I have to say that I love the concept of the International Incident Party, which was conceptualized by Jeroxie: Addictive and Consuming. The topics are broad and open to a variety of interpretations, which is perfect because sometimes living in Bulgaria it is hard to find all the ingredients that are required of other events and contests.
This month’s musings are dumplings. I had hoped to find an African dumpling, but there were few that I could find online (If you happen to know of an African dumpling, please share the recipe.), so I decided to ask my hubby what kind of dumplings he would like and the first word out of his mouth was Chinese.
Before moving to Bulgaria, I rarely cooked, not that I didn’t want to but, working full-time in the television industry, a 45 minute commute, plus having kids leaves little time for anything else. Living in Astoria, we had a fantastic selection of take-out menus, which we used way too often. When we moved to Bulgaria, one of the things we missed most was take-out, especially Chinese. Usually, when we land at JFK airport, it is in the evening around dinner time, so we stop an pick up Chinese food or my family actually has it at the house waiting for us. I can imagine the taste of the wonton soup and egg rolls….Mmmmm!
I inherited Chinese: The Essence of Asian Cooking from my Uncle Bruce, who was a passionate cook and lover of take-out, so I assumed that it was his intention to recreate Chinese delights at home. Having so many cookbooks that don’t receive enough attention, I decided to let this one inspire me and inside was a recipe for dim sum.
As for the cultural accuracy of the dim sum recipe, I can not be sure. It was simple enough and with the exception of the bamboo shoots, which I substituted with scallions fresh from the garden, I had all of the ingredients on hand.
Scallions: fresh from the garden.
I served the dim sum with a dipping sauce that I found on Epicurious by Ming Tsai. Our party truly was an international incident; aside from the dim sum, I happened to make ciabatta bread earlier in the day, so we also had salad of tomatoes and mozzarella with fresh ciabatta. (I am working on a recipe to share with you all and I am experimenting with different techniques and dough hydrations.)
For my first try I would have to say the the dim sum were quite tasty. For the next time and there will be a next time I will roll the dough a little thinner an try to divide the pieces of the dough evenly. While some of the dumplings had just the right amount of dough to meat ratio, others were a bit too doughy, more like a wonton, which isn’t a bad thing.
Dim Sum (Adapted from Chinese: The Essence of Asian Cooking)
Serves 6 – 8
2 1/2 cups of flour, all purpose
1/2 cup boiling water
1/2 cup cold water
1 tbsp vegetable oil
12 oz ground pork
1/2 cup finely chopped scallions
1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp dry sherry
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp corn starch
cabbage leaves to line the bamboo steamer (if you have one)
To make the dough sift the flour, then combine all the ingredients into a sticky mass, turning onto a lightly floured surface and knead till smooth. Then let the dough rest for 20 – 30 minutes covered with a damp towel or plastic wrap.
Divide the dough into even pieces, then form a ball and roll out with a rolling pin about 1/8″ thick. Keep the dough that you aren’t using covered with plastic wrap or a damp cloth, so it doesn’t dry out.
Put the ground pork in a bowl and season with a pinch of salt. In separate bowl whisk together soy sauce, sherry, sugar and oil till the sugar is dissolved. Add the scallions and mix together with the pork, mix, then add the corn starch and combine thoroughly.
Add a 1/2 tbsp – 1 tbsp of mixture onto the rolled out dumpling dough,
then pinch the edges together to form little “purses”.
**I used a bamboo steamer (thank you Queer Eye) for the dumplings, if you don’t have one, use whatever you usually use to steam stuff or research online other dumpling steaming options.
Line the bottom of a bamboo steamer with cabbage leaves and place enough dumplings, so the steam has room to move around. Let them steam for 5 – 10 minutes. Enjoy and serve with dipping sauce!
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