Dumplings are one of my favourite foods in the world!
Whether steamed, fried, baked or boiled, there’s something unique and addictive about those bite-sized parcels of deliciousness that keep me wanting more.
For Chinese New Year 2016 I’ll be celebrating in London by catching up with friends over various dumpling feasts, including the brilliant Supreme Saturdays brunch at Yauatcha City, followed by a “DIY dumpling party” on Sunday at my home.
DIY dinner parties are a fun way of getting your guests involved and fully immersed in the celebrations.
One of the easiest dumplings to make are wontons. Soft pillowy dumplings that can be steamed or boiled and served with a dipping sauce and optional noodles. They are so light and delicious that apparently the name literally translates to “swallowing a cloud” in Chinese.
The wrappers (made from flour, egg, water and salt) can easily be bought from most grocery stores in Chinatown and they can be filled with various ingredients including meat, seafood or vegetables.
This year we’ll be making a mix of meat and seafood wonton dumplings with our guests around the dinner table. See my favourite wonton recipe below:
30 wonton wrappers
Flour or cornflour for dusting
For the filling
1 small piece of ginger, peeled and then grated
3 spring onions, finely chopped, or a handful of coriander leaves, finely chopped
200g peeled raw tiger prawns, chopped or diced into small pieces
200g minced pork meat (for a traditional wonton) or white crab meat (for seafood lovers)
2 tablespoons of oyster sauce
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
Combine the ‘filling’ (ingredients listed above) into a large bowl and mix well.
Lightly dust a tray or large plate with some plain flour or cornflour.
Spoon 1 teaspoon of the filling mixture into the middle of one wonton wrapper (keep the remaining wonton wrappers covered with a damp tea towel to prevent them from drying out).
Brush the edges of wrapper with a little bit of water, then fold the wrapper in half, forming a rectangular envelope or pillow shape. Pinch and seal the edges, making sure you squeeze out any air whilst keeping the filling in the centre. With the centre facing towards you, bring the two closest corners towards each other until they overlap, and ‘glue’ together with a small brush or drop of water. You should now have a boat shaped wonton!
Get some friends to join you around the dining table or kitchen and have fun wrapping together. Experiment with different shapes if you like, but be careful not to overfill the dumplings or the filling will burst during cooking.
Continue until all the ingredients have been used up (makes roughly 30 pieces, which should be enough for two people without noodles or for four people if serving with noodles.
Boil a large pot of water.
Gently simmer the wontons for 5-7 minutes until they float to the surface and are cooked through in the centre.
Serve the freshly cooked wontons in a bowl of chicken or vegetable stock, alongside some noodles (optional) and dipping sauce (recipe below).
4 tablespoons of light soy sauce
2 tablespoons of Chinkiang black vinegar
1 finely chopped de-seeded chilli (optional)
1 clove grated garlic (optional)
Let me know how you go with your DIY dumpling party by tagging me in your photos on Instagram!
Happy New Year.