Fried dumplings with pork and leek, the recipe I told myself when I was executing it that I was not going to do it again, and when I tasted it I was looking forward to doing it again.
What are the dumplings though? The dumplings are small balls of flour dough and inside are stuffed with either meat, vegetables, or seafood. They come from China where one can taste steamed, fried, or even boiled.
According to legend, the dumplings were first made in the time of the Three Kingdoms, in 225 AD. Their filling varies among regions and can be easily adapted to personal preferences and seasons. For the first time, I tried fried dumplings with pork and leek.
Three types of dumplings
Boiled dumplings: For the Chinese people, dumplings are mostly boiled. Boiled dumplings are soft and juicy. It is considered as a staple dish, especially for north China, a dish that is eaten throughout the year.
Fried dumplings: Fried dumplings or also known as pop-stickers. Fried dumplings are more crispy and chewwy than boiled. Also a very popular dish throughout China, mainly as street food or a side dish.
Steam Dumplings: Steam dumplings are the least popular compared to the other two. In China they are mainly served as a side dish and sometimes as breakfast.
In China, making dumplings is considered as a ritual. It’s a process involving almost the whole family, from the youngest to the oldest. The older one, who has the necessary experience, also makes the most work. When the dumpling party starts, one prepares the filling and someone else the dough. Everyone will get involved.
What is the proper filling for the dumplings
The most exciting thing about the dumplings is the filling. And that’s because there is no limit. The filling can be easily adapted to everyone’s preferences as well as to the seasons. But there are some guidelines that we need to follow to ensure the ultimate tasty result.
Harmony: The filling for the dumplings should be balanced. Be sure to add the necessary amount of fresh season vegetables with the meat or seafood of your choice. You can add some carrots, cabbage, mushrooms, leeks and even celery.
Fat: As with most recipes, wherever they come from, one of the most important factors is fat. In most dumplings recipes the filling contains minced pork or lamb, meats that have the necessary fat. So, for those who will use chicken, beef or even shrimps, our Chinese friends add extra pork fat, cooked. Generally, a dumplings filling should contain meat that contains 30% fat.
Marinade: In Chinese cuisine, marinade plays a very important role. Before you start wrapping your dumplings, be sure to leave the meat with the herbs and sauces in the fridge for at least 1 hour. Preparing the filling is a process that can be done from the night before.
Humidity: Dumplings should be juicy but not greasy. So pay attention to the vegetables that you add to the filling. If you use vegetables that are moist enough, take some time to prepare them properly. Fry them slightly or marinate them with salt for 10-15 minutes to remove excess moisture. Meanwhile, the vegetables should be added to the meat mixture just before wrapping the dumplings.
What about the dumplings dough
Dumplings dough isn’t hard to make, don’t be afraid. It just needs some attention during the wrapping procedure, and this is because the dough dries up relatively quickly. So before you start to roll out the dough you should already have the filling ready and work methodically. If you are two people it is better, as one will roll out the dough and the other will fill them. If you are all alone, make dumplings in groups of 10 so that they do not dry.
Fried dumplings with pork and leek
For the dumplings dough
- 300 gr flour
- 160 ml hot water
- 2 gr salt
For the filling
- 400 gr minced pork
- 1 carrots, grated
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1/2 tbsp freshly ground pepper
- 1 tbsp soya sauce
- 1 tsp teriyaki sauce
- 1 tbsp freshly ground ginger
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp hot olive oil
- 2 leeks, chopped , the white part
- 2 green onions, chopped
- 50 gr chives
- 2 tbsp sesame oil , plus for frying
For making the dough
- Mix the flour with the salt and then drill a hole in the center and add the hot water. Then knead the dough for 8-10 minutes either in the mixer or by hand until the dough is almost smooth. Cover the bowl with a clean towel and let it rest for 15 minutes.
- Then knead the dough for 2-3 minutes to have a very smooth dough. Cover again and allow the dough to rest in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. If after 1 hour the dough is not relatively soft leave it to rest more.
- When the dough becomes soft and smooth, divide it into 4 equal pieces. Start with one piece and return the rest back to the fridge. Roll the dough and make 10-gram dough balls. To be sure of size it is good to use weight them. Sprinkle with flour and make sure they do not stick together.
- Then with the help of a rolling pin we roll out each ball to 10 cm diameter disc. At this point the filling should be ready because otherwise the dough will dry and then the edges will not stick together. Add about 1 tablespoon of filling to the center of the dough and then fold the wrapper over the filling and, using your fingers, pleat the edges to seal. Repeat with the remaining fillings and wrappers.
For the filling
- In a bowl add the minced pork, carrot, salt, pepper, teriyaki sauce, soy sauce, ginger, and eggs. Stir well with a wooden spoon.
- Then add the chopped leeks and one of the two chopped onions. Pour in hot olive oil. This helps to bring out their aroma.
- Stir the filling and leave in the refrigerator for 1 hour. You can prepare the filling from the night before.
- Chop the chives and mix 2/3 of them with sesame oil. Leave the rest of the chives aside with one onion for garnishing. Add to the mixture.
Frying the dumplings
- In a non-stick frying pan add some sesame oil and fry the dumplings on medium heat. Add a few dumplings, cooking them in batches.
- When the bottom of the dumplings has a golden brown color, add half a cup of water and cover immediately the pan with a lid. The vapors will cook the dumplings. Continue cooking until the water evaporates, it will take around 15 minutes.
- After the water evaporates, lower the heat slightly and continue cooking until the bottom of the dumplings becomes crunchy again.
- Garnish with chopped onions and chives. Serve with some teriyaki sauce.
So, this was my first attempt to explore Asian cuisine. A kitchen with so many unexplored trails for me.
As a newbie, I searched and tracked down everything I needed to know about the filling and the dough for these delicious fried dumplings. Don’t forget to keep balance between your main ingredients and your vegetables, fat and moisture.
Come on, jump into the kitchen and make your own dumplings, the result will make you so happy. Remember that if you make dumplings with friends then your dumplings will become even more delicious.