The BH and I were recently in London for a few nights and while we were there we couldn’t resist the lure of Chinatown. One of the restaurants we ate in while there, yes we ate in more than one, was a Taiwanese restaurant called Leong’s Legend, where the Three Cup Chicken and Scallion Pancakes literally had me in tears. They weren’t particularly great and the portions were tiny, but the food tasted of a place I had called home for eight years. They say smell is powerfully emotive, I think taste is even more so.
Rather than satiating my need for Chinese food however, all my trip did was remind me how much I love cooking with Chinese ingredients. My Taiwanese friends should stop reading now. My friends who fancy themselves experts ON Chinese food should probably look away. What I’m about to make isn’t “traditional” nor is it “correct,” but it is Fudgin’ Good.
- 1 pkt of Dumpling skins
- 1 onion (finely diced)
- about 4 scallions (sliced)
- a piece of ginger about the size of your thumb (finely grated)
- 1 apple (coarsely grated)
- 500 gm minced pork
- 2 tsps corn flour
- 60 mls (4Tbs) of soy sauce
- vegetable oil
I’m going to mention hardware here too because you’re going to need a large frying pan/wok that has a lid to cook these babies.
Splash a generous glug of oil into the pan and bring to a medium heat. fry the onions and scallions for a few minutes and then add the ginger and apple. Continue to cook for a further three to four minutes and then add the pork and cook until completely done. This is where I have deviated from traditional methods which add the pork to the skins raw, but I’m a little squeamish about raw pork, so I hope you’ll forgive me.
Add the corn flower to the cold soy sauce and stir well, then add this to the cooking mince. This will thicken up the mixture and make it easier to stuff the pastry skins. Allow the mix to cool and then pop on a good DVD that won’t require too much cerebral action, cause you’re going to be stuffing for a while.
Brush the edges of the skin with water and then make at least three pleats on one side of the circle. Then take a teaspoon of the filling and place in the middle of the dumpling skin. Then press the un-pleated side to the pleated side and seal. Repeat. Thirty times. *sigh* It is worth it though. Trust me. Look below. See how pretty.
Clean out the frying pan/wok and heat another splash of vegetable oil in the pan and bring to a medium heat. Once the oil is hot, place as many dumplings as you can in the pan without crowding them. Cook until the bottoms are crispy and brown, about 3-5 minutes. Now comes the fun part. the thing your mother told you never to do. Ever! We’re going to add water to a pan of hot oil. Get the water and the lid ready. Splash about 100mls of water into the bottom of the pan and immediately cover with the lid. Leave the dumplings to steam for about five minutes until the skins begin to look translucent and then serve with a dipping sauce of your choice. Enjoy!
PS You are you going to probably have a lot of filling left over. It’s great on toast, or noodles or even just on it’s own.