I’ve always had a full blown crush on Asian cuisine – particularly the Japanese, Chinese and the Thai kind. I love their intriguing flavours – especially the umami which is somewhat overpowered in our Sri Lankan and Indian cuisines and practically missing in the Western kind. So needless to say, dumplings have always been, a little short of an addiction.
It’s hard to find a proper dumpling in Sri Lanka. In fact, it’s hard to find dumplings at all! So there, it was decided – I will have to make my own instead.
I have modified the dish a little to suit our Sri Lankan palates, but let me assure you, that extra pinch of salt and that extra pinch of pepper only added to the flavours more!
- Prep Time :15 minutes
- Cook Time :60 minutes
- Yield : 4 servings
- Flour - 200g, , plus extra for dusting
- Hot water - 150ml
- Salt - A pinch
- Minced fatty pork, fatty pork that has been cut to small pieces - 300g
- Chinese Cabbage - 200g
- Onions - 2, finely sliced
- Ginger - 1 tsp, crushed
- Garlic - 1tsp, crushed
- Soy Sauce - 2 tblsp
- Sesame oil - 1tsp
- Pepper & salt to taste
- Sugar - 1/2tsp (optional)
- Rice wine vinegar - 2tblsp(Optional)
- Place the flour in a mixing bowl and incorporate the water into it gradually, mixing it together with a fork (or chopsticks ;) until it is well combined.
- Once combined, turn the dough onto a clean, flat surface and knead until smooth. Dust with flour if sticky.
- Heat the sesame oil in a pan. Add to this the garlic and the ginger and fry.
- Add the onion and fry till translucent. Then add the pork.
- Add to this the soy sauce. Let simmer on low heat.
- Add to this the Chinese cabbage. Cover and simmer till the pork is cooked.
- Roll out the dough to about 1/2 cm thickness. Cut it into a desired size. (approx 5cm diametre would do).
- Place sufficient amounts of filling in the middle of each piece of dough. Gather the dough from the edges as if making a pouch. Pinch the edges together while twisting it to the side slightly.
- Place the dumplings in an oiled bamboo steamer, making sure there is sufficient space between each other. A regular metal steamer too can be used but place the dumplings on a bed of Chinese cabbage to prevent it from sticking.
- Steam for 1/2 hour. Serve with a good soy sauce. Eat with chopsticks for good measure!
If you are a dumpling-saurus like I am, you will LOVE this! The soft doughy coating is silky smooth and absorbs the soy sauce and the juices from the pork really well and is a delight in itself to bite into. Once you bite, you are pleasantly surprised and overwhelmed by the plethora of flavours that overwhelm your taste buds – the hearty meaty pork, the leafy taste of the Chinese cabbage, the piquant ginger, the roasted flavours of the garlic, the umami of the soy and the nuttiness of the sesame oil, all combined together to simply, sing to your senses. And the textures, oh my! The softness of the dough, the yielding stubbornness of the pork bits, the delightful squishiness of the fatty pork pieces, the slight crunch of the Chinese cabbage, Oh heaven. Yes, you will hear the hallelujahs, the harps, the heavenly voices and the whole jingbang. It’s simply delightful.
The first time I made these, I simply couldn’t believe that I made these. It is a bit of a hassle rolling out the dough and all but once made, it is simply, sigh….divine.
- Please use pork in this recipe. Please, please, PLEASE. Don’t ruin the beautiful composition by using some nonsense like chicken or beef. Really. Chicken and beef or veg will be alright, but I guarantee you, there will be NO hallelujahs.
- It’s better to line the steamer with Chinese cabbage when steaming. These babies are stickers and they lurrrve to stick. So be careful. And be very, very patient.
- Don’t omit sesame oil. It gives the dish that bitter-nutty edge which is necessary. If you have at hand, add some sesame seeds too for good measure.
- And don’t forget to serve the soy sauce when serving. Make sure it is good quality soy sauce. This is a delicate dish, so make sure that the integrity of the dish is preserved by using good ingredients.
- Also make sure that there is sufficient space in between your dumplings when steaming. Don’t have a big enough steamer? No problem. Steam one batch, remove them from steamer and steam the next.