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Sunday, October 21, 2012

Fried Dumplings (Sui Gow) 炸水饺

A tasty snack almost comparable to wontons, these dumplings make one of the few items that can be made in bulk ahead of time and kept frozen for future use anytime perfectly. Rightly frozen, it makes an all-time convenient add-on to many different meals - soupy or dry noodle, as a side dish served with rice in our everyday meals, or a snack served simply on its own. Being somewhat related to wontons, dumplings are probably just another version of wontons, both within the same family with slight differences between the two. With both wrappers similarly based on flour, they differ only in shape these wrappers take - round for dumpling and square for wontons. Round dumpling skins are generally thicker in texture, probably designed to do a better job in encasing their relatively more elaborated fillings compared to the wontons. Otherwise, they both are generally wrapped pockets filled with a combination of meats and vegetables.

The filling mixture for dumplings often differs, chosen and tailored to personal preferences. The most popular few meat choices are pork, shrimp and chicken, all of which are commonly enhanced with mushroom, carrot, water chestnut, cilantro, spring onion, chives and I once had some with dill even, giving different hypes to the dumplings in terms of texture, taste and colors. As flexible as they can be, they are great boiled and served with soup, simply steamed and served with dipping sauce on the side or deep-fried to perfection, as featured here in this post. 

Fried Dumplings (Sui Gow) 炸水饺
Makes approximately 15 dumplings
1/4lb ground pork
8 shrimps (weighing around 1/3lb), shelled and deveined
1-2 tsps of ginger, minced finely

1/4 carrot, peeled and chopped finely
2 shiitake mushrooms, reconstituted and chopped finely
1 tbsp cilantro, chopped finely
Oil for deep frying

Meat marinade
a dash of white pepper powder
a pinch of salt
1 tsp light soy sauce
1/2 tsp corn flour

Shrimp marinade
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp sugar  

1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp oyster sauce
a pinch of salt
a pinch of sugar
a dash of white pepper powder

1. Marinade the pork with the meat marinade and set aside. 

2. With the shrimps, coarsely chop them up and marinade with salt and pepper.
3. Mix the ground and shrimp in a bowl. Add in the carrot, mushroom and cilantro.
4. From the minced ginger, using hands, squeeze out as much ginger juice as possible into the mixture before adding in the remaining ginger pulp. 
5. Add in the seasonings, fold with a spoon to mix everything thoroughly well.
6. Working on one wrapper at a time, lightly wet the edge with water.

Spoon in about 1 tbsp of filling and place right in the center of the wrapper.

8. Begin wrapping by bringing two opposite sides to meet. Press firm to seal.  

9. Trace your fingers around, sealing it around the filling neatly. Repeat with the rest of the fillings.


10. In a wok, heat up enough oil for deep frying. Test the oil by dipping one end of a wooden chopstick into the oil. If the oil has been well heated, a stream of tiny bubbles will form around it. Give it another minute more to heat up otherwise.

11. Turn the heat down to medium-high and fry the dumplings in batches until they turn golden brown. At times, the heat may have to be turned down further if the dumplings brown too much or too soon.
12. Remove from heat and drain well on a paper towel.
13. These are best served after they cool down slightly post frying but remain crispy still.

When made in a large batch meant for keeping, they have to be frozen in the right manner. They are to be frozen individually, separated from one another. If left to freeze in contact with one another, they harden collectively as one, which makes separation difficult without breaking, tearing or puncturing the dumplings the next time we have them. My personal way of doing it is by having them lined on a tray, slightly apart from one another and bring them to freeze. Once hardened, they can then be packed together into a freezer bag for future consumption.

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