Saturday, July 03, 2010
This weekend it will be all about me trying to post up backlogged recipes before I... uh... completely forget about them.
One of the challenges of my cooking sprees is how to deal with leftovers. When you have only one other person to (hopefully) indulge in your kitchen output there are bound to be times when the fridge end up with a tub of sauce or a portion of meat in danger of being neglected to the point of their demise in the trash. Sometimes I half the recipe but then there are some things that's just not worth the effort if made in small portions.
A fine example would be the chicken burger. I made the recipe for four patties but as you can see from the evidences, I got a little carried away with achieving the super-size effect and was left with only a small bowl of patty... which brought me to chicken dumplings. I love soup, noodles and dumplings. The combination is one of the best in Chinese cuisine if I may say so, slap a big bowl in front of me on any day, at any time and it will be gone in a jiffy.
Having never made my own dumplings before, armed with some homemade chicken stock, wanton noodles and a pack of rice flour wanton wrappers, I set out to lovingly parcel the filling. Wheat flour wrappers (the yellow kind, usually round) are easier to work with but these square ones proofed to be quite a challenge. I botched the first two and later discovered that the trick is to ensure there are no air pockets while sealing the edges. Be sparse with the water to stick the wrapper too as a little over will cause the wanton skin to crack.
I deep fried half of it and cooked the rest as is. It took much willpower to stop myself from eating the fried ones once they are cooked. If you feel a little fancier you may want to add in some prawns, chopped mushrooms and water chestnuts to wrap a larger version of the dumpling called sui kow (水饺). The act of wrapping dumplings is highly therapeutic I must say, something that entire family members gather around to do whenever possible those days before modern advances and hectic lifestyles got the better of us, demoting dumpling making to be only during the festive seasons.
I made the dry version of noodle for Vijay as he is not much of a Chinese-style thin broth person. If you do serve it dry, have the dumplings swimming in a small bowl of broth on the side.
Chicken Dumpling Noodle
- Half a recipe of the chicken burger patty
- A packet of rice flour wanton wrappers (I used square ones)
- A few tablespoons of water for wrapping
- Peanut oil for deep frying (optional)
- 4 bundles of wanton noddles
- 4 to 6 stalks of choy sum (or any other greens like bok choi or kailan)
- 2 liters of water
- freshly ground pepper to season
For soup noodles:
- 1 1/2 liters chicken soup
For dry noodles:
- 1/2 liter chicken soup
- 3 tablespoons oyster sauce
- 4 tablespoons light soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon peanut oil (if you fried the wantons, use the leftover oil)
Wrap the dumplings:
Work with the wrappers cold from the fridge. Place the dumpling wrapper on your palm and put about 3/4 tablespoon of filling in the center of the wrapper. Do not overfill as the wrapper can break easily.
Wet two neighboring edges of the wrapper and carefully fold up the dry edges against the damp, avoiding air pockets, forming a triangle. Press the edges to stick but not to firmly. Wet one point of the triangle base and gently bend the other end to meet it, press to stick the ends. Place the wrapped dumplings on a tray or plate.
Cook the dumplings:
For the plain dumplings, bring the chicken broth to a boil and carefully place the dumplings into the soup. Cook on medium heat. Add the vegetables after the dumplings are cooked. Set aside.
For deep fried dumplings, heat about 1 1/2 inches of peanut oil in the heavy based saucepan to 375°F. Once the oil is ready, using a slotted spoon or a small spider, place the dumplings into the oil one by one. Fry in batches for about 1 minute or till golden brown, not overcrowding the pan. Place on a kitchen paper lined plate to cool.
Prepare the wanton noodles:
Bring the water in a large saucepan or wok to boil. Cook the noodles for about 2 minutes. Remove and pass it through a basin of cold water. Drain thoroughly. If serving with soup, ladle the broth, wantons and vegetable onto the noodles in a serving bowl. For dry noodles, mix all the sauce ingredients in a bowl. Add the noodles and toss to coat evenly. Place the noodles into the serving bowl, remove the vegetable from the broth and arrange it with the noodles. Serve it with a bowl of dumpling soup on the side.
The dumplings can be made ahead and frozen for future applications. Flash freeze them spread out on a baking sheet till hard before storing into a freezer bag or container.
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