dumpling sweatshop

by Stacy

The theme for this week is “catching up.” Over Memorial Day weekend, four friends came into town to visit another friend and me. Hilarity ensued!

Two friends arrived on Thursday morning, and after a short nap, they commandeered us into making dumplings! I call them gyoza, the Japanese word for Chinese dumplings. They were too busy eating dumplings to tell me if there was a different name for them.

You can buy pre-made wonton wrappers. I can’t, or my friends will disown me. If you want to make your own, mix approximately 2 cups flour with 3/4 cup water in a stand mixer and knead until tacky. You may need to add more water depending on how humid it is. Let dough rest for 20 minutes while you mix up your filling. After 20 minutes, form the dough into a long “snake,” about 1.5 inches in diameter. Use a sharp knife to cut the dough into slices about 1.5 inches wide. On a well-floured surface, roll each “blob” of dough into a thin circle about 4 inches across.

rolling out dumpling wrappers

It is helpful to have a rolling station and a filling station to keep your sweatshop assembly line moving quickly. We made two fillings: a giant batch of pork filling (in the pot), and a small amount of spinach and shrimp filling for me (in the bowl behind).

dumpling fillings

The fillings were very-loosely based on those recipes. The important ingredients were: meat/shrimp, minced scallions, minced Napa cabbage, minced ginger, and soy sauce. The rest is optional.

Take a wrapper and place it in the palm of your non-dominant hand. Scoop up some filling with a knife (about a tablespoon or so of filling) and place it in the center of the wrapper. Fold the wrapper in half and pinch the edges the together. If you’re fancy, you can add “pleats” to the edge, but plain is fine, too.

making dumplings

dumpling army

Once you have your dumplings prepped, it’s time to cook them. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add dumplings. Return water just to a boil and add some more water to keep it below boiling. When dumplings are all floating, they are done! Remove from water using a slotted spoon. You can also steam them or fry them to make potstickers!

pork dumplings

shrimp dumplings

Serve with dipping sauce: soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, sugar, water, Chinese black vinegar, ginger, and red pepper flakes. Adjust as needed.

Enjoy, preferably with friends!

yummy dumplings

You can also freeze the dumplings before boiling. Just freeze in a single layer, then store in a plastic zip-top bag. Do not defrost before boiling. It’s worth it to make extras for freezing as they can be a bit labor-intensive. Or recruit your friends for a dumpling sweatshop!

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