If you read my last couple of posts you would have realised that Hubby flew to NY for the week for busy-ness.
He doesn't travel a lot and usually just within Australia. The trip to NY is an annual event and held at the same time of year.
He has made the trip many times without any hitches.
Not this time! He was away when the Qantas shit hit the fan- well actually the engine exploded......leading to the grounding of the fleet of A380's. The type of aircraft that would normally bring him home.
It set off a trip home not to forget.....although we would all rather forget it to be honest.
I don't really want to write about that though........in my effort to try and forget it! Let's just say it was really truly ruly SHIT!
Being me I like to look at the positive .........so here goes.....
It made me think of all the things I can be thankful for.
At the moment I am feeling more aware than usual at how lovely it is to be home with the last two of my five lads beofre they go off to school. Mr.4 & Mr just turned 2.
Mr 4 has been a challenge to say the least! A previous post explains more about how I have effectively been home-bound by his challenging behaviour. You can click here to read that post.
Some days I feel better than others about being homebound. At the moment I am thankful that I am able to be around.
This week while Hubby was away I needed to try & help myself out a bit by simplifying life. So our dinners were things like: toasted sandwiches, bacon & egg sandwiches & good ol' weetbix!
Click here for a post ALL about the benefits of Weetbix dinners!
But the other dinner that I HAD to have for reasons of spiritual well-being (read- I CAN'T GO ONE WEEK WITHOUT A HIT) was.......
You all know by now I am an addict.
"My name is Gourmet Girlfriend and I am addicted to Dumplings".
A few weeks ago on my Amazon buying bender you may remember I purchased an Asian dumpling cookbook.
So it was time to put it to the test.
I've made plenty of dumplings in my time and have made my own wrappers before but have to admit that most of the time I buy store bought ones just for ease.
I am always keen to test out recipes so I headed to the dumpling wrapper dough recipe.
I was pretty much as I have made it before. That is adding boiling water to flour and making a dough- I'll get to the recipe later. I have to say I didn't really learn anything new form this one but I am REALLY looking forward to making the green wrappers that have blitzed spinach added....my mind whizzed with ideas of other options and blends! Will experiment and post later......
I like to use 00 Flour as I think it it gives a better result.
This time I enlisted the help of Mr.4 & Mr.2. They LOVED it!
So here is the basic dough formula:
2 cups 00 flour
1 cup boiling water.
I blitz mine in the blender initially to get it amalgamated and then turn it out onto a board to knead lightly- don't overwork it here!
Get the kids to do this step- the dough is lovely and warm- not too hot for kids to handle. It feels lovely.
Roll it into a ball.
While you rest the dough you can get the filling ready.
I don't really measure out my ingredients but this is my usual list :
2-3 spring onions
good handful of fresh coriander (rinse the roosts well as you should add these- the bulk of flavour is found in them!)
a goo knob of ginger
2 cloves garlic
a splosh of Shao Xing wine (pic at end of ingredients list below- this adds a magical flavour- you will find it easily in most Asian food stores- it is easily identifiable by its pale blue& red label- it seems all different brands use the same colour scheme!)
a good splosh of Sesame oil- be generous!
a generous pinch of salt
1/3 cup chicken stock.
about 500g minced pork
Blitz the spring onions, garlic, ginger coriander & salt.
Remove from food processor and add wet ingredients & meat.
Stir through- the mix should be quite sloppy.
This is desirable or your dumplings will be too dry.
After an hour remove the dough form the bag and roll out into a sausage.
Cut into inch long sections- as below.
In my dumpling book they use a dedicated dumpling wrapper roller- we improvised and used a pastry brush handle to roll out the segments into their circular shapes. Mr 4 did all of them. And he did a MAGNIFICENT JOB!
Here's Mr. 4's wrappers ready to stuff- don't they look amazing!
Then fold it over and seal the seam- I must say I find this super easy with home made dough. it is more tricky with bought wrappers as they are more tough. I use a bit of water on bought wrappers to help seal them. I don't fond this necessary with home made dough. Ours came out looking like this.
I place them in a non-stick frypan something like this.
Add cold oil (about 5 tblspns) and about 1/2 cup of water. Then put the pan on a medium high flame.
IT IS REALLY IMPORTANT THE OIL IS COLD!!!!!!!!!
I leave a lid on for about 8 minutes or so and then remove it to let the water evaporate off. The dumplings then fry in the remaining oil for about another 5 minutes or so.
Once you can see a lovely brown tinge at the base of the dumplings take the pan off the heat. Carefully drain off the oil.
Find a plate that covers the frypan and carefully turn the pan onto the plate. The dumplings fall out of the pan onto the plate in this beautiful design. The dumplings just lift away from each other as you eat. Are you drooling yet???? I am....I need a fix!
I can tell you these didn't last long at all!
I like to eat mine with a dipping sauce made of chiu chow chilli oil, soy & chinese black vinegar.
I recently tried another variation on the stuffing mix with beef mince and orange zest- that was really good- you can play around as much or as little as you like. I am looking forward to playing with the wrappers next!
I think making the dough from scratch makes them sooooo much yummier. But store bought wrappers will give you a very good substitute if you want to save some time.
OK .........so cooking dumplings by this method may be tedious for some but I find it VERY therapeutic. I get totally lost in the moment. It is one of those old fashioned methods of cooking that has the kids really involved. It's what I imagine it would be like to be hanging out with Nonna in the kitchen making pasta- not that I'm Italian or have a Nonna but you get my drift.
I am ever so thankful to have the time to be with my kids to share these moments.
This week I have been LOVING listening to this: