Everyone should have heard of dumpling somewhere. There are many ways to cook dumplings, including fry, steam, boil. I normally like to steam my dumpling, not only because it is healthier, but because steaming makes the dumpling cover really soft and easy to chew and swallow. I would normally steam or fry the frozen dumplings I bought from the supermarkets. I will also write another article to explain in detail on how to make dumpling skins and inner mixing. By making the dumpling cover ourselves, we are able to choose the type of flour, amount of water, adjust the water temperature, to make it suitable for boiling, steaming or frying.
Dumpling is such a flexible dish to make as there are so many different kinds of stuffings we can make. You can experiment the mixing of various ingredients and see which filling you like. For pure vegetable dumplings, we have choices like carrot, corn, cabbage, shiitake mushroom, mushroom, water chestnut, spinach, vermicelli, peas, tomato, zucchini, asparagus, etc.. so many vegetables, as much as you can think of. As for the meat, we can choose halal chicken, halal beef, and seafood. Chicken and beef is easier to cut into tiny slices and can mix with more varieties of vegetables. While with fish and other seafood you have to go through some special procedure. We will talk more about the combinations of stuffings we can put.
- Soak the dried shiitake mushrooms in the warm water until they are soft. Wash clean the cabbage (you can use nappa cabbage or other types that you can get) and carrots.
- Cut the cabbage, shiitake mushroom and carrot into small pieces.
- Heat the oil in the pot, cook the mushrooms until you smell the fragrance, this is very important as it can act as an agent for mixing all ingredients together while keeping that delicious smell and taste.
- Pour the mushroom into a huge bowl, wait for about 3 minutes, then pour in the cabbage and carrot pieces. This step is to make sure the temperature of the mushroom is not too high, if it is, it can cook the cabbage and that's not what we want.
- Put in the following in the mixture: salt, MSG or Halal chicken essence, Chinese 13 spice mix (optional), oyster sauce (optional), sesame oil. All of these should be in appropriate amount. Since we are making a pure vegetable dumpling with no meat inside, we can try to taste the mixing and adjust the flavor according to your preference.
- Mix using spatula or chopsticks.
- Take one piece of round dumpling skin, use a regular spoon, take a spoonful or 3/4 spoon of the stuffing, put it in the middle of the skin, the close the borders by folding it into a semi-circle, just make sure the stuffing is not leaking or coming out. So it depends on the size of your dumpling skin and its thickness to determine the right amount of stuffings to put in.
- You shouldn't aim to finish wrapping all the stuffings. Just finish wrapping all the skins, and put the leftover stuffing in the fridge, remember to transfer it into a smaller bowl then cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for the next usage.
- Next you can place a batch of dumplings for steaming.
- Steam for around 10 minutes, take out the dumplings, cool down and enjoy!
I normally use my rice cooker to steam because we don't use that much every time. If you have a lot of people eating in the family, you can get a wooden or stainless steamer (non-foldable one), boil the water in the big pot, then put the steamer over, place the dumplings, then put the cover over. You can put the rest of the dumplings in the food storage bags then put them in the freezer.
Don't steam the dumplings for too long or else the food will lose its original taste, steaming for short amount of time can keep the flavor of each ingredient. And that's also why we precook some of the vegetables so we can shorten the steaming time.