Dumplings are easy to make and can contain virtually anything you want. These Northern Chinese lamb dumplings have fantastic texture and a gentle spice hit from the cumin. This recipe will make approximately 30.
500gm lamb mince
½ medium brown onion, finely diced
100gm wombok (Chinese cabbage), finely shredded
20gm garlic chives, chopped finely
2 tsp Shaoxing wine (Chinese cooking wine)
1 tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp coriander seeds
¼ tsp ground white pepper
3 tbsp peanut oil + extra
round gow gee wrappers
Making the dumplings
Lightly dry toast the spices in a frying pan then crush to a fine powder with a mortar and pestle. It’s fine to use pre-ground spices but you need to cook them as it helps release and deepen the flavours. If you are using pre-ground, mix the ground spice to a tablespoon of water and add to the onion in the next step after it has become translucent.
In the same frying pan over a medium heat, gently sauté the onion until it is soft. You are not trying to caramelise it.
Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and make sure they are really well combined. It can be done with out one, but I prefer to use a food processor. I like the texture that it produces and often mince my own meat in the processor too. I think it binds together better.
To shape the dumplings, place a heaped teaspoon of filling in the centre of a wrapper, dip your finger in water and run along half the wrapper. Gently lift the other half over and pleat it from one side of your half moon to the other firmly pressing down as you go. This sounds complicated, and there is a knack to it, but after a couple of tries you should get the hang of it. If not, just press the two sides together without the pleats.
Cooking the dumplings – it’s as easy as 1, 2 or 3
1. Steam for around 8 minutes
2. Boil in hot water until dumplings float
3. Pan fry in 2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil for 5 minutes until base is crispy and golden, then add half cup water to pan, put lid on, and steam until water is absorbed.
Serve the dumplings with a dipping sauce made from soy sauce, finely sliced spring onion and red chilli. If you would rather avoid the heat of the chilli, add some finely julienned ginger.