Thursday, April 17, 2008

hello, dumpling!

Sometimes a favourite food can be so inspirational, so mouthwateringly hug-worthy, that one has no choice but to sing its praises, in whatever convoluted form that may take.

Say, a haiku, for example:
O porky dumpling
my chopsticks bow, O Plump One
dip dip dip dip yum!
Hmm, needs work, but you get the picture. I do luuurve me some dumplings!

The bundles come helpfully labeled...this time it's pork and chive. (Second favourite: lamb and coriander)

We indulged the other night in some beautiful handmade dumplings, bought from a tiny local restaurant (they make them so much better than I ever could, plus it's a great instant lazy-night meal). This place specializes in the northern Chinese style of dumpling making, offering hand rolled, hand formed, wheat flour based shuijiao (boiled dumplings) and guotie (potstickers).

The handmade floury wrappers are wonderfully tender, yet have a bit of pleasant toothiness to them.

We decided to take some uncooked, freshly made bundles of goodness home with us, so we could cook and feast with (private) abandon.

Pajama dining. It's a guilty secret pleasure. Tell me I'm not alone?

I love lots of ginger in the dipping sauce...

About the dipping sauce: I'm all in for the fridge-raid version, which includes glugs and dashes of varying proportions of soy sauce, sesame oil, sriracha and other chili spiked condiments, but sometimes the clean and old-school rules.

I highly recommend that you try this, if only once (and if you aren't just crazy about it already), just to see how incredible two simple little ingredients can make the best, and easiest, dumpling sauce. Ever!

Ready? Mince, grate or finely chop some fresh ginger. Pour a dash of black vinegar (I like the Gold Plum brand, pictured below) over and let it infuse with bracing gingery goodness. That's it! (You gotta try it, you'll become a convert, I promise.)

A dumpling must-have! Black vinegar, made from glutinous rice; its mellow tang could maybe, if totally desperate, be replicated with a bit of not-too-sweet balsamic.

A bit of ginger prodding helps infuse the vinegar. (Plus it's fun to do too!)

And so...gingery sauce? Check. Pot of water bubbling away, dumplings standing by? Check. Pajamas on, Dexter dvd playing? Check and check! Ooh, it's gonna be a great lazy night!

Today, we boil.
(Sometimes if we're craving the crispy golden goodness we do the pan fried version.)

A big plate to share...although I have been known to get in quite a few all on my own!

Plump. Juicy. Porky. Mmmm....

They went pretty fast; maybe I should've made just a few more....

Yes, delish! Thank you, dumpling, for being your plump, fabulous self. Until we meet again!


  1. Those look so much better than the ones I brought home from 99 Ranch, I think I have to move to Toronto!

  2. Ohhhh these look soooo gooooood! I think I know what I'm having for lunch:-)

  3. These are so cute - I was hoping you had made them and I can talk you into the recipe! Great site, too, I love the name of it!!!

  4. Luv your blog, but oh my, I hope you don't mean this Dumpling House:

  5. vicki: We do have our share of good looking treats in Toronto! :)

    marc: Yes! I'm a firm believer that anytime is dumpling time. Hope you had a great lunch!

    chez us: I have been known to make these at home; was just feeling lazy that day! Hmm, perhaps I can do a future post about my version...thanks for the idea!

    anon: Ah, yes, it's true. I do believe that the great thing that came out of that icky situation (other than Year of the Rat dumpling jokes) is that because of the publicity involved, the new and improved version is much, much more conscious about keeping everything clean and tidy. At least that's what I can tell...and the place still gets packed every day, another hopeful sign!

    Plus, I did really like Ratatouille.... :)