The Dumpling Diary

Dis cooking so you cooking too.

Namesake Redemption – DUMPLINGS!!! September 28, 2010

Recently, I realized something very paradoxical. I do not have any recipes on this blog for anything even remotely dumpling-esque. I did promise an apple dumpling recipe, one I made recently, but you know what? It’s not worthy of you guys. It was good, but not worthy. So, today, despite the fact I’ve come up with several different (DELICIOUS) recipes over the past week-ish… I’m presenting you with this: Dumpling Soup.
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This week has been filled with far too much peckish work-snacking at the bakery (I’m not even going to begin about the delectable creation of “God’s finger,” –  and that’s the polite name), as well as a hefty amount of bacon fat-cookery at home. So, what do I do when I want to repent for a week’s worth of artery-clogging? I pretend I’m Japanese. This week’s outcome was glorious, let me tell you. I could eat this stuff forever (not to mention, my shipment of seaweed/mirin/gen mai cha tea came in at the health food store today. 20% discount, chicka-yeaaaaaah).
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Anyhow! Here’s the recipe. Oh, and pretty well all of the ingredients can be found either at a decent-sized grocery store, almost any health food store (or they can order it for you!), or, of course, an Asian grocer.
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Dumpling Diary Dumpling Soup
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Ingredients
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1 strip kombu seaweed
4 cups water
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16 gyoza skins or, if you can’t find them, wonton skins will do, just be crafty with your folding.
150 grams ground pork ( I bet you could get away with other ground meats as well, but, as I’ve said before, Pork is King)
1 Tbsp minced garlic (fresh)
1 tsp minced ginger (fresh, of course)
1 tsp sesame oil
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 green onion (negi!) sliced very thin
1/2 tsp chili paste (or chili flakes will work too, or even hot sauce)
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cornstarch
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4Tbsp soy sauce (more or less, if you like – the seaweed can be pretty salty, but adjust as you see fit)
1/2 tsp sesame oil
2 Tbsp mirin (Japanese cooking wine)
1 piece wakame seaweed, crumbled or sliced (you could use another kind, maybe nori, or even kombu if sliced PAPER-THIN)
1/2 tsp sliced ginger root
1 clove sliced garlic
8 water chestnuts, halved (canned, by the way)
1 carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
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I realize this looks like a long list of ingredients, but most of them just repeat themselves throughout the recipe, so keep them handy when you’re cooking. This isn’t as long and invasive as it seems, honest!
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Method
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For the dashi:
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First of all, we make the dashi stock, using the strip of kombu and 4 cups of water.
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What you want to do is either let the kombu soak for 15 or 20 minutes in the water, then bring to a boil for a minute or so, and remove the kombu, OR, bring both to a boil and let simmer on medium-low or so for 4 minutes, then remove kombu. Easy stuff. Turn off the heat.
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For the dumplings:
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In a small bowl, combine all ingredients from ground pork to salt, all of them! Mix until you have a sticky little ball of meat. Wonderful. Now, get your gyoza or wonton skins, and using your finger and a bit of water, wet around the edges of half the wrapper. Then, place about a teaspoon of the pork filling inside. Fold the wrapper in half, sealing with little pleats, or, just in half! I honestly don’t give a damn what you do. I’m tedious and somewhat of a perfectionist, so, I pleated. Here’s a nice little dumpling-folding tutorial from Youtube. What a nice lady. Here’s how I did mine (I used square wrappers, so mine are a bit crazy looking, but I like them):
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Whatever you do, make sure you seal the living hell out of them. Crease like you’ve never creased before! These little darlings are going into soup. We don’t want a dumpling massacre.
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Anyhow, set those aside for a bit (I chose to freeze half for another time).
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Now, let’s get back on that stock/soup-base.
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This is easy too. Get the dashi back on the burner, at around medium heat, and add all ingredients from the 4 Tbsp soy sauce to the water chestnuts. You can taste for seasoning at this point, if you’d like. You might want more soy sauce, if you think it’s too subtle. I have a smoker’s tongue, I tend to like a lot of salt, sorry concerned family and friends. When you’re satisfied with the broth, add the dumplings! Let simmer for about five minutes, then add your carrots, and continue to simmer for another five minutes or so, until the pork is cooked through. You can check by simply hoisting out a dumpling, and cutting into it. If it’s cooked, eat it. Then, pick yourself up off the floor, maintain sturdiness about the knees, and try to dole some out into a bowl. You can garnish with sliced green onions if you like (I’m thinking of adding a poached egg or two next time). This is a deceptively delicious soup.
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Okay, that’s what I’ve got for you at this time, perhaps tomorrow (or sometime very soon) I’ll post my recipes from last night’s dinner: Smothered Pork Chops, Sage-Dijon Roasted Squash and Jalapeno-Cheddar-Bacon (I’m so ashamed!!!) Spoonbread. It was goddamn delicious. And, for now, I have to go drink some coffee, read some food blogs, and then get my procrastinating ass to work on that grape jelly I’ve been meaning to get together. I bought snap lids tonight and a canning funnel, so if I don’t have it done, you have my permission to beat me down.
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Bisous,
megohm.

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