Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Pork & Shrimp Dumplings

Pork and shrimp is a popular combination in Chinese cooking. I've seen the two brought together before in various dumpling fillings, but the duo really shines in these particular dumplings.

The shrimp is not only chopped and mixed in with the ground pork, but also featured in lump chunks atop each mound of pork within the wrapper. With each bite you'll experience a bit of juicy pork along with a piece of shrimp to really get the best of both worlds.

Although I love the texture of homemade dumpling wrappers, I really appreciate the ease and convenience of using good quality store-bought wrappers. This recipe makes the perfect amount of filling for a 1 pound package of dumpling wrappers.

You can definitely steam these dumplings if you prefer, but my favorite way to cook dumplings by far is to pan-fry them. It's an easy and quick process that yields crispy, chewy morsels perfect for snacking and yet hearty enough to comprise a meal.

Pork and Shrimp Dumplings
Makes about 45 dumplings
(Adapted from Hey There, Dumpling!)

24 extra-large (26/30-count) shrimp, shelled and deveined
12 ounces (340 g) ground pork
2 teaspoons minced shallot
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons rice wine
1 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 (1 pound/455 g) package round dumpling wrappers
Toasted Sesame-Soy Dip (recipe follows)

Cut 15 shrimp into thirds crosswise; cover and refrigerate. Finely chop the remaining 9 shrimp and transfer to a large bowl along with the pork, shallot, soy sauce, wine, ginger, salt, and pepper. Use your hands to work all the ingredients together until well-mixed. It's the best to use your hands because you can get everything incorporated into the meat without making the pieces of meat too small.

If you have time, cover and refrigerate the filling until nice and cold, up to 2 days. The filling will be easier to spoon into your wrappers when it's chilled.

Take out five wrappers and cover the rest with a damp dowel. Lay out the five wrappers like ducks in a row. Wet 1/2 inch of the rim of each wrapper. Scoop a 1/2 tablespoon of filling into the center of each wrapper, shaping it elongated like a football to make it easier to fold. Press 1 piece shrimp on top of the pork. Fold the wrapper in half like a taco and pinch the edges at the top center. Continue folding the dumpling using your preferred folding method.

At this point, the dumplings can either be cooked immediately, covered and refrigerated for up to a couple hours, or frozen.

To pan-fry the dumplings, use a medium or large nonstick skillet (or cook two batches at the same time using two pans). Heat the skillet over medium-high heat and add 1 1/2 tablespoons oil for a medium skillet and 2 tablespoons for a large one. Place the dumplings 1 at a time, sealed edges up, in a winding circle pattern. The dumplings can touch. Medium skillets will generally fit 12 to 14 dumplings, large skillets will fit 16 to 18 dumplings. Fry the dumplings for 1 to 2 minutes until they are golden or light brown on the bottom.

Holding the lid close to the skillet to lessen splatter, use a measuring cup to add water to a depth of roughly 1/4 inch (about 1/3 cup water). The water will immediately sputter and boil vigorously, Cover with a lid or aluminum foil, lower the heat to medium, and let the water bubble away for 8 to 10 minutes, until it is mostly gone. When you hear sizzling noises, remove the lid as most of the water is now gone. Let the dumplings fry for another 1 or 2 minutes, or until the bottoms are brown and crisp. Turn off the heat and wait until the sizzling stops before using a spatula to transfer dumplings to a serving plate. Display them with their bottoms facing up so they remain crisp.(Alternatively you may steam these dumplings in a bamboo steamer basket lined with parchment paper or cabbage leaves.)

Serve the dumplings with the Toasted Sesame-Soy Dip.

Toasted Sesame-Soy Dip
Makes about 1/2 cup
(From Hey There, Dumpling!)

1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 garlic clove, smashed
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
Pinch freshly ground black pepper

In a small bowl, stir together all of the ingredients with 2 tablespoons water. If you have time, cover and refrigerate the mixture overnight. Pick out the garlic and throw it away before serving. The dip can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.


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