How about a Dumpling, Dumplin’?June 14, 2009 at 11:13 am | Posted in Appetizers, Asian, Daring Cooks, Dinner, Frozen, Fruit, Lunch, Pasta, Pork, Seafood | 123 Comments
Tags: 5-Spice, apples, caramel, Chinese, Daring Cooks, Dumplings, gyoza, Japanese, mousse, Pork, Potstickers, Shrimp
With the advent of Daring Cooks, it seems every entry at this rate will either be a Daring Bakers or Daring Cooks entry, especially considering that the posting date between each is two weeks. Regardless, it’s cooking and baking, two of my most favorite things in the world..so what’s to complain about, right? I’ll still try to squeeze in non-DB and DC creations because…..I FINALLY GOT INTO THE KITCHEN AND COOKED!
I still have trouble retrieving and transferring stuff since I need to hold onto a walker or cane, and I still have a ways to go before I’m scuttling around the kitchen like a headless chicken, but hey, it’s a start, and once I’m a headless chicken again, you’ll see a lot more entries – since my obsession with cooking and baking can strike at any time, whether it be 8 am or 4 am! I have to thank my new physical therapist, Dorothy, for all of this, since she has me working that knee like a candy factory machine, not to mention sweating like a pig in (the) heat! This woman is a drill sergeant , but in a good way – and one that men would go ga ga for! I truly believe this woman should be making work-out videos!
Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, this month’s Daring Cooks challenge is something I’ve had a love affair with years…something I NEVER fail to order when it’s Chinese take-out night, OR at any Chinese restaurant (Japanese take-out or restaurant- gyoza). DUMPLINGS, whether they be steamed or fried (aka potstickers), filled with pork, shrimp, veggies or what-ev-er. It doesn’t matter..I adore them any which way possible, and it’s always the first thing I dig into..that first bite, trying to catch the juices dripping down my chin, is sheer heaven. Now, I’m a dumpling person in general, whether it be spaetzle, chicken and dumplings, matzo balls, gnocchi, gnudi..you name it, but something about Asian dumplings always sends me to the moon.
5-Spice Caramel Apple
I’ve made homemade dumplings and potstickers before, but I always used the pre-made wonton or dumpling skins. For this months challenge, the challenge was to make the dough from scratch, knead it, let it rest, cut it, flatten it, roll it, fill it and pleat away! I’ve never been a great dumpling pleater, most of my dumplings ending up looking like little packets of cellulite, but this challenge turned me into one, and now dumpling making with homemade dough is another technique I can add to my list.
The host of this month’s challenge is jen yu from use real butter. The fact that she’s one tough cookie and tells it like it is, NO BS, endears me to her blog – not to mention her amazing recipes and STUNNING photography. Because of that, instead of posting the full recipe, with two fillings, and step-by-step dough making, rolling and pleating instructions, I’m going to send you over to the entry in her blog that covers it all. She’ll have you mastering dumplings in no time with her clear and concise instructions, along with (again) gorgeous photos that’ll turn you into a dumpling/potsticker Queen/King in no time! Click jen yu’s amazing dumpling/potsticker recipe and instructions for the whole NINE yards of dumpling perfection, and then some. But come back here to try my apple filling!
Having said all that, since we were given creative freedom when it came to fillings, I will post or supply links to the fillings I used in my three dumpling preparations. I used jen’s delicious pork filling to make potstickers, a fantastic recipe for Shrimp Mousse with White Truffle Oil by Ming Tsai, in which I added fresh chives from my little terrace garden, toasted sesame oil, and steamed them, serving them with a chili-garlic dipping sauce to add a little heat.
