Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Asian-Inspired Dinner

I have always wanted to make my own dumplings. It's just like making perogies, which I've made before, but with totally different ingredients. I've only made perogies a couple of times, and while it's pretty time-consuming, I really enjoy it. It's a great rainy day activity - you can throw on some tunes and spend the afternoon making a huge batch to freeze for another day.

I went to T&T to buy ground pork and some dumpling wrappers. I was surprised to find quite a selection of wrappers - round, square, wonton, gyoza, etc. I decided on the gyoza wrappers, which worked out perfectly. The dough was really nice and fresh, and I only used maybe a third of package, so I froze the rest. And, as you can tell from the picture, after cooking, it turned out exactly like gyozas you can get in restaurants, but tastier.

I wanted to eat something other than the gyoza, so I also made Vietnamese spring rolls. They are super easy to make and you can put anything you want inside. It's really satisfying to make meals that we typically only eat at restaurants, have them turn out really great, and be able to control the ingredients and flavours at the same time.

Pork Gyoza
Print recipe

Adapted from Joy of Cooking
Yield: 20 dumplings

1/2 lb lean ground pork
2 tbsp leeks, finely chopped
1/4 cup Chinese cabbage, finely chopped
2 tbsp green onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, grated
1 tbsp ginger, grated
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
20 round gyoza skins
  1. Combine all ingredients except gyoza skins together in a large bowl.

  2. Stir vigorously with a fork to break up the meat. If the mixture seems loose, add more cornstarch.

  3. Place 1 packed tablespoon of the filling in the center of each of the skins.

  4. Brush the edge with water and fold in half to make a half-moon shape. Press out the air and seal edges together well.

  5. Place sealed dumpling on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

  6. To cook, add a few dumplings into a pot of boiling water, stir gently to prevent sticking, return to a boil, and boil for 7 minutes.

  7. Remove with a strainer and repeat with remaining dumplings.

  8. Serve immediately with soy ginger dipping sauce.

Soy Ginger Dipping Sauce
Adapted from Martha Stewart Living, February 2010
Yield: 1/2 cup

1/4 cup soy sauce
3 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp ginger, grated
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp green onion, finely chopped
  1. Combine all ingredients together in a bowl.

Vietnamese Spring Rolls
Adapted from Joy of Cooking
Yield: 6 rolls
Print recipe

1/2 lb lean ground pork
1/2 large carrot, shredded
1 cup bean sprouts
1/4 cup mint leaves
1/2 cup cilantro
1 cup rice noodles
6 sheets rice paper
  1. In a medium pan, cook the ground pork. Set aside.

  2. In a medium pot, cook the rice noodles as directed on the package. Set aside.

  3. Fill a large bowl with hot water. Have a kitchen towel in front of you.

  4. Soak one sheet of rice paper in the hot water, immersing it completely. As soon as it becomes pliable, 1 or 2 minutes, carefully remove it and lay it flat on the towel.

  5. Place one-sixth of the cooked noodles, carrots, sprouts, mint, cilantro, and pork along the center of the rice paper.

  6. Fold the sides of the rice paper over the filling, then roll up tightly into a neat cylinder.

  7. Set seam side down on a large platter. Cover with a damp towel to keep moist.

  8. Repeat with remaining rice paper and ingredients.

  9. Serve immediately with sweet chili dipping sauce.

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