'Zhong' Crescent Dumplings
Today, I thought I’d surprise my kids by making them these Sichuanese style dumplings. I know they really fancy having dumplings for dinner. You will be pleased to know that these dumplings are so easy to make. Needs only a few key ingredients i.e. ground pork, ginger, Chinese cooking wine, and of course the dumpling wrappers. Kids loved it, they were just yummy! So, have fun making them and enjoy!
Recipe adapted from Sichuan Cookery by Fuchsia Dunlop
'Zhong' Crescent Dumplings
60-80 Circular Flour-And-Water Dumpling Wrappers (about 4 x 200g packets)
A 60g Piece of Fresh Ginger, unpeeled
1 Tbsp Shaoxing Wine
3/4 tsp Sea Salt
6-8 turns of a Black Pepper Mill
450g Minced Pork
For the dip
3 Tbsp Sweet, aromatic soy sauce or 3 Tbsp Light Soy Sauce and 2 tsp Sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp Chili Oil
1 tsp Sesame Oil
2 Cloves of Garlic, crushed and mixed with 1 - 2 tsp cold water
Smash the ginger with the flat side of a cleaver blade or a heavy object and leave to soak for a few minutes in 200ml of cold water.
Mix the egg, wine and salt and pepper into the pork, and then gradually add the ginger-water (discarding the crushed pieces), so it is absorbed by the meat to form a fragrant, floppy paste. Mix the dipping ingredients in a little bowl - always add the garlic at the last minute to make the most of its strong, fresh fragrance.
Place a dumpling skin flat on your hand, and add a good tsp of filling. Fold one side of the skin over the meat, make one or two tucks in it, and then press it tightly to meet the other side and make a little, half-moon-shaped dumpling. You can seal the dumpling with a series of little pinches if you wish. Make sure you pinch the skins together tightly so the filling can't ooze out. Lay the dumplings separately, on a lightly floured tray, plate or work surface.
Heat a generous pan-full of water to a vigorous boil over a high flame. Stir the water briskly, and throw in a couple of handfuls of dumplings. Stir once to prevent them from sticking to the bottom of the pan. When the water has returned to the boil, throw in coffee-cupful of cold water. Allow the water to return to the boil again, and throw in another coffee-cupful of cold water. When the water has returned to the boil for the third time, the dumpling skins will be glossy and puckered and the meat should have cooked through - cut one dumpling in half to make sure. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon, drain well, and serve steaming hot with the spicy, aromatic dip. (NB: The cold water is added to prevent the water from boiling too vigorously and tearing the dumplings apart.)
*Sweet aromatic Soy Sauce
100 ml Dark Soy Sauce
6 Tbsp Brown Sugar
1/3 of a Cinnamon Stick or a piece of Cassia Bark
1/2 tsp Fennel Seeds
1/2 a Star Anise
1/2 tsp Sichuan Pepper
a small piece of fresh Ginger, unpeeled, crushed
Place all the ingredients in a pan and bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Then turn the heat right down and simmer for about 20 minutes. You can bind the spices in muslin, or just put them into the liquid and strain it through a tea-strainer after simmering. Leave to cool.