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Recipes Can Meet Dietary Needs: Dumplings

by Susan Braverman

Food as Herbs, Health, and Medicine

Winter Volume: 1995 Issue: 2(4) page(s): 7 and 17

In honor of Chinese New Year, I have adapted Pan Fried Meat Dumplings, an item common for this holiday and often available in restaurants, from Chinese Seasons by Nina Simonds (Boston, Houghton Mifflin, 1986 on page 157). By modifying several of the ingredients common in dumplings, their fat and sodium have been decreased considerably, and the flavor of the product is not diminished. First, is the recipe written in the style recipes are presented in Flavor and Fortune. Modifications follow my adaptation of the recipe.
Pan-fried Meat Dumplings
Dumpling skin ingredients:
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup ice water
1. Combine the flour and salt in a mixing bowl
2. Using a pastry blender or two cleavers, cut the butter into the flour until the mixture has a course consistency.
3. Add the water and mix lightly until the dough comes together.
4. Form the dough into a ball, sprinkle lightly with flour; wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for thirty minutes.
5. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a large rectangle about one-sixth of an inch thick. Using a two-inch round cutter, cut out circles. Gather the scraps into a ball, chill briefly, and continue this process until you have used all the dough. Cover the skins with a damp cloth. This should make about 36 skins.
Filling ingredients:
4 cups chopped Chinese Napa cabbage
1 teaspoon salt
1 ans a quarter pounds ground pork
2 cups chopped Chinese chives or leeks
Seasoning mix ingredients:
and 1/2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 Tablespoon rice wine
1 and a half teaspoons sesame oil
1 and a half teaspoons ginger root
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
Ingredients to put the dumplings together:
36 dumpling skins
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup hot water
1/2 Tablespoon flour
Dumpling preparation:
1. Place the chopped cabbage in a mixing bowl; add salt and toss lightly to mix evenly. Let stand for twenty minutes to moisten evenly.
2. Take a handful of cabbage and squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Place in a bowl. Repeat this procedure for the rest of the cabbage.
3. Lightly chop the ground meat until fluffy. Add to the cabbage, along with the chives or leeks and the seasoning ingredients and stir to combine evenly.
4. Place a tablespoon of the filling in the center of one dumpling skin.
5. With water, lightly dampen the edge of the skin with your fingers and fold over the skin to form a half-moon shape. Press the edge tightly to seal with the filling completely enclosed. Repeat for the remaining dumplings.
6. Heat a wok or a well seasoned skillet. Add the vegetable oil and heat until hot. Arrange the dumplings so that they are packed fairly closely. Do this in two batches, if necessary. Fry them over medium high heat, until the bottoms are brown.
7. Mix the hot water with the flour and add to the pan of dumplings. Partially cover and cook them for ten minutes until the dumplings are cooked and the liquid has evaporated.
8. Uncover and cook until the bottoms of the dumplings are very crisp.
9. Use a spatula to loosen dumplings that seem to be sticking and invert the pan to unmold directly onto a serving platter.

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