Oneeda's Kitchen Blog

Thai Steamed Dumplings

Posted on: May 30, 2010

Ingredients:

For the wrappers:
30 circular wonton wrappers, each about 3 ½ inches across

For the filling:
1 cup raw ground pork (see vegetarian options below)
1 cup raw shrimp, peeled, deveined and finely chopped
3 sprigs coriander (cilantro) roots or substitute 3 cilantro stalks with all the leaves
3 cloves fresh garlic, peeled and chopped fine
10 whole peppercorns
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
6 water chestnuts, finely chopped
1 tablespoon tapioca starch (may substitute cornstarch).
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon Asian fish sauce (I use Three Crabs brand, use soy sauce for a vegan version)
1 teaspoon soy sauce

For an optional garnish:
2 tablespoons chopped fresh garlic
3 tablespoons oil

For the dipping sauce:
½ cup red rice vinegar
½ cup soy sauce
2 cloves fresh garlic, peeled and chopped fine
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and chopped fine
1 green onion, chopped fine

For the filling, mash the coriander/cilantro, 3 garlic cloves and the peppercorns in a mortar
and pestle or else just chop them as finely as you possibly can. Combine this with all of the other
ingredients for the filling.

To stuff the dumplings, first wet all the edges of the wrapper slightly, so that they will stick
together when you crimp the edges closed around the filling. Wet all of the edges all the way
around the wrapper. Work with one wrapper at a time because they dry out quickly and a dry
wrapper will not wrap or cook properly.

Place about 1 tablespoon of filling in the center of one wrapper. Fold the wrapper in half
to make a half moon shape and pleat and crimp the edges together for a good seal. Don’t use
too much filling, because the dumpling may hold together when you fold it but it will burst during
cooking. The other way to shape them is to draw all the edges straight up and seal them at the
top of the dumpling. Whatever shape you choose, after it is sealed lightly tamp the dumpling
down on a solid surface to dent the bottom of the dumpling so that it has a steady base to stand
upright on.

For the optional garnish, combine the 2 tablespoons fresh garlic and the 3 tablespoons
oil. Then you can either stir fry this very briefly or else microwave it for 2-3 minutes. The idea is
to heat it up just enough to infuse the oil with the garlic flavor. This makes a delicious topping
that you can brush on the finished dumplings just before steaming them.

To cook my dumplings I use an inexpensive double level aluminum steamer that I bought in
an Asian grocery store. Many cooks swear that the bamboo ones are the best but I find them
difficult to clean. Use a little oil on the cooking surface of a new steamer to ensure that the
dumplings do not stick. . Be careful not to put too much water in the steamer that it floods the
cooking surface or to little that the water all steams off and the steamer is damaged from
excessive heat with no water. Steam the dumplings on high heat for about 5-10 minutes.

An alternative to using a steamer is to freeze the dumplings and then brown them in a
heavy skillet with a little preheated oil. After the dumplings have browned, add enough water to
cover the bottom of the pan with about a quarter inch of water and cover tightly to steam cook
the insides of the dumplings. When the water is absorbed and steamed away, the steaming
sound will stop and that should signal that the dumplings are cooked through. Test one to make
sure since your stove may be hotter or colder than mine. Add more water and steam them some
more if you need to.

To make a vegetarian version of the filling recipe you may substitute any of the following:
cabbage, leeks, spinach, tofu or carrot. Just chop these finely and substitute them for the meat
to make two cups for the recipe. Vegans can skip the fish sauce and substitute soy sauce for a
good vegan version. But there are eggs in most dumpling wrappers so read the ingredients list
carefully. Try rice flour wrappers which have no eggs in them but they are dry so they must be
soaked in water briefly before stuffing them.

For the sauce, just combine all the dipping sauce ingredients. If you have ever had
Chinese steamed dumplings in a restaurant, this sauce will be a very familiar taste. No cooking is
necessary for this sauce. Just combine them and let them site for a while for the flavors to
develop.

Whew – this is a lot of work! But you can freeze these and use them when ever you want.
The dumplings are really good, so give this a try at least once.

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