Tuesday, November 13, 2007

OFT No. 7 - Dumpling Party!

That's right, this week we had a food-related OFT, as some of you have been clamoring for. I'm still sad that I didn't get to go to Hotlanta, but instead we got to make dumplings!

First off, you should know that I am a dumpling FIEND. I don't think I've ever met a dumpling I didn't like, and I'm always up for trying more, or eating the same ones over and over again! Favorites include: Din Tai Fung soup dumplings (xiao loong bao), pierogies (with grilled onions and a little bacon - which reminds me, Bacon-of-the-Month #2 should be on its way soon), gnocchi, and the super cheap ubiquitous pork and veggie dumplings we got in China (something like 20 for a dollar!)

Making dumplings is a fun activity for us, because it's easy and of course, at the end you get to eat superyummy pockets of goodness. You can really put whatever you want in them, but we like to follow a recipe we copied out of a Ming Tsai cookbook, Pork and Ginger Potstickers. We don't make the dumpling skins ourselves, because you can easily find wrappers at the market (certainly at Asian markets, and I think maybe even at big supermarkets). It's pretty easy to prepare everything, and then you can get down to the filling and wrapping.

Ok ok, on to the photographic evidence!

All prepped and ready to go. It kind of looks like bibimbap, doesn't it? Let the mixing begin!

Now it looks like a giant meatball. A very very cold, frostbite-inducing giant meatball:

The wrapping station. You want to have a floured surface for your finished dumplings so they don't stick, and eggwash to help seal them:

Pleats may be out when it comes to pants, but they are definitely the way to go for dumplings (I just think it looks nice and professional, but Brian says it helps with the seal). Brian is a master at this - look how beautiful that is! We couldn't find plain wrappers, so we tried these green 'vegetable' ones (I forgot to look at the ingredients, but there was no noticeable difference in taste).

Oh yeah, we also did spring rolls. I love Vietnamese imperial rolls, or cha gio, especially when made with rice wrappers, because they have this lovely crisp-chewiness that is so satisfying. You can see the set up in this picture - the wrappers come in dried sheets that you need to re-hydrate in hot water (the pasta bowl at the top). I didn't take a pic of the package, but these are the same ones I used, if you're interested. Then they're pliable and translucent (you can see one in mid-wrap on the cutting board), and ready to roll! These are the same wrappers that are used for Summer Rolls - if you use ingredients like beansprouts, vermicelli noodles and shrimp that are pre-cooked or don't need to be, you'd be done at this point. Ours, however, were destined for a trip into a shallow pan of hot oil...

My preciousssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss:

And the finished products!

Sooo good, and now we have plenty of dumplings in the freezer for lazy-dinner days. Or, erm, any day, really. YUM.


angi said...

yesssss... michelle, how have we not eaten any dumplings together?? i heart, make that heart^infinity, dumplings too!! is that xlb place you mentioned the one in san gabriel with the amazing crab xlbs? i think my sis took me there when she was still living in LA.

coincidentally, i'm also a fan of that ming tsai recipe -- it's so nice and gingery! you should also try this martha one when you get a chance. i know i know...martha?!?! but i've tested it and they're reeeeally good.

Miche said...

Yeah, Angi, we'll have to have a dumpling party sometime! I think we're talking about the same XLB place, but there are a couple of others in SGV that I didn't try but had heard were good.

Anonymous said...

You kids make mom proud.