Saturday, May 02, 2009

Dumplings on a rainy Saturday

We couldn't really go outdoors to do anything, since it was rainy and stormy out. Tornado warnings and stuff all around us, although nothing right here this time.

So to occupy ourselves, Isaac and I made steamed dumplings for lunch.

For starters, about a pound of ground meat. I had beef on hand, so that's what we used, but ground pork is also quite nice in it.

Next, we minced an entire garlic bulb. Don't judge. We like our garlic around these here parts.

Isaac had to pass along the garlic pressing duty to Mom, not possessing the strength to press it himself. He did try, however.

I put in a nice big wad of pickled ginger strips. A little later I decided to add even more. We weren't disappointed by this decision at all. I minced up the first strips, but then added the others as they were.

Normally we add chopped cilantro here, but my kids aren't fond of cilantro (YET... I'm giving them time). I really wanted there to be some green in the mixture, so I took a whole bunch of fresh spinach and did what Emeril calls a "chiffonade" on it, meaning I rolled it up tight and sliced the leaves into little strips. It ended up being absolutely perfect.

Then I cooked a cup of rice in the microwave rice-cooker and added freeze-dried ginger powder and rice vinegar to the rice before cooking it. After it was done, I added the rice to the filling mixture. It ended up being a perfect complement to the other filling ingredients... gave the fat in the meat a place to collect and soak in without making the wonton skins turn into slop during the steaming process.

I also added a blurp of sesame oil and another blurp of hemp oil. You can use whatever oil you like or none at all; 'tis up to you. Then I used my hand to mix it all together.

This is about how much filling you use per wonton skin, unless the skins you're able to purchase are round or larger than mine. I kind-of prefer the look of the round ones, but they weren't available at my grocery store this time.

I lined the bamboo steamer trays with parchment paper. It's not a requirement, but it helps when it comes time to remove the steamed dumplings without tearing them up.

We made ours into little "envelopes" but as long as you seal the edges with water and press them together, it doesn't really matter what shape you make them into.

And when each batch gets done, the vultures descend and pounce upon them and eat them with abandon. I'm pretty sure Alice ate about twenty of them.

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