This week we are feasting on dumplings in AnotherFoodBloggers house! Boy, are my wife & I a fan of dumplings!! We used to eat them by the bucket load when living in NYC. What's not to love - soft steamed dumpling wrappers with a crispy base, a simple but so delicious filling and dipping sauce - it's all about the dipping sauce. AND if all that wasn't enough then these delicious pork & prawn dumplings are washed down with the equally impressive 'Austrian Attack' Gruner Veltliner from The Pawn Wine Co in Adelaide. I can tell you 100% that reading on is the smart thing to do 😉
The supermarket is your oyster when it comes to this. This recipe I have used a classic combo of pork & prawns with the addition of spring onions, ginger and sesame oil. But you will find other options like pork & cabbage, beef dumplings, vegetable dumplings, chicken mince dumplings. Any meat that you can mince will work, add some Asian flavours and practice your crimping and you are good to go!
This is probably the scariest part of making dumplings. To be perfectly honest I wouldn't enter Masterchef or apply for a job in a dumpling shop but I've managed to master a basic fold or two. Actually, nowadays you can pick up little handheld dumpling folding machines for next to nothing too so there really isn't any excuse 😉
The key to folding them starts with the amount of filling you use. Start small and work your way up. Initially, a heaped teaspoon is enough to work with but after a while, you can add a little more. Rub a little water around the edge of the dumpling (this helps to bind them together) and get folding. If you want to make it easy for yourself then go with the old fold in a half-moon shape. Literally, just fold the dumpling in 1/2, press the air out gently and press the edges together all around.
If you want to crimp them and add a little pattern then this is how I do it
- Place the dumpling filling in the centre of the dumpling wrapper
- Rub water around the edge of the wrapper
- Fold the dumpling in half, gently pinching it together in the centre.
- Next, crimp/fold one side of the wrapper back towards the centre to make a pleat, repeat this on the other side so you have 2 identical sides
- Finally, make another pleat next to the first ones a little further out towards the edge
- Pinch them closed tightly and repeat
CAN I MAKE PORK & PRAWN DUMPLINGS IN ADVANCE
Yes and No. Real helpful - eh! The thing is you can definitely make the filling in advance, actually allowing the filling and the flavours time to marry together is better than just whipping up the filling and making them. The pork mince and chopped prawns have time to take on the added flavours of sesame, spring onion etc and when making them the mixture becomes easier to work with after a little time chilling in the fridge.
When it comes to physically make the dumplings the last thing you want to do is fold them all and leave them in the fridge. You will be left with hard folds as the air in the fridge will harden them up BUT worse your buns will be soggy 😉 The mixture in the dumplings will lose moisture and make the base of the dumplings soggy. IF, you do want to/need to make the dumplings in advance the best thing to do is lay them all out on a lined baking tray and place them uncovered in the freezer to freeze and then cook them from frozen - more on that later!
There are 3 ways of cooking dumplings. Steamed, boiled or fried.
Quick & simple. Bring a pot of water to the boil, place the dumplings into a cute little steaming basket (or strainer if you don't have a basket) and place the dumplings (with a lid) over the boiling water. Steamed dumplings will take anywhere from 6-10 minutes to cook. If steaming them it's best to line the steaming basket with a little parchment paper or rub the basket in a little oil so they don't stick
Hands down my favourite way to eat my pork & prawn dumplings. This process is pretty simple and quick too. Place a little canola oil in a hot frying pan. On medium heat place the dumplings flat side down in the pan. Leave them undisturbed for 2-3 minutes or until the base is crispy. Add a splash of boiling water and cover with a tight-fitting lid for a further 2-3 minutes.
Probably the most popular way of cooking dumplings but to be honest my least favourite way to eat them. Boiling them is great when adding to soups or brothy type dishes but I find you can lose the shape a little from this method. It's definitely a healthier way to eat them too. When boiling them don't just chuck them into a pot of boiling water and wait. The rapid boil will damage the wrappers and leave you with a bit of a mess. The trick is to add water 3 times. Once the water is at a boil add the dumplings. During the process when the water gets back to the boil you add cold water in and cover with a lid. This prevents a rapid boil which as mentioned will damage the dumplings.
DUMPLING DIPPING SAUCE
It's all about the dipping sauce in my opinion. You can create the best filling, make the sexiest folds and cook them to perfection but without that final dipping sauce to lift everything then it just falls flat. My simple dipping sauce - HEAVY on the simple for these pork & prawn dumplings does just that. Ingredients you can pick up in any grocery store and that have a good shelf life too. Literally, just mix them all together and the job is done. For this recipe, I use Chinese black vinegar, soy sauce, fresh ginger, chopped chilli, a touch of honey and a dash of sesame oil. Mix them all together and it's job done!
