I suppose that people reading this blog will have got the idea that I really like Chinese food at the moment and they wouldn’t be wrong. In fact, I really like Chinese food all the time. I like the simplicity, the way you can make lots of interesting dishes from a fairly small pool of ingredients and, mainly, I like how it tastes.
I really like Dim Sum in all its variations and pork dumplings made using wonton wrappers are one of my favourites. You can deep-fry or steam the dumplings and this time I chose the latter.
You can buy wonton wrappers in Chinese supermarkets. They are either square or round and look like very thin sheets of pasta. They are pretty cheap to buy and any you don’t use can be frozen for future use.
1 pack of ready-made round wonton wrappers
250g minced pork
a small bunch of Chinese chives, finely chopped
1 tablespoon of light soy sauce
1 tablespoon of Shaoxing rice wine
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of ground Sichuan pepper
1 tablespoon of potato flour (or cornflour)
So, all you have to do is mix all the ingredients together and put a teaspoonful of pork on each wonton wrapper. Then, wet the edge of each wrapper with cold water, fold in half and pinch together, ensuring that you expel as much air as possible. You can do clever things with crimping and folding to make an attractive finished dumpling. but that is beyond me. In any case, it doesn’t affect the way they taste, which is the important thing.
When they are all made you can deep-fry them, poach them in water or steam them. I have one of those Chinese bamboo steamers with stackable layers (incredibly good value, I’ve had it for about 20 years), so I steamed them.
Line the steamer trays with lettuce leaves, place the dumplings inside, crimped edge upwards and steam for around 15 minutes over a pan of boiling water. It helps to keep in the steam if your steamer fits snugly over the pan.
When cooked, serve immediately with some little bowls of soy sauce, Chinkiang black rice vinegar and maybe some sweet chilli sauce for dipping.
You could vary the pork stuffing by adding some minced prawns, some finely chopped wood ear fungus or some Sichuan preserved vegetable. I suspect that a tablespoonful of Chinese olive vegetable might be a good addition too, but I’ve not tried that yet. Note that Chinese olives are a different thing to Mediterranean ones, Olea europaea, they are from a tree called Canarium album.