One of my favourite chinese food that I don’t seem to eat enough of, is Jiao Zi also known as Chinese dumplings.
Be it boiled, steamed, or lightly pan-fried, I love them all. But Melbourne doesn’t seem to have any restaurants that do them well. I’m sure there are fantastic ones, but amongst the ones I’ve tried only Beijing Royal Dumpling House was outstanding. Unfortunately the restaurant is now closed, and we are once again without a fantastic dumpling outlet. Oh I’ve tried many, including Hutong Dumplings, Shanghai Dumplings, Dumpling King etc etc. Hutong Dumplings come close but their dumplings are so small and so stingy in portions in comparison to their price. Really, what’s a foodie to do when the dumpling craving hits a new high?
Make them yourself, of course.
What started out as a fellow food blogger being disappointed over the lack of good dumplings became a full blown dumpling party hosted by Thatjessho at her fantastic open plan kitchen. And the dumplings just kept coming. From boiled, steamed, to panfry; from gyozas to wantons, from beef, pork to lamb and vegetarian; it was an afternoon of fantastic fun of cooking, eating and photo-taking.
The ball of dough, sitting and waiting to be made into skins.
Jess made this up while I stood around and slacked.
While Penny and Jess made their own skins (and they were fantastic too!), I decided to go with store-bought as it was a hot day and it wasn’t a short drive from my house to the host kitchen. I didn’t want my skins to melt! Instead I brought mince beef for the filling that I prepared that morning. The recipe I used came from Not quite Nigella with a few tweaks here and there.
* 500grams mince beef
* 2 teaspoons salt
* 1.5 teaspoons sugar
* 1 tablespoons light soya sauce
* 4 shiitake mushrooms (diced)
* 3 stalks (green and white part trimmed) spring onion (shredded)
* 1 egg
* 1 teaspoon sesame oil, some pepper
* 1.5 tablespoons cornflour
I forgot to take a photo of the finished filling after all the mixing was done. But I’d like to note that I didn’t kept my sesame oil to one teaspoon. I added in a fair bit more and it really helped with the juiciness of the dumplings as well as keeping it beautifully fragrant. Just be careful not to overdo it, as you don’t want sesame flavoured dumplings instead.
Once everybody got there, we started the party and so began the process of filling up the skins and pleating them into little dumplings. It’s hard to take photos while you are trying to cook as well, so pardon the shoddy photos:
My little tray of dumplings, ready to be cooked!
Rows and rows of mince lamb dumplings at attention.
Mince lamb dumplings were courtesy of Cloudcontrol
It didn’t take long before the stove was fired up and incredibly amazing smells of dumplings started to waft through the place. Here’s a quick shot of some of the pan-fried beauties:
Not the best photo, but I was too busy trying to eat. I’m such a pig. Over the course of the day, we reckon we made 200-300 dumplings. We ate 90% of it and by the end of it, everybody was keeling over in dumpling heaven. I’m not complaining tho, I’d do it again in a heartbeat. I can’t remember what all the dumpling fillings were, tho I remember there being sweet potato, garlic and chives (this was so good, thanks Penny!), beef, pork and lamb. Did I miss any?
It was incredibly fun, thank you everybody who came, thank you to Penny for organizing and thank you to Jess for hosting! I hope we will be getting together again for the next cooking party!
And if you’d like to join in some cooking fun, why not join in the next Cook off? The theme is Red, so go nuts with that imagination!