Of course, I HAD to make a dessert dumpling, AND deep fry it! I decided on a 5-spice caramel apple filling, which I served with a homemade Triple Cream Vanilla Brie Ice Cream. Well…with all the links to the recipes, it looks like the only recipe I’ll have to post is for my 5-spice caramel apple filling. Cool, less type and more room for my less than stellar photos
Although all three dumplings were spectacular, the shrimp mousse was so light and airy, that it was like biting into a delicious cloud of buttery, briny sea. If not for the truffle oil, chives and sesame oil, your palate might rise to your maxillary sinus as if you inhaled a bottle of Fizzy Lifting Drink. In fact, if you look at the cross-section photo in the chopsticks, you can barely see the filling against the steamed dough. Without the dabs of chili-garlic sauce/oil, you might not even see it at all, unless you happen to carry a magnifying glass with you at all times. So light and airy, it’s almost invisible to the naked eye.
This mousse by Ming Tsai is a must try..and it rhymes.
OK, I need to find some more things to talk about since this entry is more of a photo gallery than actual text entry at this juncture. Let’s see, let’s see..OH, according to the Urban dictionary, there are many definitions for dumpling, some of which are quite a hoot. For instance, it can refer to someone who needs to take a dump. It also refers to dumpling as the aforementioned poop that won’t flush no matter how many times you try (I thought those were called floaters?). Hmm..interesting “Hey, who left a dumpling in the toilet?”.
I know, those are not exactly hunger inducing words, but they are funny, right? Dumpling, apparently, is also a term used to describe a chubby, dumpy kid with an emo type of personality. Great, a pessimistic potsticker. If my dumpling cries, it just means my filling was too watery – although I do like ‘em nice and fat.
Geeeez, where do they come up with this stuff?
To me and most, a dumpling is either a doughy, yummy treat, or a term of affection, so I’ll record those two into Lisa’s ‘DUH-Urban’ Dictionary. Wait, is that the dessert bell I hear? Ding Ding Ding! I now present you with sweet, caramely, spicy, deep fried goodness – along with a big, fat scoop of cool, creamy, CHEESY ice cream and more spicy caramel!
Let’s cut one open…
Mmmm…hot, crispy, sticky, gooey, full of spicy apples. This is a really fun take on your typical apple dumpling or fritter. I think all Chinese restaurants should add something like this to their dessert menu, along with the fortune cookies, almond cookies, green tea ice cream and uhh, fried banana. What’s with the fried banana? How about wrapping those suckers up in some dumpling dough and THEN frying them? Now that’s something I’d order!
OK, I admit it, this challenge was so enjoyable, that I want to wrap, pleat, steam, fry etc.. almost anything in a dumpling wrapper right now *watches kitty dash away with an extreme sense of urgency* Wow, anyone remember the silly rumors about the meat they use in Chinese restaurants….?
5-Spice Caramel Apple Cinnamon Sugar Dumplings (‘Churro’Apple Dumplings)
3 cups cubed tart apples
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon 5-spice powder (optional..you can use just cinnamon and/or nutmeg/allspice etc)
1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon salt
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons heavy cream
4 tablespoons butter
15-20 Homemade dumpling wrappers, linked above, or store bought gyoza or dumpling wrappers
1. Squeeze the fresh lemon juice over the cubed apples. Combine dry ingredients in large bowl and add apples. Toss to mix. Add vanilla and cream. Melt butter in heavy skillet. Add apple mixture and cook approximately 8 minutes, to soften apples.
2. Fill each dumpling circle with about a tablespoon or a little less, making sure not to get the filling where you’ll be sealing the wrapper. Seal dumplings with a little water or beaten egg.
3. Heat a pot of neutral oil such as canola or vegetable oil to 375F. Drop in dumplings, making sure not to crowd the pot, a few at a time, and fry until golden brown. Immediately remove with a strainer..shake off the oil and roll in cinnamon sugar. Top with powdered sugar, if desired and serve with ice cream and caramel sauce.
Makes about 16-20 dumplings
Don’t forget to check out some really amazing dumplings by the other Daring Cooks by clicking on the links to their blogs at the temporary Daring Cooks Blogroll.