I have been cooking dumplings today in the hope that I can share them with a friend who has had a health setback. The dumplings in question are of the Chinese variety, and because I am not sure how my friend’s metabolism is doing, I went with a very basic recipe of ground pork, ginger, garlic and the white part of a few green onions, seasoned with salt and white pepper and bound with an egg.
I made these dumplings to eat in soup, and so I also made a broth using pork, chicken, ginger, some more green onion and a bit of lemongrass. I made a double batch, because my friend is not up to eating yet and I wanted to test the recipe out before I sent over the food – my friend’s family are discerning eaters.
The dumplings turned out very well. I tend to under-salt things but in this instance I managed to get it right. The wrappers were store-bought, but I don’t believe I could have made them any better had I tried and I don’t have the time these days to take that sort of work on.
The broth needed salt, but a little soy sauce did the trick and the whole thing came together with a little homemade chile-garlic oil that I made a week or so ago.
When I was making the broth I was reminded of the aroma you get when a bowl of wonton noodle soup at China Rose or Royal China.
I didn’t get the broth quite right, but it was a long day and none of the members of my family knew it. I’m not saying I’m proud of serving less than optimal broth, but it’s sort of like the old “if a tree falls in the forest and nobody is there to hear it, does it make a sound?” saying. If a man makes a soup that his family enjoys, does it matter if the soup did not measure up to the man’s own, extremely demanding standards?
Spoiler alert: no, it does not matter and the man in question should keep that in mind. And at the risk of sounding arrogant, those dumplings kicked ass.
I’ve got plans for the future, because I’ve got a good bit of the pork filling left and a hell of a lot of wrappers. I’m thinking of adding a few things to the mince – mushrooms, bacon, garlic chives and maybe fresh turmeric. Hell, I bought some beautiful asparagus on sale the other day, and properly prepared the stalks might work in a dumpling too.
I can think of a few other places to get good Chinese dumplings – Dian Xin in the Quarter; Jung’s Golden Dragon II in the Irish Channel, and as I’ve written recently, Luvi.
Where are your favorite places for dumplings, and do you make them at home?