Thursday, December 2, 2010

December 2nd- Hawaiian Style Chinese Dumplings

     When you bite into a Chinese dumpling, aka Pot sticker, the last thing you expect is the bang of ham, pineapple, and cheddar cheese! Though the reactions people gave me upon trying it said that it was anything but unpleasant.

     I've been rolling this recipe around in my head for nearly a month now, and I decided today would be the day that I finally tried it.
     I LOVE making dumplings. it's a lot of work and takes a long time but something about it keeps dragging me back. Crafting every single one right down to the dough has a way of making you care that every single one gets eaten and appreciated to its fullest.

     This batch of dumplings was extra large because I felt that the filling being so much more American, needed a bigger bite. I made them twice the size of your average dumpling and about 2 or 3 alone make a satisfying meal.
     I almost used American cheese, figuring it would blend well with the other ingredients, but I opted for a sharp cheddar that would stand out instead.
     This recipe makes 18 of them. But be sure to make a little extra filling just in case.

Here's what you'll need!

Dumpling dough-
3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups just boiled water (cool for about 2 minutes)
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 cup ham, chopped small
1 1/2 cup pineapple, also chopped small.
3/4ths cup sharp cheddar cheese, chopped small
18 spinach leaves
Olive oil or Sesame Oil
Black cracked pepper

If you don't have them, you may also want to invest in a rolling pin, a dough cutter, and a steamer of some sort. I just use a strainer over a pan of water.

Lets get cooking!

Make the skin-
      First comes the dough. Boil you water and put your flour in a bowl. Once the water is boiling, take it off of the burner and let cool for about 2 minutes.
     Add the water and egg yolk to your flour and mix it into a dough. You'll likely need to use more flour than I listed. Just keep adding more as you knead until you get a nice soft dough that doesn't stick to your counter or hands... Which should also both be well floured, by the way.

Make the filling-
      Set the dough aside in a covered bowl, and in wok or pan mix your ham, cheese, and pineapple. Stir under low heat until the cheese begins to melt.
     Take the filling off of the burner and set aside and Take your dough back out.

Make the dumpling!-
      Knead the dough briefly and add a bit more flour only if needed. Cut the dough into 3 pieces, then cut those in half. and then cut THOSE into 3 pieces. You will end up with 18 medium sized dough balls. Try your best to cut evenly! (If you want to make traditionally sized dumplings, cut all of those in half one more time.)
      On a surface that should still be well floured and kept that way, form the balls into circles, squish them down your your hand. then roll them flat with a rolling pin. They will get pretty big once they are flattened out. do your best to keep them in a round shape.
      Once all your dough balls have become dumpling sheets, take out your spinach and lay one leaf (slightly smaller than half of the dumpling sheet ) on one side of the sheet, leaving a half inch of room for pressing closed.
      Add a small amount of filling ( 2 tbsp is a good estimate, but feel free to experiment until you've found an amount that will easily close but still makes a mouth full )
      Fold the skin over and press down hard to seal. use fork prongs if your fingers wont do the trick. or a dough cutter as a last resort.

     Now comes the easy part, Just steam them for 12 minutes. Once they're all steamed, break out a frying pan and coat liberally with oil. sprinkle in your preferred amount of black pepper and fry on both sides until golden brown. (I use a lot of pepper and fry 3 or 4 at a time. it only takes maybe a minute and a half for both sides to get done. )
     Be careful not to burn them. they will burn FAST with all that hot oil underneath them!

     As delicious as they are, don't forget to share. They're most fun eaten in groups.
Of course...that doesn't mean you shouldn't get the most!

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