October 24, 2008

Dumplings, dumplings, dumplings

We were all sitting around the table the other night tucking into dinner and I was distracted by a recipe I was thinking about for the up and coming book. I was wondering what would be a great meal for the family that would be healthy, yummy for all ages and realistic for someone who doesn't have a lot of time to waste. I'm looking around at my own family and what we were eating and then thought to myself- hang on a minute, this meal took me 20 minutes to whip up and we all love it.
  Nic, Max and I all dive into our respective chili sauces for our individual flavor hit while Alex is happily munching away dipping into the soy sauce- DUMPLINGS!
Granted I did buy the ones we were eating from the frozen foods section of the Asian market but I thought it would be ten times yummier if I whipped them up myself, and as I realized after I made them the following week they are really cost effective and I could load them up with lots more veggies than you get from the packet ones. They freeze really well, so I took an hour out of one of my mornings, bought the ingredients and spent the hour making 100's of (well at least 40) pork dumplings. We now have two or three meals in the freezer that will only take 20 minutes to put on the table and I can change it up with noodles, rice or salad. Serve the Hot, hot chili sauce for me, the sweet chili for Max and Nic and Alex can dip away in soy sauce. 
They do take a little extra time to make as appose to buying them but the benefits out weigh the 'fast approach' hands down in my book.

For the dumpling mixture you can do what you like. I find if you use vegetables you can grate like carrot and zucchini then you can chop them a little more and they blend in beautifully with the meat, just as if you slice a green onion finely, grate a bit of ginger and garlic, chop some basil or cilantro- the list is endless. You will find a lot of ingredients go a long way. For half a pound of (ground) pork mince I used 1 carrot and 1 zucchini and I had a lot of mix. I wouldn't recommend salting your mixture- instead use fish sauce, that way you give the mix a deeper flavor. Wonton or Goyza wrappers both work really well, you just need to wet on side with a little water to get them to stick together.
When cooking them, for the healthy option, layer a steam tray with lettuce or cabbage leaves and put the dumplings on top. Place the lid to cover and begin to cook your noodles or rice. As you can see above I also fried a couple. They are delicious either way. Frying you cook them in a wok with vegetable oil until they are brown, put in a little water to steam them with a lid on and then turn the heat down until they are ready. This was a little more work but very enjoyable.
The night I served the ones above I used noodles with veggies. The boys thought they were getting off lightly with the vegetable department and that was just fine- nothing is what it seems!

No comments: