Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Downton, Bowling, Birthday.

I can’t believe I was so absorbed in my book on Sunday night that I Downton Abbeymissed the first 20 minutes of Downton Abbey. I will have to catch up next Sunday, they repeat the last episode prior to the new one, luckily. Lots going on too, needed to catch up and then missed it.

Monday bowling was great for me, not so good for Matt. I enjoyed the afternoon and ended up with a 508 triple which isn’t too shabby at all. How long that level of bowling will last, I have no idea, but no doubt I will see on Thursday.

Today is Matt’s birthday so we are off to the Mandarin for lunch with Mandarinsome friends. Being Chinese New Year, the Year of the Horse, they will have lots of dumplings which, I may have mentioned, I absolutely love. So very good for my diet of course, but it’s only once a year. I will, of course, start with Hot and Sour Soup. Another great love of mine.

Here is a recipe for dumplings. Although not so authentic you can use won ton wrappers for these. We have, in fact, made these Pot Stickers and they were very good. Actually, Matt made them. He used to make a lot of Chinese things once upon a time. Of course you could just do as we are, go to a restaurant.

Chinese Pork and Shrimp Dumplings (Jiao Zi)

pork and shrimp pot stickers recipe

Yields thirty-six 3-inch dumplings.

  • by Thy Tran from Fine Cooking
A savoury pork, shrimp and salted cabbage filling, seasoned with ginger, garlic and scallions, is the most traditional filling for jiao zi. Butcher counters in Asian markets often offer several grinds of pork. For dumplings, use a coarser grind with more fat to ensure a tender, juicy filling. Hand-minced or ground beef or lamb, both typical in northern Chinese cooking, can be substituted for the ground pork and shrimp.
For the dough:
  • 6-3/4 oz. (1-1/2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour; more for kneading
For the filling:
  • 2 cups finely chopped napa cabbage
  • Kosher salt
  • 12 oz. ground pork
  • 8 oz. peeled, deveined shrimp, coarsely chopped
  • 3 medium scallions, thinly sliced
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbs. Shaoxing (Chinese rice wine) or dry sherry
  • 1-1/2 Tbs. grated fresh ginger
  • 1 Tbs. soy sauce
  • 2 tsp. toasted Asian sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp. granulated sugar
  • Freshly ground black pepper
To finish the dumplings:
Make the dough:
Pour the flour into a mound on a clean work surface. Make a deep, wide well in the center and pour in 1/2 cup cold water. Stir with your fingers, staying in the center at first and being careful that the water doesn’t breach the wall. Little by little, using your hand and a bench knife, mix in flour from the sides until the dough starts to come together. (Alternatively, put the flour in a medium bowl. Make a well, add the water, and stir first with a spoon and then your hand.) If the dough remains in shreds, sprinkle in additional water, a teaspoon at a time, until it begins to stick together. Don’t add too much water or the dough will be difficult to work.
Knead the dough for 5 minutes to form a smooth, firm, elastic ball. (If you began the dough in a bowl, lightly dust a clean, dry surface with flour before kneading.) The dough should not be sticky and should bounce back when pressed with a fingertip. Divide in half with a bench knife and roll into two 6-inch logs. Sprinkle each log evenly with flour, cover with a clean kitchen towel, and let rest for at least 30 minutes at room temperature before rolling and filling.
Make the filling:
In a medium bowl, toss the cabbage with 2 tsp. salt and set aside for 30 minutes to shed moisture. Wring out in a clean kitchen towel to extract as much liquid as possible.
In a large bowl, combine the cabbage with the pork, shrimp, scallions, garlic, Shaoxing, ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Stir until well mixed. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.
Cut and roll the dough:
If you have helpers, set up an assembly line and roll out each wrapper, then pass it along to the next person to fill. If you're filling all the dumplings yourself, it's best to roll out several wrappers, and keep them covered with a kitchen towel as you fill them, to prevent them from drying out.
Cut each log in half crosswise. Cut each half crosswise into thirds, and then slice each of those pieces into three even coins. You should have 36 pieces of equal size. Toss the pieces in flour to coat evenly and then cover with a clean towel so they don’t dry out.
Using a small rolling pin, roll a piece of dough into a thin 3-inch circle; with the dough in one hand and the pin in the other, roll from the edges toward the center as you rotate the dough. This rolling technique helps create a round with thin edges and a thicker center.
Fill and shape the dumplings:
Spoon 1 to 2 tsp. of the filling onto a dough circle, fold it in half, and then if you’re going to boil the dumplings, seal it by pinching along the curved edge. If you’re planning to pan-fry the dumplings for pot stickers, make your first pinch at the center of the curved edge and then pleat toward the center on both sides to create a rounded belly. This wider shape allows the dumplings to sit upright in the pan and form a flat surface for browning.
Repeat with the remaining wrappers and filling. As you work, arrange the filled dumplings in a single layer without touching on large plates, so they don’t stick together.
To cook: either boil the dumplings...
Bring a large (7- to 8-quart) pot of salted water to a boil. Working in 2 or 3 batches to avoid overcrowding, quickly add the dumplings one at a time, making sure they don’t stick to each other. Lower the heat to medium and continue to boil, gently stirring occasionally, until the dumplings float and are cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and serve immediately with your choice of dipping sauce.
...or pan-fry the dumplings
Heat 2 Tbs. vegetable oil in a heavy-duty 10- or 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Working quickly and in batches if necessary (adding more oil for the second batch if needed), arrange the dumplings belly side down in concentric circles starting from the outer edge. Cook until golden brown on the bottom, 1 to 2 minutes. Pour in about 1/2 cup water or enough to come about a third of the way up the sides of the dumplings, bring to a boil, cover, and cook until all of the water has been absorbed, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the lid, reduce the heat to medium, and continue cooking just until the dumplings are dry and crisp on the bottom, 1 to 2 minutes. Loosen the dumplings from the pan with a spatula. Invert the pan over a plate to flip the dumplings, browned side up, onto the plate (or transfer with a spatula). Serve immediately with your choice of dipping sauce,.
Make Ahead Tips
The dough can be covered with plastic and refrigerated for up to 8 hours. If refrigerated, return to room temperature before rolling. The filling can also be made up to 8 hours ahead and refrigerated. Filled, shaped dumplings may be covered and refrigerated for up to 4 hours or frozen for up to three months. To freeze, arrange just-formed dumplings in a single layer on lightly floured baking sheets and freeze for at least four hours. Once they are frozen through, transfer the dumplings to freezer storage bags. The dumplings can be boiled or pan-fried directly from the freezer; simply increase the cooking time by three to four minutes.

