cuisine is not the easiest to master, not only because the best ingredients are not always easy to find in the grocery store, but also because successfully copying the Chinese restaurant techniques without a stove that heats to ungodly high temperatures can be a bit daunting.
This recipe is EASY AS CAN BE. You throw everything in the food processor one step at a time and mix it all together in a bowl. Do not be intimidated by the idea of making dumplings because using my food processor technique and purchased dumpling wrappers make these a cinch. Trust me on this.
Steamed dumplings, in contrast to stir-fried dishes, seem easier to master on the home stove. Which led me to whip up a batch of these shrimp and pork dumplings which can be frozen and steamed anytime. These are great for the summer when you are running around with kids who come home from swimming or camp and just want to eat as quickly as possible. Steam these, make some broccoli or green beans on the grill or in the oven and you are all set. No joke.
Chinese Pork and Shrimp Dumplings
For the filling:
- 1 pound fresh peeled and deveined shrimp
- 1 pound ground pork
- 1 2-3 inch piece fresh ginger peeled
- 1 can whole water chestnuts drained
- 2 bunches scallions both white and green parts cut into fourths
- 12 dried Chinese mushrooms rehydrated in hot water and squeezed dry
- 1 cup fresh cilantro
- 3 tablespoons light soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons Chinese sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon dry sherry
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 72 shiu mai wrappers or wonton wrappers about 2 12 ounce packages
- Boston or Bibb lettuce for lining the steamer basket
- 72 frozen peas
Soy and Vinegar Sauce:
- ¼ cup light soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- Hoisin sauce purchased
For the filling:
- Pulse the shrimp in a food processor until they are chopped, but not pureed. About 6-7 pulses. You want to have recognizable pieces. Remove to a large mixing bowl.
- Add the ground pork to the mixing bowl with the shrimp.
- With the lid on the food processor, and the feed tube open at the top, turn on the food processor and drop the fresh ginger in from the top. This is the best way to chop ginger evenly. With the ginger still in the bowl, open the lid and add the scallions, water chestnuts, mushrooms and cilantro. Pulse about 12 times until everything is just chopped and add the mixture to the shrimp and pork.
- To the mixture in the bowl, with a rubber spatula, stir in the soy sauce,cornstarch, sesame oil, sherry, sugar and salt until well blended. Use a light touch so as not to pack the mixture down.
Assembling the dumplings:
Put a small dish of water on your table. Working with one wrapper at a time, and keeping the remaining wrappers in the package, place one tablespoon of the shrimp and pork mixture in the center of each circle or square. Using a pastry brush or your fingers, dab a bit of water around the edge of the wrapper. Gather the wrapper up and around the filling, squeezing and pleating it with your fingers to bring the wrapper together like a pouch.
Place the dumplings on a large piece of waxed or parchment paper covered lightly with plastic wrap, and repeat with the remaining wrappers and filling until all the dumplings are formed. You can steam the shiu mai immediately or freeze and steam them later. To freeze them, transfer the dumplings, still on the waxed paper to a cookie sheet and place in the freezer, lightly covered with plastic wrap for 2-3 hours. Put the dumplings in plastic ziplock bags and freeze until ready to steam them.
- Set a steamer over a wok with 3 inches of water in the bottom. Line the steamer with lettuceleaves to keep the dumplings from sticking. Cover the steamer and turn the heat to medium-high. When steam begins to escape from the steamer, arrange the fresh or frozen dumplings in the steamer so that they don’t touch. Steam until the pork is cooked through (cut into one to check), about 10 minutes. When done, remove from the steamer and make another batch, if more dumplings are needed.
For the Soy Vinegar Sauce:
- Serve with soy sauce mixed with rice vinegar and sugar with a dish of hoisin sauce on the side.