Who doesn’t love dumpling? They’re the perfect little bite of food, conveniently wrapped up in a neat little package that you can just pop in your mouth, bursting with flavor.
As for making dumplings, the fun (and “difficult”) part is deciding what to fill them with, as the possibilities are endless.
Today, I used a combination of ground lamb, chopped shrimp, ginger, and plenty of herbs — cilantro, basil, and mint — which impart a bright, fresh component to the dumplings.
Of course, you can change up the filling depending on your preference. Don’t like lamb, substitute ground pork or chicken. Add fresh vegetables, such as thinly sliced cabbage…really, within reason, you can’t go wrong.
Do you have a favorite filling?
You can steam, pan-fry, or even deep-fry the dumplings. I prefer them pan-fried so they get nice and browned and crispy on the bottom, yet remain soft and tender to the bite.
Definitely need more practice when it comes to shaping my dumplings. Don’t get discouraged if your dumplings don’t look perfect. They’ll still taste fabulous.
I folded (or at least attempted to do so) the wontons into two different shapes: 1) the flower bud (which looks like tortellini) and 2) the nurse’s cap (which looks like a flying nun’s headpiece). I used this video (Andrea Nguyen’s; chef and author of Asian Dumplings) as a guide. She makes it look so easy.
You can certainly use store-bought wonton wrappers, but if you’re feeling inspired, homemade wrappers are not difficult to make. Just all-purpose flour and water — and rolled out thin with a rolling pin.
Used this recipe as a guide for making wonton wrappers.
Lamb and Shrimp Dumplings
enough filling for about 40 dumplings
1/2 pound ground *lamb
1/2 pound cleaned, deveined shrimp, chopped
2 large green onions/scallions, finely chopped
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
2 tablespoons dry sherry
2 teaspoons corn starch
2 teaspoons sesame oil
4 tablespoons freshly chopped cilantro
4 tablespoons freshly chopped basil
2 tablespoon freshly chopped mint
pinch of cayenne or hot pepper flakes
homemade or store-bought wonton wrappers
In a large bowl, mix all ingredients (except wonton wrappers) until well combined.
Place 2 teaspoons of the filling in the middle of a wonton wrapper. Fold to desired shape. Repeat with the
Pan Frying the Dumplings
Heat 1-2 tablespoons of oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. When the pan is very hot, place the dumplings in a single layer, flat side down. Let the dumplings cook until the bottoms are golden brown, about 2-4 minutes.
Add about 1/2 cup of water to the pan (enough to fill the pan about 1/4-inch). Cover and reduce the heat to medium. Cook 5-7 minutes until the water is evaporated. Repeat with the remaining dumplings.
*Substitute ground pork if you prefer.
Note: you can shape the dumplings and then freeze them (in an air tight container). Then just defrost and pan-fry as described above.
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce or tamari
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons grated ginger
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 large scallion, thinly sliced and chopped
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
pinch of cayenne
Add all ingredients to a bow. Whisk until well combined.