To kick off the new year, I’m sharing my first recipe on this blog, chicken dumplings. Dumplings are a part of some of my best memories. Since I can remember, at all family gatherings, my mom and Aunts would make a big pot of dumpling filling and my sisters, cousins, and I would wrap dumpling after dumpling, hundreds of dumplings, until the pot was empty. They remind me of spending time with family and friends, catching up on each other’s lives, laughing and enjoying wonderful company. This recipe is my mom’s famous dumpling recipe with a few tweeks to make it my own. I think the best dumplings are a hearty mix of meat and lots of vegetables. In one of my next blog posts I’ll share the sauce that completes this dumpling experience.
I hope you give these dumpling a try and they also become a part of some of your best memories. Here’s how you make them.
Start with 1 pound of ground dark meat chicken. I ground my own chicken so I can use organic chicken meat.
Chop 1 cup of some scallions, about 3 to 4 scallions.
Rehydrate 1 cup of dried shiitake mushrooms and then chop. You can find these at any asian market.
Peel 3 to 4 fresh water chestnuts and then chop. My mom says the water chestnuts with the dirt on the outside are fresher then the clean ones. You will find more rotten chestnuts in the cleaned batch.
Chop up the napa cabbage.
Mix the chicken meat, scallions, mushrooms, water chestnuts, napa cabbage, corn starch, salt, sesame oil in a bowl.
Mix thoroughly. Don’t be afraid to use your hands.
Get out the dumpling skins. Twin Marquis is my favorite brand.
For the filling, scoop a heaping teaspoon for each dumpling.
(1) Place the filling in the middle of the dumpling skin, dab your fingers in the egg wash and coat the edge of the skin, then fold in half but do not press shut (2) You will make three pleats at the edge of the side closest to you. To make a pleat, pinch the skin in between your thumbs and then press firmly to stick to the back side of the skin. (3) Repeat two more times (4) Evenly space the pleats and place firmly on a flat surface to make sure the dumpling “sits” on its own. Pinch the edge firmly to make sure the dumpling is completely sealed.
PS. Please excuse my very dry from cold weather and frequent washing mama hands.
If you are making more then you can eat at the moment, place a sheet of plastic wrap or parchment paper over a tray and as you wrap the dumplings, line them up one after another. Make sure the dumplings do not touch and are all “sitting” by themselves.
For the dumplings you want to eat, coat the bottom of a non-stick pan with oil. Fill the bottom of the pan with dumplings. Line them up snug. Cover the dumplings half way with water, put a cover on the pan, and cook on medium heat.
After fifteen minutes check the dumplings to make sure most of the water has disappeared. Wait another five to ten minutes and the dumplings should be done. Check to make sure the bottoms are brown and crispy. Cook until they are.
To get the dumplings out of the pan you can:
1. (take it easy and slow) Take each dumpling individually out of the pan with tongs or chopsticks.
2. (be daring and fast) Notice: should only be done with a 10″ or 12″ pan. Loosen the dumplings at the edge from the bottom of the pan with chopsticks or a wooden spatula. Grab a large dinner plate (10″) and cover the dumplings in the pan. (here comes the big finish) Flip the pan over so all the dumplings come out of the pan at once. This makes a beautiful presentation of the dumplings, something I call the dumpling flower.
- 1 pound ground dark meat chicken
- 1 cup chopped scallions (3-4 pieces)
- 1 cup chopped dried shiitake mushrooms
- ¾ cup chopped fresh water chestnuts (about 4 pieces)
- 2 cups chopped napa cabbage
- 1½ teaspoons salt (2 teaspoons if not serving dumping sauce)
- 2 tablespoons corn starch
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 1 egg
- canola oil
- To make the filling, combine the chicken meat, scallions, mushrooms, water chestnuts, napa cabbage, salt, corn starch, and sesame oil in a large mixing bowl. Thoroughly mix.
- Prepare to wrap dumplings by beating the egg in a small bowl. Grab a tray to put your wrapped dumplings. If you planning to freeze all or some of the dumplings, line a tray with plastic wrap or parchment paper. Make sure the dumplings do not touch and are all "sitting" by themselves. Freeze the dumplings for 1 hour and then place in a freezer bag for up to 3 months. Label the bag with today's date.
- To wrap dumplings, scoop a heaping teaspoon of filling into the center of the dumpling skin, use your fingers to brush the egg wash around the edge of the skin, fold the skin in half, and close with three pleats at the top. Pinch the edge tightly to make sure it is completely closed. Place firmly on hard surface to make sure dumpling "sits" on its own. Continue these steps until there is no more filling. Will make 40 - 50 dumplings depending on the amount of filling used in each dumpling.
- To cook the dumplings, coat the bottom of a non-stick pan with canola oil, then fill the bottom of the pan with dumplings. The dumplings should be lined up snug. In a 10" pan, use 1 tablespoon of oil and fill with least 11 dumplings. Cover the dumplings half way with water. Put cover on pan and cook on medium heat. After fifteen minutes open the cover and make sure most of the water has disappeared. Wait 5-10 more minutes and the dumplings should be done. Make sure the bottoms are crispy and brown. Keep cooking until you get this.
- To get the dumplings out of the pan, you can (1) take them out one-by-one with a chopstick or tong. (2) Loosen the dumplings on the edge from the bottom of the pan with chopsticks or a wooden spatula. Grab a large dinner plate (10″) and cover the dumplings in the pan. Flip the pan over so all the dumplings come out of the pan at once. This makes a beautiful presentation of the dumplings.
Dumplings are a labor of love. Enjoy!
The Dumpling Mama xoxo