Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Chinese Dumplings at Home

Here's what you're aiming for. A tasty meal of Chinese dumplings and broccoli with a yummy dipping sauce. Manphong Supermarket, 230-9934, 775 Somerset Street WestFirst you want to go to a Chinese grocery store and get the staple ingredients for the sauce. The Mamphong on Somerset is good. I try to always have these things in the house:

  • peanut butter
  • rice vinegar
  • light soy sauce
  • powdered ginger (yes, fresh grated is better, but this is about doing things the easy way.)
  • sesame oil
  • ground fresh chili paste (I get the kind without garlic)
Chinese Dumpling Shoppe, 233-0660, 628 Somerset Street West

You can buy dumplings at the Mamphong. But if you tell your friend Kerry that you did, she'll go, "You didn't buy them at the Dumpling Shop!? You have to buy them at the dumpling shop!" and make you feel like you know nothing about dumplings. It will turn out that she is right. Even though the Mamphong sells dumplings made by Yen Fung Ding, you will save 49 cents per bag when you buy six bags at the Yen Fung Ding, and you will feel like you are having a more pure dumpling experience. Yen Fung Ding has a whole bunch of types of dumplings. Ones for steaming, ones for frying,... I always get the ones you can boil. Because it's more straight-forward and I'm all about doing things the easy way. I usually get mostly "chicken & vegetable". "Pork & Water Cress" is pretty good. Of course, you also need to buy broccoli. Probably at your usual supermarket. Not much on the dumpling experience purity scale, but remember we live in the real world. ["It's easy to be a holy man on top of a mountain," Bill Murray in the 1984 version of the Razor's Edge] Back to the food. Start water boiling in a pot. Wash and chop the broccolli. Notice how I've chopped the stem? That woody part of the broccolli you usually throw out? Throw the stem in the water right at the beginning. (But only the stem. The rest waits until later.) A watched pot will eventually boil, but really, go find something else to do for a while. If you're having an ADD day and are likely to forget that you've started a pot of water to boil, do something that will take roughly ten minutes and cause you to be in the kitchen when you're finished. Or set a timer that will remind you. It's not a disaster if the water boils for a while because those stems pieces can probably use it. But some time after the water is at a rolling boil, throw in your dumplings. However many you feel like eating. Give the pot a swirl so they don't stick on the bottom. Now it's time to make the sauce. I really like it with a peanut butter base, but you can skip the peanut butter if you want something lighter. You can also substitute another nut butter for excellent results. I also like a lot of hot sauce. You might prefer less. Add sesame oil, soya sauce, rice vinegar and ginger in quantities that feel right to you. If you want precise measurements, use a measuring device and write down what you did. If you like it, do the same thing next time. If you didn't, make a change, write it down, and so on. When you've got your ingredients in your dipping bowl (or teacup), have a look at the dumplings. If the dumplings have floated to the top and are looking like they might even be about done, throw in the rest of the broccolli. Stir up the dipping sauce. You can either stir it a lot so it's all smooth and a uniform colour, or just a bit so that you've still got swirls of different colours. Your choice. Get a nice bowl to put everything in. If you've got one of these handy straining scoops, use it to remove the dumplings and broccoli from the pot. Otherwise strain the stuff with a colander or just use the old holding the lid while pouring the water out method. Looks good, don't you think? Eh?


Anonymous said...

Are chinese dumplings available in Cornwall? Would perogies do as well if dumplings cannot be found?

Anonymous said...

Now this is a coincidence, Trish and I had dumplings last night that we purchased some time ago at Toronto's dumpling house. We fried and steamed them but no broccoli as Trish hates broccoli

David Scrimshaw said...

Hi Big Mama, do you have a Chinese or Vietnamese grocery store in Cornwall? If not, I'll ask at the dumpling shoppe next time I'm there whether they ship any product to Cornwall.

Steve, that's too bad about Trish and the broccolli. When I've had no broccolli to boil, I've found that raw zuccinni sticks work well with the dipping sauce.

accidental altruist said...

i've been meaning to replenish my vegetarian dumpling supply - they only make 'em on Fridays so are hard to come by.

i like the fried kind. most food tastes better with a bit o' browning. your peanut sauce is gonna be mixed up next time we do dumplings and the usual baby bok choy will be ousted by broccoli!