Pork & Garlic Chives Dumplings (韭菜饺子)

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Steamed or pan-fried? Why choose when you can have both?

Not sure about you, but there is something so comforting about spending a lazy Sunday in the kitchen, making something that I’ve been craving for a long time. Then just sit back, relax in front of TV and indulge myself with delicious food that I know all my effort that I put in have been paid off. Tasting the sweet success and the labor of love is truly a well satisfying experience.

Yes, lately I have this indescribable urge to taste some juicy dumplings like a pregnant woman craving for sour plums. I know I can go to restaurant and order some, but why not make it myself and have a whole lot more!? The only solution to solve this constant craving has lead me to spend a whole Sunday afternoon making nothing else but Pork and Garlic Chives Dumplings.

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I love dumplings no matter whether it is steamed, pan fried or in hot broth. It is something that I can never get enough of, or ever get sick of (for now). The slippery translucent skins, with big fat juicy lump of pork mince flavoured with chives, garlic or ginger, and the juice oozes out on every bite, how could you not love such tasty treats?

Chinese dumplings, they called it Jiao Zi in China, Gyoza in Japan, or simply pot sticker, is widely popular in northern Asia countries (China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea) but not so much in the south like Malaysia. We have wonton in Malaysia, which is same same but different; which has different style of wrapping and the dumpling skin is made with eggs.

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There are lots of restaurants in Sydney you can try the dumplings. Any chinese restaurant that serves northern chinese cuisine will have dumplings on the menu. And also any Japanese restaurants will serve Gyoza, especially the Ramen noodle shops. Here to name a few:

  • Din Tai Fung, World Square – pricey but one of the best in town
  • Shanghai Night, Ashfield – best value for money and quality is as good as Din Tai Fung so I heard
  • Chinese Noodle Restaurant, Haymarket – very small restaurant, ready to queue up
  • Sea Bay Restaurant – cheap and cheerful
  • Da Niang Dumpling, Haymarket

The list doesn’t stop there. But why not try making your own?

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For me, I am pretty hands on with food and always like to make something in the kitchen. For sure, that the dumplings will be freshly made and straight into my mouth on the same day (within few hours if I may), plus at least I would know what ingredients have been put inside the dumplings for quality assurance.

Steamed, or pan fried; I can see myself making lots of this this winter.

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Ingredients (makes 30 dumplings)

500 gram pork mince
1 bunch garlic chives (chopped)
3 cloves garlic (chopped)
1 packet of dumpling skin (30 skins)
1 tbsp corn flour
Soy Sauce
Sesame Oil
2 tbsp rice wine
Salt & Pepper to taste

Methods

1. Add all ingredients into a large bowl (except the dumpling skins) and mix well together.
2. Fill a small bowl with water and set aside.
3. Scoop a tablespoon-ful of the mixture and lay it in the center of a dumpling skin.
4. Dip your index finger in the water, then run it around the edge of the dumpling skin.
5. Fold the skin in half from bottom to top, press the skin together and seal the mixture inside.
6. From the center, overlapping the skin inwards from both sides until it reaches the pointy edges.
7. Run the edges and press tightly with 2 fingers to make sure the dumpling is properly sealed.

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Steamed Dumplings
1. Inside bamboo steamer baskets, lay some iceberg lettuce and make sure is flat enough to put dumplings on top without falling over.
2. Arrange 6 to 8 dumplings inside basket without touching each other so they don’t stick together when cooked.
3. Use a wok and pour 2 cups of water and let it boil in medium heat. Place the steamer basket inside the wok and cover it with a lid. Let it simmer for 10 – 15 mins or until the dumpling skins looks translucent then it is ready.

Fried Dumplings
1. Heat up a frying pan with a little bit of vegetable oil.
2. put some dumplings in the pan and lay flat on one side. Make sure they don’t touch each other to avoid sticking together.
3. Pour 2 tablespoon of water in the pan, and quickly cover it with a lid.
4. Few minutes later, flip the dumplings and fry the other side. Again, pour 2 tablespoon of water and cover it with a lid.
5. Fry the dumplings until crisp and golden brown then it is ready.

Note: the dumplings usually go with condiments of Soy Sauce, sesame oil and vinegar. A hot spicy chilli paste is also an essential condiment with the dumplings. You can look for the recipe here.