I have made dumplings once before, but simply headed to Chinatown to pick up a packaged of premade wonton wrappers. This challenge was going to be different because there would be no store-bought wrappers allowed. Jen encouraged the Daring Cooks to create a filling combination and dipping sauce that fit their tastes and lifestyle (vegan, gluten free, etc).
My filling decision was based purely on convenience. It has been a very busy month, so I simply created a filling with ingredients that were already in my fridge or pantry. Luckily there were some dried shitake mushrooms, onions, cabbage, garlic and lots of ginger. I chopped everything up nice and fine and then sauteed it all in my cast iron pot. As it cooled, I moved on to the fun of creating the wrappers to envelope my practicality-inspired asian fusion filling.
Jen’s dough recipe was already vegan (containing only flour and water), so there was no challenge involved in replacing eggs and dairy this month. But I decided to replace the all purpose flour with whole spelt flour instead. I am always more comfortable using whole grain flours because of the extra nutrients and fibre they contain. Unlike some of the other daring cooks, I didn’t find the dough dry at all and simply pulsed the ingredients together in my food processer and spent a few minutes kneading the dough to achieve a smooth, supple consistency.
I sliced the ball of dough into four strips and then rolled them into cylinders.
Each cylinder was sliced into 3/4 inch rounds and then flattened (with my palm). Then I rolled them out thin with my rolling pin and added a TBSP of my cooled filling.
For some strange reason, I enjoy the finicky steps the best.
Once the filling was added, I folded in the two sides and pleated the dough along each side.
The challenged allowed us to make either potsickers (pan-fried) or dumplings (steamed or boiled). I divided the recipe in half, added half of the dumplings to my bamboo steamer and left the rest in my freezer for a future potsticker experience.
After just a few minutes (I think it was about 7 actually), I sat down to taste my first made-from-scratch dumplings. They were fantastic. The filling was extremely gingery-which is high praise from me. I made a simple dipping sauce from Braggs, rice wine vinegar, sesame seeds and hot sauce.
I really enjoyed this challenge. I can’t imagine that I ever would have pushed myself to create my own wonton wrappers from scratch. But the whole dish took me less than 30 minutes to prepare and turned out to be flavourful, filling and fun.