Inspiration Styling

Dumpling Saturday! Sauces, sticky fingers, beers and fully bellies.

Dumpling Saturday happened exactly a week ago, and how fitting that I am getting around to posting this on another Saturday, [we were just way too full for me to post this on the day]. It was a nice way spend a cloudy afternoon with my man, he made the dumpling dough, I cracked open the beers and made the filling. After watching a few YouTube videos on how to shape dumplings we felt like pros and decided to give several techniques a try. We hand rolled 30 dumplings, eating as we went. Surprisingly we were pretty darn good at some of the techniques, the crescent for me and the purse for Matt [he doesn’t even own a purse?]. Of course, not all of them turned out, some we didn’t seal well and some were simply misshapen. All still yummy, but I saved the best for the photos – obviously!
We made three fillings; Chicken & Bamboo Shoots with ginger, Prawn & Garlic Chives and lastly Pork with Shiitake Mushroom & Water Chestnuts. Chicken and ginger was my favourite and the prawn was Matt’s.

We have some really great dumpling bars around us here in Melbourne, and I love them for two reasons; firstly because I love finger food – there seems to be more room in my tummy when there is finger food on the menu, and secondly even though a good dumpling should be flavoursome enough that you don’t need the dipping sauce – the sauces are the best part. Growing up, my dad would make sure the pantry was always stocked with every Asian sauce imaginable, and not the Aussie brand stuff either – the real deal. This is something that has passed onto me. Creating the fillings for this recipe was easy as we had all the sauces, and as I use them a lot, I know what goes well with what [Hopefully!].

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[I thought I would pop this pic in for the behind the scenes making of these beauties. We bought a little roller from the Asian Grocer, and its a good chance to see the disks pre-roll, mid-roll and post-roll! Now I am seeing the triangle shapes we made and wishing I had used them in the photo, we just had a hard time getting the sizes to match.]

We used the three basic cooking techniques in a mix and match fashion, with Matt hoping to get the prawn dumplings and me hoping to get the chicken ones. As we tried all different shapes for the fillings, we quickly lost track of which was which. We boiled a third, steamed a third and made pot stickers from the last third. The pot stickers didn’t work super well as I didn’t have a tight lid for my fry pan, so the steamed batch in my bamboo steamers were the winners. We used a basic dumpling wrapper recipe and doubled it to make sure we got enough wrappers from it and didn’t need to worry too much about getting the cutting measurements right. I watched a video from Po’s Kitchen, which really put my mind at ease about making dumplings. If you are thinking of giving these a try, its worth checking this video out for the dough making, wrapping and cooking techniques. It is an Aussie based one, so hopefully it can be viewed worldwide.

Sadly, there is no portraiture of the purse dumplings which is such a shame as they are so visually pleasing. The light and look I was going for just didn’t get executed well enough for me to be happy with a final shot. Just a good excuse to have another go!

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Homemade Dumplings From Scratch

Pork with Shiitake Mushroom & Water Chestnuts Chicken & Bamboo Shoots with Ginger Prawn & Garlic Chives

makes approx. 30 med-lrg dumplings (the filling measurements are based on approx. 10 dumplings each)

Ingredients

Dumpling Wrappers

1 cup plain flour (all purpose)
1 cup wheat starch
*
Boiled water (approx 2/3-1 cup)

Pork with Shiitake Mushroom & Water Chestnut Filling

100g free range pork mince
1/4 cup shiitake mushrooms, diced
1/4 cup water chestnuts, diced
1/4 cup scallions, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons sriracha sauce (spicy, add to taste if you don’t like the heat!)
1/2 egg, lightly beaten (beat the whole egg, but you’ll only need half)

Chicken & Bamboo Shoots with Ginger Filling

100g free range chicken mince
1/4 cup bamboo shoots, minced

1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
2 teaspoons coriander seeds, ground
3 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon water

Prawn & Garlic Chives Filling

150g prawn meat, diced
1/4 cup garlic chives, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/4 teaspoons oyster sauce
2 teaspoons Shao Xing wine
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1 1/4 teaspoons sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon sichaun peppercorns, ground

Directions

Boil the kettle. In a mixing bowl, place the flour and wheat starch and stir until fully combined. Pour a small amount of water, approx. (2/3 – 1 cup) into the mixture and stir with a folk until it resembles a dough. [As each type of flour soaks up different amounts of water, it is hard to get exact quantities and so it is best to go by feel with the dough, add 2/3 cups boiled water to start – let me know how much works for you!]. Knead a few times to create a smooth finish. If the dough feels a little sticky, add a small or equal parts flour/wheat starch to the dough and mix. If the dough feels dry, add a little water (just a little, you can’t go back once you add to much). Once you are happy with the dough and it is silky, cover in cling wrap and rest in the fridge for an hour.

