Today’s post is all about overcoming your fears. That statement may be a little melodramatic, but hear me out. I don’t know about you but, for me anyway, there have always been aspects of cooking/baking that have intimidated me. Things like: making a pie crust from scratch (which I totally overcame in this post), french macarons, and pretty much any type of bread. Steamed dumplings were on the list too, until I decided to “buck up” and conquer my fear by watching lots and lots of youtube videos. After watching my millionth (I seriously lost track) video of someone folding their dumpling wrappers into intricate shapes, I knew I was ready.
And so, the next day I went to my local Asian market for my supplies. I grabbed a steamer (shown in the photos, they run at about 8-12 bucks), some bok-choy, dumpling sauce, and then went looking for my dough. I knew I didn’t want to make the dumpling dough from scratch, so I cheated a little, and bought pre-made dumpling wrappers (NOTE: These can be found in either the refrigerated or frozen section, but I prefer refrigerated. Also, these are vastly different from potsticker wrappers so don’t confuse them!). They were a little bit trickier to fold but, for my first time, I thought they turned out beautifully.
After doing this recipe with a bunch of women for a cooking group, I can promise that everyone was surprised at how easy these are to make. You just need to know a few simple tricks. First, when you are preparing to fold the dough make sure to wet the edges with water. I did this with a basting brush, but your finger would work just fine. Second, if using a wooden steamer (like the one in the photos) be sure to spray each layer with PAM so that your beautiful dumplings don’t stick (this happened to me, and it was quite sad).
The last thing you need to know is how to fold the dumplings (For how to fold the spring rolls see the recipe, below). I used three different methods in the above photos; the potsticker, purse (the top is left open), and the bun (the top is twisted). I had hoped to be able to make a video showing each method, but until I can make one, I will do my best to explain each version.
1. Potsticker: This is the simplest of the three. Simply take the dumpling wrapper and wet the top half (using your finger, or a brush. Then, add the meat mixture (about 1 TBS. worth) and fold the wrapper in half. Before closing, push the end of one side if the wrapper in towards the middle. There should be two flaps, take the one closest to you and press it down at the top of the dumpling, making a fold. Do this with the other side.
2. Purse: Place your index and thumb together, forming a circle. Take a dumpling wrapper and place on top of your index and thumb fingers. Using a spoon, gently press about 1 tsp of meat mixture into the circle, stretching the dough. Continue to add meat until the pouch is 3/4 full. Then, pick up the dumpling using the very tips of your fingers and gently press it onto a counter, forming a flat surface. Pinch the top, rotating your hand as you do so, to form the purse shape you see in the above photos.
3. Bun: Take a dumpling wrapper and wet around the entire edge. Fill with about 1-2 tsp of mixture (this dumpling will hold the least amount of meat). Using your fore and middle fingers, gently pleat the dough together continuing around the entire dumpling. If you are having difficulty with the dough sticking to itself, simply wet your fingers. Once you have finished pleating, grab the top-most fold and twist in a counter-clockwise motion.
You guys are going to LOVE these! If you have any questions about the process (I know this was a lot to read) please ask in the comments section! I will do my best to help clarify 🙂
- Dumpling Wrappers:
- 1 package dumpling wrappers
- 1 bottle dumpling dipping sauce
- 1 package ground turkey (about 16 oz)
- 2 TBS. Sriracha
- ½ cup shredded carrot
- ½ cup shredded green cabbage
- A few cracks ground pepper
- 1 TBS. fresh ginger (I used a micro-plane zester)
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- Spring Rolls:
- 1 package spring roll wrappers
- 2 cups shredded carrots
- 1 thinly sliced cucumber
- 2 mini-bok-choy
- 2 cups shredded green cabbage
- 1 bottle of sweet chili sauce (I found mine at Trader Joe's)
- I. Dumplings
- In a food processor, pulse together (about 5-8 times) the turkey, soy sauce, ginger, sriracha and pepper. Then add the carrot and cabbage and pulse together another 3-4 times. Put mixture into a medium-sized bowl and set aside. Place a medium-sized pot (should be small enough for the steamer to rest on top of) with about 1.5 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Using the meat mixture, fill the dumpling wrappers as instructed at the end of the post. Layer dumplings in the steamer and place on top of the pot of boiling water. Let steam for about 13 minutes, or until the meat is fully cooked. Repeat until all of the filling has been used. Serve immediately with the dumpling dipping sauce.
- II. Spring Rolls
- Fill a large bowl with warm water. Pre cut all of the vegetables, and have ready. Taking one spring roll at a time, immerse in the water for about 10 seconds. Remove and lay on a clean, dry surface. Fill with desired veggies, and roll (I like to tuck the ends in, then roll). Serve immediately with the sweet chili sauce.