For those of you not in the know, The Daring Bakers have formed another group known as the Daring Cooks and there is a whole new website called The Daring Kitchen. Now how cool is that?!!
The Daring Cooks had their first challenge last month which I sadly missed. I almost missed the challenge this month too but managed to sneak in in - just under the wire. So I guess that makes me a Daring Cook - and only one challenge late!!
Now the beauty about being a Daring Cook is that it gives you the opportunity to make something that you wouldn't normally do. Take this month's challenge for example. I'd happily make dumplings. In fact The Lovely Wife has made them before BUT, and this is the important point, I would always use ready made wrappers or wanton wrappers. NEVER would I have ever dreamt of attempting my own dumpling wrappers!
So I need to thank my friend Jen from use real butter for picking this great challenge.
I have to admit that when I saw the challenge posted, I was really excited. As I mentioned before, never would I have thought of making my own dumpling dough. As excited as I was though, I couldn't find the time to fit this in. It didn't help that I was a little unwell for a while nor that we went on a short vacation during the school holidays. Before I knew it, it was the 13th of June only ONE DAY before the posting date! Aaaarrrggghhhh!!
I actually, seriously contemplated just throwing in the towel and waiting for next months challenge. But that wouldn't be very Daring would it...
So I stuck in, and just after lunch, I made the dough. For the filling, I decided to mince some chicken, toss in some soy sauce and sesame oil and some chopped spring onions. Pretty basic I know, but I just wanted to test these little babies out.
The dough came together fairly easily and I used method 2 - Jen's mother's method - of adding 1/4 cup water to the flour and then slowly adding in more water. I ended up with slightly more than 1/2 a cup of water and the dough seemed fairly dry although after resting, it became a bit more supple.
Rolling it out was fairly easy and I didn't have too much trouble with folding the dumplings. I actually contemplated making potstickers as well as steamed dumplings but I was feeling a little lazy - not to mention an itchy throat and nose with flu symptons!
I also used lettuce to line my steamer rather than the napa cabbage called for in the recipe.
After placing the dumplings in the steamer, I was feeling rather proud of myself and waltzed out into the living room where the kids and The Lovely Wife were watching tele.
The Cocky Rooster in me puffed out its chest and jiggled a jig as I proudly raised my arms and crowed "I can make dumplings now, I can make dumplings now!"
Tghe Lovely Wife looked up at me strutting and puffing and brought me down to earth. "You dont know how it will turn out . Remember Pride comes before the Fall" she said. The Lovely Wife is always keeping me in check.
My son however, had other ideas. He quickly retorted. "Mummy, Daddy said he CAN make dumplings. It doesnt matter if it is nice or not. He didn't say he can make nice dumplings." That's my son, Michael, ever the genius!
My Princess Sarah though had the most faith in Daddy.
"Mummy, if Daddy makes it, then it WILL be nice." she stated with a smile. Ahhh, my ever trusting Daughter!
6 minutes later, I took the dumplings out and plated them.
The kids were very eager to try them out...
They both proclaimed that the dumplings were indeed nice! Only problem though was that some of the plated bits were a bit tough and rubbery. Still tasty though as we all polished them off very quickly! We ate them with Chilli & Garlic sauce and it was very, very tasty.
Lessons learnt would be to roll out the dough a little more thinly the next time. My pleating would need some improvement too as although it looked fine the pleated area was a little tough and rubbery, as mentioned earlier. All in all though a very succesful and tasty effort. Still tasty though!
Once again, thanks to Jen for this great challenge!
2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (113g) warm water
flour for worksurface
200 g mince chicken
3 stalks green onions, chopped
1 inch ginger - pounded
1 - 1.5 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp (28g) sesame oil
Combine all the ingredients together and set aside.
Make the dough, Method 1: Place the flour in the work bowl of a food processor with the dough blade. Run the processor and pour the warm water in until incorporated. Pour the contents into a sturdy bowl or onto a work surface and knead until uniform and smooth. The dough should be firm and silky to the touch and not sticky.[Note: it’s better to have a moist dough and have to incorporate more flour than to have a dry and pilling dough and have to incorporate more water).
Make the dough, Method 2 (Jen's mom’s instructions): In a large bowl mix flour with 1/4 cup of water and stir until water is absorbed. Continue adding water one teaspoon at a time and mixing thoroughly until dough pulls away from sides of bowl. We want a firm dough that is barely sticky to the touch.
Both dough methods: Knead the dough about twenty strokes then cover with a damp towel for 15 minutes. Take the dough and form a flattened dome. Cut into strips about 1 1/2 to 2 inches wide. Shape the strips into rounded long cylinders. On a floured surface, cut the strips into 3/4 inch pieces. Press palm down on each piece to form a flat circle (you can shape the corners in with your fingers). With a rolling pin, roll out a circular wrapper from each flat disc. Take care not to roll out too thin or the dumplings will break during cooking - about 1/16th inch. Leave the centers slightly thicker than the edges.
Place a tablespoon of filling in the center of each wrapper and fold the dough in half, pleating the edges along one side Keep all unused dough under damp cloth.
To boil: Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add dumplings to pot. Boil the dumplings until they float.
To steam: Place dumplings on a single layer of napa cabbage leaves or on a well-greased surface in a steamer basket with lid. Steam covered for about 6 minutes.
To pan fry (potstickers): Place dumplings in a frying pan with 2-3 tbsp of vegetable oil. Heat on high and fry for a few minutes until bottoms are golden. Add 1/2 cup water and cover. Cook until the water has boiled away and then uncover and reduce heat to medium or medium low. Let the dumplings cook for another 2 minutes then remove from heat and serve.