I have a horrible addiction to Asian food. Lately, it's gotten so bad that I've started to seek out mail order sources of frozen edamame and shumai that can live in my freezer for whenever the urge to spend the evening munching on appetizers and swilling sake hits without my needing to drop $30 on delivery each time. Mr. Scoop stared at me incredulously when he found out the subject of my research. Afterall, he knows that I love to cook. So, why would I want to have frozen items on hand like some common shlub who's highest culinary aspiration is to bring home "Carside To Go" take-away from Applebee's?
Well, the easy answer is that I've been putting in a lot of time at work and I'm pretty damn exhausted when I get home these days. But that's not really an excuse. Mr. Scoop was right. I'm perfectly capable of making these things myself. So today I made a huge batch of dumplings, some with beef, scallions and ginger and some with crab and shrimp. I froze half of them and I still have some of each filling left, so that stuff will either be made into more dumplings and frozen later this week or I will find some other application for it.
Wonton wrappers are the uber convenience product of the new century, in my not so humble opinion. I have an incredibly small kitchen so, for the moment, I draw the line at making my own pasta dough for recipes. I just don't have the space. Wonton wrappers can be used for everything from pierogies to Nutella Ravioli.
Fillings For Dumplings
2 T. chopped ginger
2 garlic cloves, sliced
4 T. soy sauce
1 T. sesame oil
1 T. sherry
dash of red pepper flakes
1.25 lbs lean ground beef
Blitz the first 7 ingredients together in a food processor until thoroughly combined. Add the ground beef and pulse until all the ingredient come together in a ball. Scrape into a bowl and keep chilled until ready to use.
Crab and Shrimp Dumplings (based on a Ming Tsai recipe for shrimp mousse, that used to be on ming.com but is now gone.)
6 oz. cooked lump crabmeat
8 oz. raw shrimp (peeled and deveined)
1 stick of unsalted butter, cubed and kept cold
2 t. soy sauce
1 t. sesame oil
Pulse all ingredients together until well combined, but not paste-y. You should still see some chunks of butter. Scrape into a bowl and keep chilled until ready to use.
To construct the dumplings, place a teaspoon of a filling in the center of a wonton wrapper. Wet the outside edges of the wrapper with a little water and fold over the edges until you've formed a triangle. Squish the edges until well sealed (but be careful not to rip the wrapper). Keep covered under a damp paper until ready to cook.
If you assemble all of these dumplings at once, you will probably need two packages of wrappers. You're going to end up with about 100 dumplings.
To cook these dumplings, I follow Alton Brown's instructions for cooking potstickers: heat a pan to medium (ok, I go to medium high and I spray it with Pam first). Add the dumplings in a even layer on the bottom of the pan. Cook without touching for 2 minutes (I cover the pan). Uncover the pan and add 1/3 cup chicken stock or water. Cover the pan again and reduce the heat to low, cooking for about 2 more minutes. Remove cooked dumplings to an oven safe plate and keep warm in the oven until all dumplings are cooked. You may need to wipe out the pan between batches.
I'm enjoying the dumplings today with the Morimoto beer put out by Rogue Brewery. It's an interesting brew, very crisp with some malt and a little hoppiness going on. Not too bad.
Rogue apparently has created a chipotle beer as well. I'd like to give it a try if I ever see it in a store around here. I bet it would be a good liquid to braise beef in for chili. Mmmm. Chili.
But, first I'm going to need to finish all these dumplings.
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