* If you can’t find wheat starch, simply substitute for plain flour and knead the dough for 5-10 minutes to achieve the same silkiness.

Whilst the dough is in the fridge, you can make up the filling.

Measure out the first dumpling filling ingredients and combine in a bowl until fully incorporated. Cover and refrigerate. Do this for the remaining fillings in separate bowls. Place them in the fridge. (You can make the filling ahead of time to allow the flavours to marinate for a couple of hours if you like).

Find a large work surface and have a little flour handy for rolling. Once the dough has rested for an hour, remove from the fridge and roll into a long thin tube with a diameter of about 3mm (1″). Cut the tube in half, then cut the dough into evenly sized pieces, you want approx 30 disks. (Don’t fuss too much about getting this part exact. You’ll either have bigger dumplings with more filling, or smaller dumplings with less filling. As long as you measure your filling evenly you’ll be fine!).

Squish each disk with the palm of your hand with a little flour and roll out the dumpling wrapper into a thin circle, working from the outside of the circle to the middle. Add about a teaspoon of filling to the middle of the dumpling and wrap using your favourite technique. Place on a sheet of baking paper. Continue until you have used all the dumpling wrappers. You can keep these covered in the fridge until you are ready to cook.

You can boil them in salty water until they have floated for a few minutes, (I will check one to see that the filling is cooked before I take them out, larger dumplings will take longer).

You can steam them in a bamboo steamer with baking paper lined on the bottom for 15 minutes or so, or until cooked through. (adjust your cooking time for larger or smaller dumplings. You can always break one open to peek inside!)

You can place them in about 1cm (o.5″) of water and a splash of vegetable oil in a fry pan with a lid and let them steam until the water has evaporated, about 10 minutes. Once the water has evaporated, give them a few minutes for the bottom to crisp up.

Serve as you go with some dipping sauce.

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30 Comments

  • Reply merilyn May 24, 2014 at 8:42 am

    you are the best food photographer Rachel jane,that looks so delicious … thank you m:)x

    • Reply rachel jane May 25, 2014 at 1:31 am

      Merilyn, you are too kind and have made my day!

  • Reply Lail | With A Spin May 24, 2014 at 1:04 pm

    Exactly what you need on a Saturday! Delish!

  • Reply rachel jane May 25, 2014 at 1:34 am

    Thanks so much for visiting my site Sini, I love the elegance and stories you tell. You a have very unique way with you work! Making dumplings are so much fun, and easier than you think. Let me know how you go, I am sure you’ll have no trouble with the dough.

  • Reply rachel jane May 25, 2014 at 1:41 am

    I have always wanted to make steamed buns. I think you did a fab job – I prefer a rustic look myself. I did choose the best looking ones for the photos and I wanted a very stylised and structured look so the eye focuses on patterns.

  • Reply rachel jane May 25, 2014 at 1:43 am

    We are certainly lucky – I have been to the Oriental Tea House, but not Indochine. I have on my list to check out Charlie Dumpling as well! I love shooting Asian dishes as there are so many elements to them. Not sure what to do for the next instalment. What is your fav dish Bec?

  • Reply rachel jane May 25, 2014 at 2:40 am

    I have a real soft spot for Asian soups, a simple chicken and sweet corn, a pho and tom yum – you can’t beat em. I am also a big stir fry fan – anything cooked in a wok really, so maybe those are the ideas I should go with!

    • Reply bec {daisy and the fox} May 25, 2014 at 2:51 am

      Tom Yum! My absolute go-to takeaway from our favourite sushi bar – ideal saturday night :PI agree, wok style is always gonna be good. it’s so fun as well! Tossin’ it all up in a pan of goodness.
      Oo sounds great – i’m excited already!
      quick question – where do you get all your fab probs and backgrounds from?

  • Reply mobie540 May 25, 2014 at 8:50 pm

    These look great, what did you use for the dipping sauce? Just soy or a rice vinegar/soy combo?

