It’s old news that I love dim sum. I love it so much that I’m slowly learning how to make all of my favorite dishes at home — from scallion pancakes to pork dumplings to bean curd rolls. Every time I start a project, I get a little nervous that it won’t turn out but besides one horribly failed attempt at soup dumplings, everything has been incredibly delicious.
I have been dying to make these chive dumplings forever. I even spent a good amount of time last summer tracking down the elusive wheat starch that was needed for the dough. Finally, the weekend before Thanksgiving, my partner-in-crime DB came over for a little dim sum party.
Our first project was the dough for the wrappers, which was made with a mixture of wheat starch and boiling hot chicken stock stirred together with chopsticks. The consistency of the wheat starch was very similar to cornstarch (unsurprising, I know) and the dough it yielded was different from anything I’ve made before.
Chinese cooking often uses hot water doughs, which are easier than yeasted doughs to roll out into thin wrappers, but I’ve only used flour in the past. This little wheat starch dough ball was very firm and dense, with a strange “starchy” feel (again, unsurprising I know). It made my hands a little uncomfortable much like when I touch microfiber towels, I’m weird like that.
Anyways…here’s what it looked like.
Once we had the dough made and covered with a damp towel, we got our filling ready. This project was pretty simple compared to some of our past adventures. All we needed was a pound of peeled shrimp chopped up, some chives (we ended up using a pound of chopped blanched scallions because that’s all what we had) and a can of chopped bamboo shoots. There was also a little splash of sesame, soy and Mirin involved but it was pretty minimal.
We cooked off a tester batch and decided to amp up the flavor with minced ginger and garlic, as well as pumping up the soy sauce and sesame. It was just lacking a little zing, though I’m sure if we were using Chinese chives which are more pungent it might have been better. And even though my first impression of bamboo shoots is always “they taste like feet!” the funkiness that they add is really a good thing. I promise. (Though maybe just use half the amount instructed, unless you’re partial to the taste of feet.)
Once we were satisfied with the filling, it was time to make some dumplings!
The first step is to make dough logs, cut chunks and roll the wrappers as round as possible, making them about 3 inches across. We put in about 2 teaspoons of filling before shaping the dumpling. The dough worked pretty well, it stuck together fine without needing extra water for sealing. And it was stretchy enough that we didn’t lose too many to holes.
In fact, for the most part, they came out looking pretty good!
Once we had about 20 or so done we figured it was time to get cooking. These dumplings are cooked in a two-part method, much like the pork dumplings I’ve done in the past. First you fry them in oil until they are brown and crispy. I usually use a non-stock pan because it seems to work best.
Your little dumplings will go from this:
Once both sides are brown, add about 1/4 cup of water or so, cover with a lid and let steam. This will actually cook the insides of the dumpling. Once the water has all but evaporated, remove the lid, lower the heat and let the dumplings crisp back up.
Then dip in a little soy sauce and chow down!
In hindsight, next time I’d chop up the filling a little finer. I think we could have fit more goodness inside. I would also make the effort to get Chinese chives for this. I live very close to a huge Asian grocery store so really there was no excuse for my laziness.
But in the end, I was really pleased with these. They were easy to prep for, easy to make and the dough turned out very tender and crispy. I will definitely be making these again very soon!