In Cantonese culture, we often boil our dumplings and serve them in clear broth with one of two kinds of rice vermicelli, ho fan(河粉) or mai fan(米粉). You can also steam them, pan fry them, or even deep fry them, though we don’t generally deep fry dumplings, as the contents are usually very fresh and delicate. I think they’re a lot more enjoyable when we boil or steam them, because you can taste the fresh ingredients inside the dumplings.
Fillings: You can put whatever you want in dumplings. They can be vegetarian; vegetables and meat; or vegetables, meat, and seafood (as in this recipe). It’s also very common to have all three ingredients, as they combine to give you a really nice texture. You may even find black truffles or caviar fillings during special seasons! But I am still loyal to my traditional pork and mushroom fillings.
Wrappers: Honestly, I have never made my own wrappers, since there were great quality wrappers that I could buy at local noodle shops in Hong Kong. Now that I have moved to Moscow, I either bring back a big batch of wrappers when I visit home and freeze them until I need them, or I use wrappers that I buy here in Russia or in Sweden.
Happy Bellyoffers all sorts of frozen wrappers that are perfect to stock up on and defrost whenever you need them. If I can’t go to an Asian specialty shop, I just get a local brand, Testov (тестов), which offers traditional pelmeni wrappers. These require a bit of work, as they are rather thick for Cantonese-style dumplings. I use a rolling pin to thin the wrappers before I fill them. Their consistency is excellent to work with, and the results are great. I highly recommend that you save yourself the work of making your own wrappers and just focus on good quality ingredients for the fillings.
Happy Belly which offers all sort of frozen wrappers, great options and perfect to stock up and defrost them whenever you need them. If I didn’t manage to go to Asia specialty shop, I just get a local brand Testov (тестов) for their traditional pelmeni wrappers. But you will need a bit of work on these wrappers as they are rather thick for Cantonese style dumplings. So what I do is that I use a rolling pin to thinner the wrappers before I fill them. The consistancy of the wrappers are excellent to work with and the result is great. I highly recommend you to save the work on making your own wrappers. Just focus on good quality ingredients for the fillings.
- Dumpling wrappers (minimum 30+)
- 400 g minced fatty pork, such as a mixture of pork belly, neck, and loin
- 200 g shrimp, minced
- 5 pieces fresh/dried* shiitake mushrooms, finely chopped
- 2 stalks of scallion, finely chopped
- 1-2 tsp grated ginger, finely grated (do not chop)
- 2 tbsp water
- 1 tsp ground white pepper
- Dash of Chinese cooking wine or mirin (optional)
- 1-2 tsp corn starch
- 1 tbsp light soy sauce
- 1-2 tsp dark soy sauce
- 1-2 tsp caster sugar
*If you are using dried shiitake mushrooms, soak them in cold water, cover, and let them rehydrate completely before use. Rehydrated mushrooms can keep in the fridge for 2 days. You can also presoak them, squeeze them dry, and freeze them, thawing when needed.
Prepare 1-2 pieces of clean, damp kitchen cloth; 1 small bowl of cold water; and 1-2 non-stick baking trays (depending on the amount of dumplings you are going to make, making sure they can fit into your freezer).
If you have a standing mixer, put all the ingredients into the bowl with a flat paddle and at low speed, mix all the ingredients until just combined. Or if you are using your hands, put all ingredients into a big bowl and mix until well combined.
Making sure that your hands are dry, take a wrapper and scoop about a teaspoon of mixture into the middle of the wrapper. Use the tip of your finger to tap the edges of the wrapper with water and seal the dumpling by folding the wet edges together. Put the wrapped dumplings onto the baking tray and cover them with a damp cloth. Repeat for the rest of the dumplings and keep them under the cloth until the tray is full. Remove the cloth and replace it with cling film, loosely covering the dumplings.
Freeze the dumplings horizontally, without overlapping, for a minimum of 2 hours, until they have hardened. Once the dumplings are frozen, you can put them into a Ziploc bag, as they won’t stick together once they are frozen. Frozen dumplings can keep for up to 3 months.