Have a great day


  1. Hi Jo .. Happy Birthday to Matt - the Chinese celebratory meal sounds good! I'm sure you'll enjoy your treat of dumplings! Glad too to read you had a good day at the bowling ... thankfully I rarely get hooked into tv shows - I haven't watched any Downton! But I expect at some stage I will ...

    Cheers and happy birth--day for you both .. Hilary

    1. Matt says thanks Hilary. I will eat a dumpling for you LOL.

      I don't normally get hooked into TV shows either, but DA is great.

  2. That recipe was very long. If it takes that many words to explain, I'd have no hope of doing it. So, does the year of the horse mean that there would be more dumplings than in any other year?

    And congrats on the good bowling streak, and Matt's birthday.

    1. That's why I suggested wonton wrappers Rusty, cuts out most of the work. Sadly no extra dumplings, but to what is there are I will be giving my full attention.

      Thanks from me and also from Matt.

  3. Happy Year of the Horse! Will have family over Sunday and plan to do some kind of Chinese menu. I have lots of party items left over from last year--fans, place mats, little dragon decorations. Wish we could discuss Downton, but would spoil it for others. I am not so sure of the story line, especially Anna's.

    1. I really had lots of dumplings today. You could always email me at jo.jo.wake at gmail.com

  4. I love Chinese food but my wife doesn't care much for it. I think she's mostly being influenced by rumors of what's in it, but I really have to go to the extreme to get her to go to a Chinese restaurant. Sadly we rarely go.

    Tossing It Out

    1. Pity, but most Chinese restaurants serve Western food just for such occasions. Couple of friends we used to go with, she ate Chinese, he didn't but it worked.

  5. Chinese food is pretty decent (in my opinion). Happy birthday to Matt!


    1. Thanks Gina. I agree, love Chinese food.

  6. I do love good Chinese food. Its really hard to fin the authentic restaurants. And you have to hit them peak hour to ensure the freshest food.

    Happy Birthday Matt!

    1. Not sure how authentic the Mandarin is. I am told what we get in the West is nothing like the food in China, but it is good. We always get there at opening time, 11:30 but I think your 'peak hour' theory is good.

      Thanks, will pass it on.

  7. Hooray for Matt's birthday! Hooray for high bowling scores! I don't suppose a hooray is in order for missing a favorite show though. :-)

    1. No hoorays for today's bowling scores either. They were dreadful. At least with the show I can catch it on Sunday, they do a repeat before the new episode.