Monday, January 21, 2013

Chinese Dumplings with Minced Beef


I received a pack of cards with illustrations showing items from Chinese culture including traditional food and drinks. The first card was one with dumplings on it giving some information on the word itself in Chinese language. I was happy to see that people noticed my curiosity in Chinese culture especially Chinese cuisine. So, inspired by the first card in the pack and motivated by the hunger we felt on Saturday afternoon, I decided to make some Chinese dumplings with minced beef. However, since the necessary ingredients to stuff the dumplings with, following Ken Hom's recipe on BBC Food Recipes, were difficult to get immediately, I decided to use the same recipe with a slightly different stuffing a completely different sauce which gave the dumplings an air of traditional Turkish cuisine. You can compare the original recipe with mine below and see the changes. Well, let me tell you about the result. It was terrific! Although it was my first time, it was a success. We devoured them right away!

 
Interestingly, dumplings can be found in Bosnian cuisine in a different shape and they are called "klepe" in the local language. The photo shows two different stuffings, one with spinach and the next one with minced beef.
  





Ingredients

For the dough
140 g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
125 g very hot water
 
For the stuffing 
110 g minced beef 
1 tsp finely chopped ginger
 ½ tsp salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 medium onion 
1 clove garlic
½tsp sugar
1 tbsp olive oil

To cook
1 liter water
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsps salt

For the dipping sauce
16 tbsps yogurt
1 clove garlic, finely chopped or minced
ground paprica
1 tbsp olive oil

 

 

Directions

  1. For the dough, place the flour into a large bowl and stir the hot water gradually into it, mixing all the time with a fork, until the water is incorporated. Add more water if the mixture seems dry.
  2. Tip the dough mixture onto a clean work surface and knead it with your hands, dusting the dough with a little flour if it's sticky. Continue kneading until it is smooth - this should take about eight minutes. 
  3. Put the dough back in the bowl, cover it with a clean damp towel and let it rest for about 20 minutes.
  4. For the stuffing, while the dough is resting, combine the stuffing ingredients in a large bowl and mix them together thoroughly. Set aside.
  5. After the resting period, take the dough out of the bowl and knead it again for about five minutes, dusting with a little flour if it is sticky.
  6. Once the dough is smooth, shape it into a roll about 23cm long and about 2.5cm in diameter, using your hands.
  7. With a sharp knife, slice the roll into 16 equal-sized pieces. Using your hands, roll each of the dough pieces into a small ball and then, with a rolling pin, roll each ball into a small, round, flat, 'pancake' about 9cm in diameter.
  8. Arrange the round skins on a lightly floured tray and cover them with a damp kitchen towel to prevent them from drying out until you are ready to use them.
  9.  
 

9. Place about two teaspoons of filling in the centre of each 'pancake' and moisten the edges with water. Fold the dough in half and pinch together with your fingers. 


10. Pleat around the edge, pinching with your fingers to seal well. The dumpling should look like a small Cornish pasty with a flat base and rounded top.
11.Transfer each finished dumpling to the floured tray and keep it covered until you have stuffed all the dumplings in this way.

 
12. * Bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Put the dumplings into the boiling water. Simmer gently for about 12 minutes. Uncover the pan and continue to cook for a further two minutes. 
13.  For the dipping sauce, combine all the dipping sauce ingredients, except paprika, together in a small bowl.
14.  To serve, remove the dumplings from the pan with a large slotted spoon and serve with the dipping sauce. Sprinkle with paprika.
 

* You can, alternatively, cook the dumplings gently in a saucepan for about two minutes until they are lightly browned. In that case, remember to heat some vegetable oil into the saucepan first and then add the dumplings.

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