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Pinchy pinch pinch

M looked at me and said “I think I want to make dumplings again.” And so to adventure! Potsticky goodness! OH GOD let it work. Ever made dumplings and have them totally fail on you? Few things are more enraging, kitchenwise. They’re so fiddly and exciting, and then you open the bamboo steamer and find you’ve got a steaming pile of crap. You just spent an hour filling your steamer with soggy scraps. Enjoy that.  Or, even better; you go just slightly beyond the “sticking” implied in the name potstickers, and you end up with potburntthearseoffs and a pan full of scorched, scattered mess. Yep. Good times.

But not this time. This time was a goooood time.

First, the filling! Purple cabbage, ginger, shallots, soy sauce, crumbled silken tofu, all finely shredded (except the soy sauce, don’t be a fool) and lightly fried; with a little sesame oil for laughs. There’s a zillion suggestions for fillings on the ol’ internet, so go with whatever tickles your fancy. I would recommend against the silken tofu in favour of its firm cousin, but that’s what we had in the fridge.

Anything chunkier than a mouse whisker will rupture your dumpling wrapper and steal your TV.

Let it cool a bit before you use it. M made dumpling wrappers. White wheat flour, water and a dash of white vinegar: (I don’t have the proportions noted, so you’ll have to wing it.) You want a very dry dough. M rolled it through the pasta roller several times. getting it thinner and thinner. Then we cut it into squares and made dumplings!

Step 1: the triangle.

This is the bit I like best: wrapping the first few dumplings.

Step 2: the stegosaurus.

Yep, those first three are a total gigglefest.

Step 3: the queue.

After that, your life becomes grey and narrow as you pinch endless dumplings and your blood sugar levels spiral ever lower. And then the weeping starts. Time to cook!

Splash some oil into your wok: don’t be shy. Shy cooks get stuck dumplings.

To the bold go the spoils!

Lightly brown them, watching carefully to make sure you don’t fry the arse out of them. You want brown, not stuck. Then it’s time to finish them off with a swim in some stock!

Swim time!

I made a stock of water, miso paste, soy sauce and lemon juice — in this pic, there’s about ¾ cup of broth for 14 dumplings. Cook the stock off, letting it all boil dry — but they will stick very soon after that. I really can’t emphasise that enough. CONSTANT VIGILANCE STOPS EMPTY TUMMIES.

Deliciously browned bottoms.

Ahh, perfect. Serve with whatever dipping sauce floats your boat: I went with a really simple mix of finely shredded fresh ginger and soy sauce. Hooray! The frission of past failures made these successes all the sweeter.

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