Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Asian pan seared dumplings

Everyone knows I love to cook... I truly enjoy my time in the kitchen and it is one of few places where I am relaxed and happy ( unless I just burned something or sliced my hand... but that is another post).  However, even I have the "I hate the kitchen" kind of days.  Contrary to popular beliefs, I do get lazy sometimes.  This usually happens after I complete some kind of major cooking project.  A project where I obsess over the menu for weeks, cook for 2 days and make enough food to feed an army.  These projects are also known as any type of family gathering, birthday parties, Thanksgiving or any time I just want to create a reason to try thirty new recipes.  I am always afraid I will not have enough time to cook and eat everything I ever want to unless I do it "RIGHT NOW".  But I am regressing... back to laziness.
When occasionally I do feel like if I have to clean the stove or wash a dish one more time, I will kill someone, I go for the freezer.  There are a few things in there that are worth eating and they did not come from the supermarket's frozen isle ( not that there is anything wrong with that).
I can make a hundred of these dumplings, freeze them and any time I feel like a bum, put on dinner in 10 min.  It also helps that my daughter loves to makes these and turns them out with the speed and neatness of a factory machine.  Kids are useful after all!

For the dumplings:

1 lb of ground beef or pork ( or a combination)
1 tbs of fresh grated ginger
1 tsp of Tai fish sauce
1 tbs Soy sauce
1 tsp of Asian hot sauce
2 cloves of garlic finely minced or pasted
2 scallions diced
1 egg
Salt and Pepper to taste

1 package of frozen rice flour dumpling wrappers, thawed in refrigerator overnight.  The wrappers are sold in any Asian market in the frozen food section and come in a variety of shapes.  I prefer round ones.

2 tablespoons of toasted sesame oil
stir fry oil or any high temperature frying oil.
1/2 cup of soy sause
Ponzu sauce for serving

Prepare the filling.  Combine the ground meat, ginger, fish sauce, soy sauce, hot sauce, garlic, scallions, salt and pepper.  Mix with your hands until all ingredients are evenly combined.  Add the egg and mix until incorporated.

Prepare a baking sheet layered with wax paper.  Trace around the edge of each wrapper with a wet finger or wet pastry brush.  Fill with meat and seal by folding in half.  Firmly press on the edges to make sure they are sealed.  Place each dumpling on the wax paper in a single layer and make sure they do not touch each other, or they will stick.  You may need more than one baking sheet.
Place the filled dumplings in a freezer right on the baking sheets.  Let them freeze thoroughly before storing in a zip top bag or cooking.  It takes about 5 to 10 hrs for them to be frozen solid.
You can store these in a freezer for 1 month.
When ready to cook, bring up chicken stock or water to a boil.  In a separate skillet heat the sir fry oil.  Place the dumplings in batches of 5 or 6 in chicken stock.  Allow to cook for about 3 min ( at this moment you will find out if you did a good job sealing the wrappers, if you did not they will fall apart).  Take the dumplings out with a slotted spoon and fry them in a prepared skillet until they are nice and golden and the wrappers become crispy and begin to shrink.  In the last minute of frying add a little of the sesame oil and a splash of say sauce.  You can work in batches by keeping the fully cooked dumplings warm in a tray in a 250F oven.  Serve with scallions and Ponzu sauce for dipping ( or say sauce with a splash of lemon juice). 


Enjoy the lazy dinner!  Leftovers make a great lunch the next day!

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