Once while driving at 1am to a newspaper plant in New Jersey I thought, “Maybe I should have gotten two orders of dumplings tonight.”
Dumplings solve all problems.
Especially when you and your friends are frantically trying to put out the college newspaper and “Shit, the network is down and we can’t send the paper to the printing plant. Time for a road trip.”
That was a bad dumpling night. I think my friend Chris Stover and I had the aforementioned dumplings delivered to our office as we yelled at each other and watched Monday turn into early Tuesday morning.
A good dumpling night meant the newspaper was done before 10pm and the last thing we did before parting ways was call the takeout place for two orders of steamed pork dumplings. Sometimes I also ordered wonton soup, but Stover believed that was too much dumpling action so he stuck to the 6 steamed meat purses.
Not that we were beacons of health with our dinner order.
The dumplings had thick doughy skins that encased juicy ground pork. The hot juicy dumplings dripped when you bit into them. Once I didn’t eat all of my dumplings and discovered that things weren’t so great in the morning. The hot liquid that would nearly burn your mouth had congealed into a fatty pool that sat between the dumpling wrapper and meat. Ew, but I definitely still dipped it into the dumpling sauce and ate it.
That sauce is crack. I have no idea what they put into it but the dumplings were borderline inedible without them. I know because once they forgot the sauce. Chris and I didn’t realize until we had gotten back to our apartments and ate sad sauceless dumplings. All of the tears.
The sauce is thin like straight soy sauce but isn’t as salty. I will probably die still trying to find out the recipe.
Dumplings are a great thing to eat solo after a long night but making them is another story. This definitely should be a group project. Make together and then abandon your friend and eat all of them alone.
Stover, get ready for a dumpling party. And now that we’re not in college anymore we can’t east greasy pork on the regular. We can be fake healthy with ground chicken and wilted napa cabbage. And instead of fatty meat juice: soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, jalapeno, and ginger is folded into the dumpling filling.
Do not ask me how to fold dumplings? Maybe Stover is better, you can ask him. My convoluted folding technique involves flattening a ball of dough and plopping a teaspoon of filling in the middle. Then close up the dumpling however you can and squeeze the edges shut. My only tip would be to make the center of the dumpling skin thicker than the edges. Since you’re folding over the wrapper you want the edges to be thinner so they’re not too doughy when the dumpling is closed.
However you fold or cook them, these dumplings must be served with sauce. You can go the extra mile and go to North Philly and get the magic dumpling sauce from China House but that’s a little far for me. My attempt is a decent take and you won’t be sad dipping your dumplings into the savory pool of sauce.
Invite Chris Stover over, make a million and then ask him trivia questions while you force him to drink Parrot Bay rum. It all sounds better than New Jersey at 1am on a Monday night.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 cup hot water
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon of minced jalapeno
- 1 teaspoon minced ginger
- 2 green onions, sliced
- 1 ½ cups chopped napa cabbage
- 2 teaspoons each: sugar, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar
- 1/2 pound ground chicken
- Vegetable oil for sauteeing the vegetables and frying the potstickers
- 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon honey
- Dash of fish sauce
- 2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon minced jalapeno
- In a medium bowl, combine flour and salt. Stir in the hot water until you have a dough.
- Knead dough on a floured surface (adding more flour as necessary) until you have a smooth dough. I usually end up adding about a 1/4 cup more flour as the dough comes together.
- Transfer to a clean bowl, cover it with a damp towel, and let the dough rest while you make the filling.
- Heat a large saute pan over medium high heat and add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
- Add the garlic, jalapeno, ginger, and green onion and cook until softened.
- Add the chopped cabbage and saute for 5 minutes until the cabbage has wilted.
- In a large bowl mix together the filling ingredients.
- Divide the dough into 20 balls, each should be about a tablespoon.
- Roll each ball into a thin circle and place a spoonful of filling in the center. Fold over the dough to close the dumpling. You can use a fork to crimp the edges or whatever other technique you like.
- Place the finished dumplings on a floured plate.
- In the largest pan you have a lid for, add enough vegetable oil to your cold pan to cover the bottom with a thin film of oil. Place enough dumplings that fit in the pan on top of the oil.
- Heat the pan to medium and add enough water to come up two thirds of the way up the dumplings. My pan isn't super big, I usually fit 10 dumplings and add 1/2 cup of water.
- Cover the pan and let the dumplings cook in the boiling water for 5 minutes.
- Remove the lid and let the water evaporate. As the water evaporates the dumpling bottoms will crisp in the oil.
- The dumplings are done when all of the water has evaporated and the dumplings are golden brown and have released from the pan.
- Mix together the sauce ingredients, adjusting to personal taste, and serve with hot dumplings.