dumplings


Pork and Leek Dumplings

It’s been a while since I’ve waxed poetic (at least here) about how much I love dumplings. When I really get going, I have been known to declare that dumplings are the snacks of the gods, are so awesome that nearly every culture has developed some version of them and quite possibly, the food item that will eventually bring about world peace. But I will spare you.

Finding that suddenly I have much more free time than I have in the past months, I decided it was time to stock up the freezer with a menagerie of dumplings again. This time, I restricted myself to only two varieties: a trusty pork and ginger filling from Ming Tsai and a new-to-me pork and leek filling from a recent cookbook acquisition, Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid’s gorgeous Beyond the Great Wall. I ended up modifying their dumpling recipe slightly by adding an egg to the filling to help it bind better and by scaling up, since I always make dumplings in big batches for freezing.

Now that I own two of their books, I can officially say that I love this couple of cookbook authors. Their books are more like travel diaries interspersed with recipes and with plenty of beautiful photography, which happen to be three things I love…well, in addition to dumplings, of course.

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I’ve been meaning to write this entry for a long time, but until now, I’ve avoided trying to figure out how to embed a video into a post. Apparently, it’s way easier than I thought, so now it seems silly I waited so long.

If you know me, you probably know that I absolutely love dumplings and have been known to spend hours wrapping them by myself without complaints. When I was growing up in Hong Kong, I was recruited to help wrap wontons every time we made them at home and I prided myself on being fast and efficient. Once I got good enough at wontons – which let’s face it, it’s not that hard because you just sort of bunch the wrapper all together around the meat – I wanted something a little more challenging. So I sat down and tried to figure out how to make pot stickers.

It took me a few tries but finally, I figured out how to shape pot stickers that looked like the kind you get at restaurants. I then started looking around for different fillings and of course, the possibilities there are endless. Some of my current favorites are a pork and super-gingery filling and a green curry chicken with thai basil filling. But finding a good all-vegetarian filling has always stumped me… until now.

Ming Tsai dubbed these the “Best Vegetarian Pot Stickers” and before you scoff like I did when I first read it, you really should give it a try. They definitely are the best vegetarian potstickers I’ve ever had.

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manti

Have I told you that I heart dumplings? Wait, I got that wrong — It’s more like I heart heart heart dumplings!

After reading about Brian and Michelle’s dumpling party a few weeks ago, I’ve been craving a dumpling party of my own. Unfortunately, I really have no excuse for making more potstickers because I still have a huge batch sitting in the freezer, from a dumpling party not too long ago. (And yes, I can still call it a dumpling party, even if it was a dumpling party of one. It’s like an army of one, only less violent and more delicious.)

Thankfully, Saveur comes to the rescue! My favorite foodie magazine also happens to have one of my favorite, non-Chinese dumpling recipes – Manti or Turkish dumplings. These are tiny dumplings made with homemade dough and filled with little bits of lamb, onions, and parsley. They’re first baked in the oven to make them chewy before being boiled in stock (also in the oven). Fresh out of the oven, they’re then tossed with a garlicky yogurt sauce, topped with mint and chili powder, and finished with a drizzle of olive oil. The only bad (?) thing about them is that they’re really really addictive. So don’t blame me if you end up eating the whole pan!

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