Above: A small galaxy of dumplings sizzle away in the pan.
There are few dishes as popular and ubiquitous as the dumpling. While most cultures across the globe have some variation on a meat-or-vegetable filling wrapped in unleavened dough, then steamed or fried, the dumpling really hits its stride in Eastern Europe and Asia. Thousands of classic “pot sticker” recipes grace tables from the Balkans all the way through the Indian subcontinent into East Asia.
The Polish eat pierogi, filled with mushrooms, ground meat and cabbage, while the Nepalese enjoy a potato or yak-meat momos. The Chinese ring in the New Year with platters of jiaozi, while Siberians top their pelmini with sour cream or horseradish. Dumplings are filling, relatively easy to prepare, and can act as a side dish or as a standalone meal. Dumplings are also an inherently social dish, best done with friends while chatting and drinking wine and assembling the pot stickers for cooking.
Fellow blogger and friend Stillthinking was kind enough to share this pork, shallot and ginger dumpling recipe with the Wine Country Inn:
1 pound ground pork
1/2 cup finely minced parsley
1 tablespoon finely minced ginger
1 ounce of finely minced shallots (approximately 2 large cloves)
2 tablespoons finely minced garlic
2 tablespoons of tamari organic soy sauce
1 large egg
1/8 cup of steel cut oatmeal
1 teaspoon of dried thyme
Dash of Salt
Dash of White pepper
1 package of square wonton skins (Nasoya is commonly available frozen)
1 egg (beaten for egg wash)
Sesame Soy Dipping sauce:
4 tablespoons tamari organic soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon minced chives
1 small clove minced garlic
Optional: dash of chili powder
*For dipping sauce, whisk together all listed ingredients and set aside.
Note about tamari organic soy sauce:
Tamari soy sauce is wheat based, organic, naturally fermented sauce from Japan. Tamari tastes smoother and has a cleaner flavor than other kinds of soy sauce. Tamari is commonly available in most grocery stores. If using soy sauce at home, make sure to taste it before adding it to the recipe. If it smells chemical and tastes sour, toss it out. It's rancid and will ruin the sauce.
Prepare filling by combining pork, parsley, ginger, shallots, garlic, tamari sauce, egg, thyme, oatmeal, salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl. Combine thoroughly, by hands if necessary. Make sure that all flavorings and spices are evenly distributed throughout the meat. Set aside and let filling mixture rest for 10 minutes.
While filling mixture is resting, organize the workspace/ assembly line:
1. Thawed wonton skins.
2. Egg wash with pastry brush.
3. Filling (using chopsticks or fingers)
4. Clean space for forming dumplings
5. Parchment lined cookie sheet for finished dumplings
For round dumplings (the classic take-out Rangoon shape), pinch opposite edges of wonton skin together to form triangle and seal all edges. Brush left corner of triangle with more egg wash. Pull opposite triangle corners together and pinch.
For square dumplings, pull all four corners of wonton square together to create a four sided pyramid. Pinch down all seams to hold filling in securely.
Place each completed dumpling on lined cookie sheet. Try not to overlap or touch dumplings. They'll stick together as they dry. Repeat until all the dumplings are assembled.
To prepare the dumplings "pot sticker style", preheat a large skillet over high heat. Once the pan is very hot, add a couple spoonfuls of canola oil. Make sure to spread canola oil around entire pan. Hot pan and cold oil will prevent sticking. With tongs, place 8-10 dumplings in pan to sear. Don't fuss with them. Allow the dumplings to cook for a good 3-4 minutes, depending on the stove.
When the dumplings are deep golden brown on the bottom, add 1/4 cup of room temperature water to the pan. Make sure to pour the water over the tops of the dumplings. The water will immediately begin to simmer and the steam will cook the pork inside. Be careful of splatter and stand back from the pan. Use a splatter guard or place the lid on the pan. Allow the water to cook off, about 3 minutes. With tongs, rotate the dumplings to evenly brown, about 2 minutes each side.
When all sides of dumplings are golden brown, remove from pan and place dumplings on paper towel lined plate to rest. Using an instant read meat thermometer, the inside of the dumpling should read at least 160 degrees. Break open a dumpling, and the filling should appear opaque and white, with no pink. Let rest for a few minutes and allow the oil to drain off.
One pound of meat and one package of wonton skins should yield about 40 dumplings. If not preparing the entire batch, the remaining raw dumplings will go directly into the freezer. Place the entire lined cookie sheet of dumplings directly in the freezer and allow dumplings to freeze individually. Later, transfer and store the dumplings together in a single storage bag. When ready to use, the dumplings should cook perfectly without being thawed. Frozen dumplings are perfect deep fried or simmered with chicken egg drop soup.
Colorado wine pairings: Pork and ginger should be balanced nicely by the spiciness of a semi-sweet, 2008 Carlson Vineyards Laughing Cat Gewurztraminer.