Saturday, December 25, 2010

Dumpling Delight

When you're scanning through Masterchef recipes, and you're really really not doing much with your life at that point, you don't mind going for technique intensive recipes, as long as you have all the ingredients, or, they are within walkable distance of your house. You actually kinda enjoy it.

And so I woke up early today in the morning, dropped off my brother for his cricket practice at school, and popped the lid of my laptop open to the Masterchef recipes page. Since my judging panel is composed of just my one demanding and fussy but awesome sister, I ran my list of cook-able recipes by her and lo and behold she chose:

No kidding. Once you've gotten over the name, I'll get down to explaining how I gave up on sleep and rest to make these beauties. Most of the morning and all afternoon!

Let me say this to people who make perfect dumplings first: R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

There is no dearth of things that can go wrong.

By now I'm almost perfect at kneading any kind of dough on demand so the green tea dough was cheesecake (pun so not intended). The stuffing was an entirely different story. I had to mince my chicken myself: wash it, boil it, rip strips off the bone and shred it in the grinder. Learning experience! Post that, the stuffing came together really well.

The chilli oil and ginger and orange vinegar were intriguing: I didn't know you could do that! I was so proud when I smelled the delicious and so very appetizing aroma of my chilli oil post-infusion.

Now the parts where the little disasters started happening.

Disaster no. 1: I HATE actually physically rolling the dough to paper thinness and stuffing it.
I had to make 24 little circles rolled to paper thinness and spoon fine stuffing into it. Can you imagine the patience required for that?

So I got lazy and took a leisurely break in the middle and watched some TV, to the super-annoyed looks of the kitchen staff. :P

Disaster no. 2 : The recipe required me to golden-brown the dumplings before steaming them in a fry-pan. I went a wee bit-overboard on the golden browning and for some reason I now had 4 little fried dumplings (did them in batches THANKFULLY). Then I tried steaming them for damage control (also just to adhere to the recipe) and now the fried bits actually peeled off and stuck to the pan. I had some yummy-ugly looking stuff right there.


I was displaying all signs of distress and abandoning ship when one of the staff was like hey, this happens, just think clearly and do what you think is best.

So we formed a party of 3, with one person making little dough balls of appropriate size, the other rolling them to paper thinness, and a third spooning in the stuffing and sealing the dumpling.

To my joy, what had lingered all morning, was done in 20 minutes :D

Now for the actual cooking. I pretty much said: ohkay screw the pan, bring me a pot of hot water, a metal strainer mesh and a big pot-lid.

I threw the dumplings into the mesh hung over boiling water, and sealed their fate with the lid.

35 minutes later, they were done.

To my surprise (not so much actually, now that I think about it), my last minute gamble had worked. The dumplings looked tender and pretty and nothing seemed to have exploded under the lid(yes those are my culinary fears).

So I pulled out a glass dish, set the dumplings about beautifully, poured the orange and ginger vinegar around them, leaving pretty long strips of ginger on top of each dumpling.
Then I spooned the bulky part of the chilli oil onto each dumpling.

The combination of both sauces unleashed some beautiful smells and I went about proudly serving the dumplings to family. :)

I feel like cooking dessert tomorrow.

Hmmm... Masterchef into thy hands, I commend my spirit.
*raises toast*
To Green Tea Chicken Dumplings with .... oh bah whatever.


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