Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Fen Guo: Pork-Shiitake Dumplings in Rice Wrappers

Similar in construction to gyoza, these dumplings have skins made from rice instead of wheat flour.   The rice skins are sturdier and chewier, probably because they have to be a little thicker in order to not fall apart in the absence of gluten.  It was plenty sticky, though.  As the only ingredients in the dumpling dough are rice and water, that part is a bit bland, but a necessary counterpoint to the flavorful filling and dipping sauce.

I made the filling with pork, shiitake mushrooms, dried shrimp, onion, rice wine, soy sauce and cilantro.  The cilantro came from the freezer, and I think it had lost some of its punch.  I will make this recipe again when the fresh cilantro is up - I think it would taste amazing.

The first few dumplings I shaped using the authors' method: roll a ball of dough and then squish it under a flat surface until it attains a certain thickness and diameter.  Then I discovered it was a lot easier just to shape the dough with my hands like clay.  That was much faster and easier than scraping sticky rice dough off of the bottom of a glass bowl, destroying the shape in the process.

After shaping and sealing twenty-nine dumplings, I steamed four them on a bed of lettuce (to keep them from sticking to the steamer) and put the rest in the freezer.

The soy-vinegar dipping sauce will wake you up.  I made it this time with 2 T soy sauce, 1 T Chinkiang vinegar, 1 t sugar (I used Rapadura), and 1/2 t sesame oil.  The other ingredients may be commonplace, but that vinegar sure gets my attention every time.

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