Dumpling Dinner Party

It seems like I’ve been ho-ing it up with Hobag a lot lately.  Well maybe it’s because none of the rest of my so-called “friends” ever asks me to hang out hmmm???  It’s likely your loss because if you’re not hanging out with me, you’re probably not eating all that well.  Hobag’s donut and my food baby speak to the very fact that when together, we eat REALLY well.  For a change of pace, Hobag invited me to a little dumpling making party.  The original party was getting out of control with the head count going upwards of 10 people.  So that was scraped and a new party was planned with just 4 of us, 5 if you include the dog.
I missed most of the prep that went into the dumpling filling making.  Hates Food Porno gave me a rough rundown of the ingredients.
Shrimp, Pork, and Chive Dumplings
(makes ~100 dumplings)
2 lbs shrimp
1 lb ground pork shoulder
2 big bunches of Chinese chives
1 egg
1 tsp cornstarch
1/3 of a 16 oz bottle of sesame oil
Salt and chicken bouillon to taste
I’ve made plenty of dumplings at home, but this by far had to be the best tasting one.  Paucity of ingredients?  I guess most other dumpling recipes have soy sauce, cooking wine, and ginger from what I’ve noticed.  Ground pork is usually used and the ratio of shrimp to pork is way higher than what I’ve seen.  Lastly, Hates Food Porno’s recipe uses way more sesame oil than I’ve ever seen before as well.  Though, maybe it was the chicken bouillon powder that added that specialness.  It’s a ragtag recipe, but I’m saving it to try on my own one of these days.
I think the tip I picked up here was to stop overstuffing my dumplings.  I think I get super greedy and want to put a ton of stuff in each wrapper.  Each wrapper can only accommodate so much filling and will usually tear when pushed to its limit.

To give you a point of reference, the almighty and ubiquitous Yogurtland spoon was used to fill our dumplings.  Hobag was all out of silver spoons that night.

My other beef with homemade dumplings, compared to the restaurant kind, is that the dumpling skins are usually thin and easily turn to mush if overcooked.  I like my dumpling skins on the slightly thicker side, but you’re never going to find that in a store bought variety.  I’ve looked into making my own skins, but that is waaaay too much work for me.  This brand was on the thin side, but actually had a great al dente texture so was a nice middle ground to my preferred dumpling wrapper texture.  I think we went through about 4 of these.

We interrupt your regularly scheduled program to bring you this simultaneously sad and adorable face to make you say “awwwww.”  If you’re not saying that or some variation on that right about now, it means you have no soul.

This was my plate of perfectly folded dumplings.  Hobag’s was quite pathetic looking.  It was not blog worthy.

Chinese people do this weird thing to time the cooking of their dumplings.  Boil your water, then add dumplings.  Once it comes to a boil, you add another cup of water and bring it to a boil again.  Repeat this 2-3x and your dumplings are cooked.  I wonder if Chinese know about this thing called a kitchen timer??

I contributed the sauce which everyone was going bizerko for.  If you’ve ever eaten the spicy wontons at Din Tai Fung, I modeled my sauce to taste like that.  The secret ingredient is five spice powder.  I don’t have all the ratios written down.  I just add and taste as I go, but it’s basically soy sauce, water, sugar, five spice powder, and this special chili oil to taste.  I’m not sure how I would describe this thing, aside from its English labeling “spicy chili crisp.”  It’s soybean oil, chilies, Szechuan peppercorns, sugar.  Last time I was at 99 Ranch it had a huge front display so it must be something you could find at your local Asian supermarket, maybe not a Korean one though.  The sauce will still taste pretty bomb even without the chili oil.  I promise you, the secret is in the five spice.

Nom nom nom!

Obviously, it is much easier to boil frozen store bought dumplings.  There are some pretty fantastic ones out there, but there’s a freshness that can’t be beat with the homemade kind.  Thanks to Hobag for hosting and to Hates Food Porno for sharing her dumpling recipe.  If you really want to know the exact ratio of ingredients for the sauce just drop a comment and I’ll go figure it out and repost.  I figure most of my readers are more of the types to partake in the eating than to create the things to be eaten.

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