    • Reply rachel jane May 26, 2014 at 7:07 am

      I used a dark soy sauce and put come finely sliced ginger into it. I also love Sriracha sauce, so had a little smear of that as well. You could definitely have a dash of rice wine vinegar in there too!

  • Reply Snappystreet May 26, 2014 at 5:10 am

    Oh these look divine! So delicious, and just breathtakingly beautiful as well x

    • Reply rachel jane May 26, 2014 at 7:08 am

      There really is something about dumplings that we can really connect too isn’t there!?

  • Reply rachel jane May 26, 2014 at 7:06 am

    Oh you’ll have to try them now. It is quite easy to wrap the dumplings and fun too. I must admit I never knew this about Sriracha Sauce! I use the one that is widely available in Australia, which is probably not the original. It is the classic clear bottle with the rooster on it and green cap. I do love it though, would be really interested to try the one you speak about!

    • Reply Pang May 26, 2014 at 2:27 pm

      One way or another, I must try to get you the original Sriracha. 🙂

  • Reply angelica | table twenty eight May 26, 2014 at 11:29 am

    Bravo Rachel, what beautiful styling… And what perfect, intricately shaped dumplings! This really is some of your most beautiful work yet 🙂

  • Reply Anh June 3, 2014 at 11:26 pm

    Wow! Your dumplings look wonderful! I wish I could wrap mine as well 🙂

  • Reply rachel jane June 19, 2014 at 4:10 am

    Just the from the sauces that I used in the recipes. I love a good ol splash of sriracha sauce. I also used some soy with freshly sliced ginger. Yumo!

  • Reply rachel jane July 18, 2014 at 2:52 am

    Yeah some restaurants will make their own, however you can buy amazing authentic sauces from Asian Grocers. I used a dark soy sauce and put come finely sliced ginger into it. I also love Sriracha sauce, so had a little smear of that as well. You could definitely have a dash of rice wine vinegar in there too!

  • Reply rachaelhedges August 5, 2014 at 11:58 pm

    I love making dumplings but have never been motivated enough to try the different shapes. I may give it a go now though! 🙂

  • Reply Kimberly October 9, 2014 at 5:00 pm

    BEEA-U-TIFUL styling! And your dumplings are gorgeous. I would love to know where you found your serving pieces. I love to entertain and share Asian food with my friends but finding the right serving pieces can be tricky. Well done!

  • Reply SimiJois October 12, 2014 at 9:36 pm

    Gorgeous! looks like art, breathtaking images

  • Reply cattiva January 24, 2015 at 1:31 pm

    Hi,

    this looks very good. Very nice images. Thank you.

    Maybe you can have a look at my Dim Sums. You can find them here:

    http://www.cattivakats-homeandkitchen.tumblr.com/post/108286440300/dim-sum

    • Reply Rachel Jane January 29, 2015 at 2:59 am

      Thanks for sharing those with me – they look great. You have some dumpling folding skills too. Hope you had as much fun making them as I did!

  • Reply felicia | Dish by Dish February 19, 2015 at 4:46 pm

    Rachel! I’m so glad I found your blog when I was browsing through Pinterest. Your photos are so inspiring – but I’m sure you’ve already heard it a thousand times. I’m at the point where I really need a breakthrough in my food photography (I only started taking pictures of food around 3 years ago when I started my blog Dish by Dish, but only over the last year did I see some improvement).

    Having blogs like yours is a great way for me to aspire and grow as a budding food photographer. Thank you.

    P.s. I love your take on Asian food. I’m Asian, and these dumplings look too darn good.

    • Reply Rachel Jane February 21, 2015 at 11:41 pm

      Hey Felicia – thanks for stopping by! I too am glad that you found me and something that will drive your photography further.

      There is definitely a turning point, and we all reach it in our own time and when we are ready. The turning point for me was looking at images that were challenging and beyond my skills, everyday I would read these sorts of images then apply the techniques and styling they used. Your Yoghurt Parfait has some great lighting – well done!

  • Reply Nicole March 24, 2015 at 2:16 am

    I love the chopsticks! Do you know/are you willing to share where you got them?(Also, these look so good.)

    • Reply Rachel Jane March 24, 2015 at 9:21 am

      Aren’t they great! I actually bought these at a local market in Vietnam about 10 years ago.

  • Reply Vanessa H. March 28, 2016 at 2:11 am

    Love the recipe and the photos <3

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