By Jennifer 8. Lee | September 30, 2008
I might be making fried turkey dumplings on TV. Cross fingers. Just dropped the fried dumplings off today.
Fried turkey dumplings, of course, were my family’s solutions to elementary school bake sales — as Chinese people don’t bake (as I’ve explained before). They don’t bake brownies. They don’t bake pies. They don’t bake apple crisps. They don’t bake cookies (fortune cookies are grilled). This was a dilemma when the school teacher wants us to bring stuff in. Which is why we decided to make fried turkey dumplings. Which of course, though only in retrospect, is funny. Because Chinese people in China don’t eat turkey. It’s a New World bird. We used ground turkey because it was available in the local American supermarket.
Here is a detailed Wikipedia article on dumplings.
Making potstickers/dumplings involves a special frying technique that is a combo of frying and steaming.
I’m not one who gets picky about exact amounts. Turns out that dumplings are pretty forgiving.
- One packet Ground turkey
- 1/2 head of lettuce (or bok choy or whatever), chopped up
- 1/2 cup of soy sauce
- Sesame oil
- Chopped scallions
- Two or three eggs (egg is what makes the entire thing stick together)
- Random shredded veggies (carrots, mushroom, leftovers green stuff)
- Shredded Ginger (if you want)
- Some salt
- Some sugar
- One or two packets of round Shanghai style dumpling skins (40 for $.99)
You mix basically a bit of everything together and stir stir stir until the turkey is no longer pink. Then you stuff them into the wrapper and fry them as described below.
I usually put them on round plates in a pinwheel fashion. If I am not cooking immediatley, I then put them in the freezer until they turn hard and dump them into plastic ziploc bags for later. It is key to put them in the freezer before they get soggy or they will stick to the plate.
If you are smart you dust the plates with flour, to prevent the dumplings from sticking.
This is not how I do it, nor how my mom does it (different people have their own quirks), but these gets a similar effect. You have to make pleats in two different directions to get it to curve.
The secret to frying potstickers is to put them down on a thin coat of oil (or spam or whatever) in a FLAT non-stick pan. After they fry for like 30 seconds to a minute, you put in a little bit of water. Like
1/4 cup and COVER the pan. The steaming of the water hitting the oil cooks the top of the dumpling — so you get this neat steamed/friend combo. Here is a Youtube video showing the frying gyoza (Japanese for jiaozi (é¤ƒå) with a similar technique.
The secret to Chinese dumpling sauce is that most of it is vinegar (black usually)! Not soy sauce (which is too salty). Then add a little bit of soy sauce and a little bit of sesame oil (too much and it goops). Plus either chopped garlic or ginger. You can also do lime juice, which gives it a Mexican zing.
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