Chinese Dumplings

Our hosts for September were Heather of Randomosity and the Girl and Temperance of High on the Hog. (The pictures through out the post are from Judy of Culinary Escapades, Rayrena of I Love Happy Cows and Kat of A Good Appetite. Here is what Heather posted.

I have long been a fan of Chinese food and the recent Summer Olympics in Beijing have made me crave the delicious dishes even more. One dish that I have always loved to eat is dumplings. While I love dumplings at restaurants, I had never been able to make a decent looking or tasty dumpling at home. So my co-host, Temperance, and I thought this would be a perfect challenge for us in September.
Chinese dumpling or Jiaozi, generally consists of minced meat and chopped vegetables wrapped into a piece of dough. Popular meat fillings include ground pork, ground beef, ground chicken, shrimp, and even fish. Popular mixtures are pork with Chinese cabbage, lamb with spring onion, leeks with eggs, etc. Jiaozi are usually boiled or steamed. Jiaozi is a traditional dish for Chinese New Year's Eve. Family members gather together to make dumplings. (1)

The recipe we have chosen is simple but it allows for variation. If shrimp and turkey isn't your thing, pork and chicken are other options. Or you can go straight vegetable filling if you prefer. You can also pan fry the dumplings instead of steaming. I've tested the recipe both ways and each way is delicious.

Shrimp Dumplings
Prep Time: 20 min, Cook Time: 20 min, Makes 24
4 large shiitake mushrooms
3 scallions
1/2 garlic clove
8 ounces shrimp, peeled and deveined
6 ounces ground turkey
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
3 dashes of hot red-pepper sauce
24 dumpling wrappers (see recipe below)

Dipping Sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon dark sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger or 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

1. Coat a steamer basket with a non stick cooking spray and set aside. In a small saucepan, soak the mushrooms in boiling water to cover for 15 minutes, then drain. Remove and discard the stems; cut the caps into quarters.

2. In a food processor, combine the mushroom caps, scallions, and garlic and whirl until coarsely chopped. Add the shrimp and whirl until finely chopped. Transfer to a medium bowl and stir in the turkey, soy sauce, oil, and red-pepper sauce.

3. Place 1 tablespoon of the shrimp mixture in the center of each dumpling wrapper. Dampen the edges with water, the fold up the sides around the filling, pleating the edges. Place in the steamer basket, leaving 1/2 inch of space between the dumplings for the steam to circulate. Set over boiling water, cover, and steam for 15 minutes.

4. For the dipping sauce, in a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, vinegar, honey, oil, and ginger. Serve the dumplings hot with the dipping sauce.

Personalize it!
For a different flavor, use ground pork in place of the ground turkey. You can also drop a pinch of chopped scallions into the dipping sauce if you like

4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cups boiling water

In a stainless steel bowl mix flour and salt. Slowly add hot water to flour in 1/4 cup increments. Mix with chopsticks until a ball is formed and the dough is not too hot to handle. On a floured surface, knead dough until it becomes a smooth, elastic ball. Place back in bowl and cover with a damp cloth. Allow to rest for at least 1 hour. Working on a floured surface with floured hands, roll out dough to form a long 'noodle', 1-inch in diameter. Cut 1/2-inch pieces and turn them over so the cut sides are facing up. Flatten with your palm and roll out thin using a rolling pin. The dumpling wrapper should end up about 3 inches in diameter. (2)

Source: Extraordinary Meals from Ordinary Ingredients, ©2007 The Reader's Digest Association, Inc.
(1) Wikipedia link for Dumplings
(2) Ming's Dumpling Recipe

Quotes From the Forum:
Although I do love the pre-packaged skins from Chao's... Less preparation and cooking time, more eating time! I am glad that I can say I tried it from scratch though, my yeye and mama L would be proud.
Jen of Delightful Delicacies

I subbed tofu for the shrimp and turkey, and they tasted great! I ate way too many of them, and was uncomfortably full for awhile, but they were worth it. Great pick!
Debyi of Healthy Vegan Kitchen

All and all these were quite a treat and easier than we expected. We made a little dim sum feast that night that also included chive pancakes and sesame beans.
Kat of A Good Appetite