Terri's Dumplings (and other useless information)

I've been asked for the recipe for the magical dumplings by a number of people now, so I thought I'd write it down. Be warned that I'm doing this from memory, and guessing on the amounts, because I've never really used measurements on the ingredients. I learned how to make mandoo (Korean dumplings) from my mom, and her mom, and her mom, and her mom, who learned it from a talking goat. Go figure.

The instructions are really long, only because I've tried to cover everything in detail. I learned a lot from trial and error and error and error, so I'll try to catch it all, so that you don't do the same. Also, I tend to ramble, bear with me. Click here if you don't care for humor, or want a printer-friendly version of just the recipe.

Oh, and I only know how to make this recipe big, but I'm sure it can be cut in half or doubled. Involves math or something, and as I'm sure you know, Asians are terrible at math. 1=2. See, I'm so stupid. This may also explain why my ingredient amounts might be off. Huh. This recipe may not even work. So sorry.

You can buy the wrappers at Central Market in the refrigerated Asian food section, or at an Asian grocery store. Or you can make wrappers, but I've never done that, because it seems like a hell of a lot of work already. I usually buy a brand called Dynasty, it's a red/orange package 10oz. There's also some brand with a panda bear on the package, but that always makes me think you're supposed to make panda dumplings, or that the wrappers are made from panda, and that's just wrong. Everyone knows they're made from muppet. A-ni-mal! A-ni-mal! Aww.

If you want to know where the Asian grocery stores in Austin are, let me know, and I'll take you there with me, and everyone in the store will whisper and point, "Look at the Korean girl with the white friend, who do they think they are? They are probably drug addicts and got only B's and C's in school," and I will know what they are saying, but I won't let on until the very end, when I say in Korean, "Thank you, have a nice day" as I leave. And they will be mortified. And I will be amused. Muahaha.

OK, let's do it.

Ingredients (makes ~80 dumplings):
- 2 packs of square or round wonton wrappers (30-50 per pack)
- flour
- water or egg (egg works better)

- 1 lb ground pork (or beef or turkey or miscellaneous)
- 10-12 oz firm tofu
- 1 medium onion, chopped finely
- 1-2 tbsp minced ginger root OR 1 tbsp ginger powder
- 1/2-1 lb bean sprouts or cabbage, coarsely chopped
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 egg

- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup vinegar
- 1 1/2 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp hot chili oil or red chili powder
- 1 green onion, chopped

1) Drain tofu as much as possible, use a cheesecloth or a strainer. The drier the tofu is, the easier it is to fill the dumplings.

2) Cook bean sprouts in boiling water for 1-3 minutes, just until they're not crunchy anymore.

3) Mix raw ground meat, tofu, sprouts, and onions. Add the other ingredients. Filling should be a little pasty, but not liquidy. If it is, add a little (1-2 tbsp) flour to make it stick together.

* You can make the filling in advance and refrigerate it. Also, you can freeze what you don't use. If you end up with just a little bit of filling left, you can make Asian meatballs and put them in ramen or on a Triscuit or something.

Mix the soy sauce and vinegar together, then add oils and green onions. The dumplings are also good with the pre-mixed teriyaki or sweet and sour sauces that you can buy at the store. Or barbecue sauce or ketchup or spray cheese. Or you can take a slice of individually wrapped processed American cheese (from your pocket), and wrap the dumpling in that, for a delicious double-wrapped treat. Muppet-in-a-blanket. Yup.

Making The Dumplings
1) Take one wrapper, and put about 1-1.5 tbsp of filling onto the middle.

2) Apply some water or beaten egg to the edges of the wrapper. With your finger, silly.

3) Fold the wrapper in half. If it's square, fold it in half diagonally, so that the opposite corners meet. If it's round, just fold it in half. Pinch the edges together to seal the dumpling. Dust the dumpling with flour, or place on a floured dish/tray. Don't worry if you poke a hole in the wrapper, just cover the hole up with flour and a little bit of water or egg. That's what they did with Area 51, they covered it up with a little flour and water. Because the thing that crashed out of the sky was actually a space dumpling. Made from space muppets. Oh, come on, pigs... in... space, kids.

Cooking The Dumplings
You can boil, steam, or pan-fry the dumplings. You can also beat them, play hide-and-seek with them, or take them to the zoo, but I don't recommend it (because apparently monkeys love raw dumplings).

If you boil them, just put them in a pot of boiling water and cook for about 5 minutes, or until they start to float (floaters). Then you can drain them and serve them with sauce, or you can throw them in chicken (or other) broth for dumpling soup.

If you steam them, put them in a steamer tray over boiling water for about 5-7 minutes. They get sticky, so line the steamer with cheesecloth, or wax paper. Then the dumplings will be coated with wax, and they'll melt in your mouth, not in your hand. Serve with sauce.

If you pan-fry them, heat 3 tbsp oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Cook about 6-8 at a time. Fry them for about 3-5 minutes, and then flip them and cook for about 3 minutes more. Then add 3 tbsp of water to the hot pan, and cover quickly, for 30 seconds, to let the water cook off. Serve with sauce.

Storing The Dumplings
You can freeze the uncooked ones, carefully. Flour them generously, and store in Ziploc bags or Tupperware. Try to lay them flat, and if you stack them, use wax paper between the layers. When you want to cook them, don't thaw them out, just throw the frozen ones in boiling water or hot oil in a frying pan, and add a few minutes to the cooking times in the previous directions.

You can store the cooked ones in the fridge for a few days. For the steamed or boiled ones, just toss them in a little vegetable oil to keep them from sticking together.

You likey? I will post bulgoki (Korean BBQ) and General Tso's chicken-licken in the not-too-distant future.

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