I've garnished the dumplings with some spring onions for freshness too. You can simply slice the spring onions and top them but if you wanna make it look pretty and go old skool then slice the spring onions into 3 equal-sized pieces. Then slice them finely lengthways and leave them in ice-cold water for a few mins and watch them curl up #fancy
THE PAWN WINE CO
If there is a better name or backstory to opening a winery then I am yet to come across it. The Pawn Wine Co story started way back in 2002 when they were left with grapes not deemed "good enough". Not wanting to let them go to waste after being treated as Tom says like "pawns of the wine trade". Nowadays there is a HUGE demand, and rightly so for boutique wineries. Wineries that have moved away from the corporate race and that are producing small quantities of excellent wine. I can 100% attest to this is what Tom and his wife Rebecca are doing. What I have tasted to date has always made me scramble to the fridge or cellar to make sure I have a 2nd bottle on hand 😉
Being from Ireland what I loved about The Pawn Wine Co is the variety. Yes, they have the usual suspects of shiraz, savvy B, pinot noir etc but it's the unusual suspects that drew my eye to the winery at first, it reminded me of the choice of grapes you see throughout Europe. Gruner, Sangiovese, Montepulciano, Fiano etc are all grapes that they produce. It allowed me to open my mind and palate and move away from the usuals but at the same time sit back and appreciate really well-made wine. It's no wonder they have received so many accolades and are spoken highly of amongst many wine nerds I know.
One of the best things, aside from the fact they are all-round lovely people making good grape juice is their wine club. You have 4 options to choose from or you can go the "create your own" route too. With so many varietals to choose from you won't get bored anytime soon. The extra 20% off all purchases and frees shipping certainly ain't something to stick your nose up at either!
Can you guess where the wine is coming from to pair with my pork & prawn dumplings?? Yep, it's a delicious Gruner Veltliner from The Pawn Wine Co. I was tasked with finding a food pairing to go with 'The Austrian Attack'. For those of you who don't know about Gruner, it's a grape that originates in Austria. We are seeing more of it come out of the Adelaide area and this, as I said to Tom when I was enjoying it on my recent beach trip, is the best I've tasted outside of Austria.
Gruner is a very food-friendly wine and works wonderfully with a little since to it too. Generally drunk young it is a light-bodied wine that offers notes of white pepper, peach, citrus and a little Turkish delight (but that might just be my crazy palate!). It's a dry wine with good length and balance and in my not so technical wine description "delish" acidity! Coming in at $26 a bottle or $20.80 if you are a member (with free shipping) I can't think of a better wine to have 6 of in the house!
Inspired to make more Asian style dishes after reading about my pork & prawn dumplings then click some of the links below and get cooking 😉
Happy Cooking & Happy Eating Friends!!!
- 22/24 dumpling wrappers
- 350 g pork Mince
- 150 g prawns
- 1 spring onions
- 1 tsp ginger grated
- 1 dash sesame oil
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 6 tbsp black vinegar
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp ginger grated
- 1/2 tsp sesame oil
- 1/2 chilli finely chopped
- 1 tsp honey
- sesame seeds
- 1 spring onion
- Roughly chop the prawns & finely dice the spring onion
- Mix the pork mince, prawns, spring onion, ginger, sesame oil & salt together to combine
Folding The Dumplings
- Place 1 tbsp of mince mixture into the center of the dumpling, using your finger wipe water around the edges of the dumpling
- Fold the dumpling in ½ pinching it gently in the middle
- On each side of the dumpling make two pleats starting close to the middle folding them towards the middle
- Then make another two pleats next to the first two moving out to the edge of the pastry.
- Pinch them all to seal them tightly
- Alternatively, you can do the most simple of folds and just fold them in ½, pinch them closed whilst pushing the air out. These aren’t as aesthetically pleasing but they are quick and simple to do
Cooking The Dumplings
- In a non-stick frying pan add 1 tbsp of canola oil on medium heat
- Place the dumplings (I usually do 5-7 per pan so I don’t crowd the pan) flat side down into the oil and cook for approx. 2 minutes or until the base is golden brown
- Add a couple tbsp of boiling water and cover with a lid. Continue to steam for 2 more minutes, remove the lid and allow to cook until the water has evaporated *see tips*
- Mix all the ingredients together and set aside
- If you want to be fancy you can make spring onion “ribbons” or you can just dice the spring onions finely
- If making ribbons then slice the spring onion in 3 pieces lengthways and then finely slice the pieces lengthways and place them in ice cold water for about 5 mins
- chopping board
- chef knives
- mixing bowl x 2
- bowl of water
- frying pan with lid
- measuring utensils
- the folding of dumplings may seem very daunting so for sake of ease while you practice and learn the simple “fold in half” option is the quickest and easiest.
- make sure you seal them tightly and also push out the air inside them too
- the pan will spit and pop a little when you place the water in so make sure you put the lid on immediately
- dumplings aren’t really something that can be made in advance as the pastry will get soggy in the fridge. Either prep the filling in advance and fold to order (time-consuming) or freeze them once folded. Cook them direct from the freezer – just expect them to take 2-3 minutes longer to cook