Thursday, December 20, 2012

Pan fried dumplings


Every so often I concoct a random meal out of bits and pieces that need using up in the fridge. Sometimes I surprise myself with how well these experiments work and realise later I foolishly haven't recorded the recipe. Other times when I have made the effort to jot down notes, the meal hasn't been that great but at least I have something to work on for next time around.

The other night I made a big batch of dumplings with a bunch of leftovers in the fridge which turned out to be amongst the nicest dumplings I've made. Gyoza wrappers were nearing their best before date, cabbage was discolouring around the edges, mushrooms were becoming soft and I had mistakenly bought a bag of carrots even though I had a full bag in the fridge. To save time preparing the filling, I used my food processor to chop the onion and then the mushrooms. Whilst the onions were frying I attached the grating disc to shred the carrots and cabbage, so the only chopping I needed to do by hand was the garlic and ginger. After the vegetables had softened I seasoned them lightly with a bit of light soy sauce, tamari or regular soy sauce would also work well if you don't have this on hand.


One of my favourite kitchen gadgets is a set of dumpling presses I purchased from Minh Phat in Richmond, a huge Asian grocery store. From memory the set only cost $2 or $3, I believe they are worth their weight in gold as they create a neat finish with minimal effort and save copious amounts of time. All you have to do is place a wrapper on the press, spoon in a small amount of filling (being mindful not to overfill them) and press the little handles together. The edges of the wrappers can be moistened with a drop or two of water if the wrappers aren't sealing properly, although sometimes I find there is no need for this step.

Our preferred style of dumplings is pan fried, I probably only steamed dumplings once before we became hooked on the crispy pan fried style. After the dumplings are browned on each side, a splash or two of water is added to the pan which is covered briefly to create some steam which completes the cooking of the wrappers. As I was in a creative type of mood I made up my own dipping sauce to go with the dumplings. I don't have the precise measurements for this so I won't add it to my recipe list yet. It was a mixture of soy sauce (~3 tablespoons), sesame oil (~2 teaspoons) and a finely sliced birds eye chilli. Some minced garlic would have been been lovely in this too.


These dumplings were a household success, the man isn't fond of too much ginger and thankfully I hadn't gone over the top. There was no way the three of us were going to make it through a batch of 48 dumplings even though the young man managed to polish off 20 on his own! I was pleasantly surprised that the leftovers held up well when I enjoyed them cold for lunch the following day.


Pan fried carrot, cabbage and mushroom dumplings

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1.5cm piece ginger, minced
2 medium carrots, grated
400g green cabbage, finely shredded
100g portobello mushrooms, finely diced
2 tablespoons light soy sauce, tamari or regular soy sauce (approximate measurement, add to taste)
48 gyoza wrappers
Olive or peanut oil, for frying
Water, for the steaming step

Heat the olive oil in a large deep sided frying pan over medium heat and cook the onions for 5 minutes until softened. Stir through the garlic and ginger for a minute then add the carrot, cabbage and mushroom. Cook, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes or until the vegetables have reduced in size and softened. Stir through the light soy sauce and continue to cook until the mixture is fairly dry. Turn off the heat and transfer the contents to a large bowl. Allow the mixture to cool down before stuffing the dumplings (I put mine in the freezer for 15 minutes to cool it quickly).

Construct the dumplings using a dumpling press by placing a wrapper on the pressing tool, spooning a small amount of mixture into the centre and pressing the handles together. If you don't have a dumpling press and are feeling adventurous there are some folding tips and pictures here (be warned that this isn't a vegan site).

Heat a tablespoon of oil in a frying pan with a lid over medium-high heat. Place as many dumplings that will fit into the pan comfortably and cook for a couple of minutes or until browned. Flip them over and brown the other side. Splash a few tablespoons of water into the pan and cover with a lid. Allow to steam for 3 more minutes then remove the lid, if there is any liquid remaining allow it to cook off. Gently remove the dumplings from the pan with a spatula and continue pan frying the rest of the dumplings in batches.

Serve with your preferred dipping sauce.

28 comments:

  1. Listening to the wind howl and snow spin outside in a blizzard, I can't say if I'm more jealous of those perfectly fried dumplings or that sunny weather in the background! I adore dumplings, but have had an impossible time finding egg-free gyoza wrappers. Maybe I just need to venture to Australia to find them. I'll bring my swimsuit. :)

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    1. I do sympathise with your cold weather, I never enjoy our cold winters. I hope you are able to find some egg-free gyoza wrappers eventually, if not there are plenty around Melbourne (and lots of great swimming spots too)!

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  2. These sound lovely, and that last photo is brilliant :)

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    1. Thanks Kari, I really should play around with outdoor food shots more often.

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  3. I'm going through a dumpling phase right now. At the minute, kimchi is my favourite filling. That said, I've never met a (vegan) filling I didn't like. Looking at yours makes me want to go and put a pan on right now. Miso soup anyone...?

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    1. Dumplings are so comforting and the fillings can be really versatile too. My son's all time favourite filling is kimchi and tofu which I made when testing recipes for Vegan Eats World. I'll have to make another batch of kimchi one day just for the dumplings as they were pretty special.

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  4. 20 dumplings, wow! Sounds like your son could give Andy a run for his money in the big appetite stakes :)

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    1. 20 dumplings has become his standard number but that's because he loves them so much. His appetite isn't nearly as large when he isn't as keen on the meal.

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  5. Those plump and cute dumplings are making my mouth water. I will be looking for dumpling presses during my next visit to the Asian grocery store here.

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    1. Thanks Vaishali! Hope you can find a dumpling press, they really do make the task so much simpler.

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  6. How good are those pastry/pasta/dumpling moulds! I bought some for my Dad years and years ago from a mail order catalogue and I've made some great dumplings in them too. My favourite combination is silken tofu, spinach, water chestnut, shiitake and bamboo shoot. It's nice to see someone else using them as well :)

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    1. Thanks for stopping by! The dumplings moulds are so fantastic, I've used them to make filled pasta in the past too. I like the sound of your favourite combination too!

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  7. Love the last photo - such a great aussie summer pic - and your dumplings sound great. I steam mine because I tried to fry them once and found I got all flustered and over fried them - but should try again - I have those moulds from min phat and agree they are great once you get used to them

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    1. Thanks Johanna, I'm glad I took the opportunity to photograph my lunch that day! I don't mind steamed dumplings either but the others have shown a strong preference to the fried versions, I'm sure it took a few goes for me to be comfortable with the pan frying.

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  8. Pan fried dumplings are a favorite for me when I'm clearing out the fridge too--yours look great!

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    1. Thanks Jes, dumplings fillings can be pretty versatile so they are definitely a good way to clear out the fridge.

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  9. ::swoon:: These look SO tempting! Making dumplings has been on my to-do list for ages -- they're one of my faves -- but it seems near impossible to find egg-free wrappers here. As soon as I find egg-free wrappers (maybe I should just make my own?) I need to get a set of those helpful presses as well. Thanks for the inspiration :) Happy New Year!

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    1. Thanks Bobbie, what a shame you and Cadry have trouble finding egg-free wrappers. There is a recipe for the dumpling wrappers in Vegan Eats World but I'm happy to take the lazier option. Happy New Year to you too!

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  10. Make a good sauce and this is good for lunch already :)

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  11. Omg...my mouth is still salivating after reading this post! I'm going to have to make these this week. What a good idea for the dipping sauce too...I love sesame oil. It adds such a different flavor.

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    1. Thanks Colynn, sesame oil does add such a wonderful flavour to sauces as well as other foods. I'm totally hooked on it! Hope you enjoy the dumplings!

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  12. I think that I could eat 30 of these. They look so so good! I had some vegan dumplings out the other day and they were a bit dry. I would love to attempt my own. Great recipe!

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    1. Thanks Cass. Wow, 30 dumplings in a sitting is no mean feat! If you can hunt down the wrappers in an Asian grocer it will make the process a lot speedier.

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