Cornish Dumplings

I love dumplings, I was brought up on Hong Kong style dumplings. My father is from Hong Kong and moved over to the UK  when he was 18. When I was young he used to take me to china town and feed me dumplings.  From a young age I was strategically fed dumplings, my father used to give me Char Sui Bao first as they were the most filling and would fill me up so he could eat more of the other types.  Over the years I’ve tried all sorts of dim sum and dumplings over the world and can safely say that I’m a bit of a dumpling addict.

They are actually the most eaten food in the world due to China’s population. We have started to see them appear in the UK, especially around Christmas time in the supermarkets however they are nothing like a good fresh dumpling that has been made with love at home.

The UK could have easily become a dumpling crazing nation. You could say that the Cornish Pasty is a baked dumpling, the concept is the same ; meat and veg rolled in a pastry filling however the pasty is baked whilst most Chinese dumplings are either steamed or fried. We  have all the ingredients here in Cornwall to make great dumplings, a good selection of meat, vegetables and flour. There are endless combinations of ingredients that can be used to put inside a dumpling so feel free to experiment with them. I’m sure once you learn to make them you will want to try and put your favourite ingredients inside them.

The Pastry

Ingredients

  • 2 Cups Cornish Bake House Flour
  • 1 cup water
  • Pinch Of Salt
  • 1 tsp Cornish Rapeseed oil
Dumpling wrapper dough
Dumpling wrapper dough

Put the flour and salt into a bowl and make a well in the centre . Boil water and let it cool down for a couple of minutes. Add the water to the dough. Start to bring the dough together with a spoon or your hands, keep on doing this so that you form a ball. If its too wet add some more flour and if its too dry add some more water by the teaspoon. The dough shouldn’t be sticky, once it has come together start to knead it on a work surface , you should knead it until when you put your finger into the dough it slowly bounces back.

Once the dough is kneaded wrap it in clingfilm and rest it for at least 15 minutes at room temperature. Once the dough has rested it should have become a lot softer and airy  just like below.

Rested dough
Rested dough

Rolling out the Dough

Take the dough and tear off a portion and roll it out into a snake like cylinder about 3 cm by 3 cm. You can then cut them into portions about 3cm wide so that you end up with 3cm by 3 cm pieces. Take a piece and roll it into a ball in the palm of your hand then flatten it on to the table so that it creates a small circle of dough. Take a bit of dowel rod and roll as per the video below.

The Filling

Ingredients

  • Leek
  • Wild Garlic
  • Carrot
  • Minced Pork (Not too lean you want some fat for flavour)
  • Cornish Rape Seed Oil
  • Cornish Sea Salt
  • Cornish Seaweed Company Kombu
The Veg Mix
The Veg Mix
Cornish Kombu Powder
Cornish Kombu Powder

You really want about 50% meat and 50% vegetables but its down to your preference. I’ve used wild garlic and Kombu seaweed that I have ground up to add a bit of extra flavour. You can experiment with flavourings but  you want to have some sort of onion  based veg in there, some salt and some type of herb to add some freshness. Make sure the vegetables are finely sliced so that they mix well. Mix together and add a dash of oil to help bring it all together.  Put it in the fridge for 15 minutes just to help bring it all together.

The Mix
The Mix

Time To Roll

To start of with you do not want to put too much filling into the dumplings so that it makes it easier to fold. The folding is simple when you know how, see the video below that shows you how to fold.

Folded Dumplings
Folded Dumplings
More folded dumplings
More folded dumplings

The Sauce

Ingredients

  • Wild Garlic
  • Coverack Artisan Malt Vinegar
  • Cornish Rapeseed oil
Wild Garlic Sauce
Wild Garlic Dipping Sauce

Finely slice the stems and leaves of the Wild and add the vinegar with a splash of oil. In asia you would dip your dumplings into one of many sorts of vinegar, this malt vinegar is perfect for dumplings. Its aged so it is smooth and softer than you would expect from a malt vinegar but its full of flavour.

Cooking the dumplings

So you can steam, boil or fry the dumplings. Steaming is easy just put them into a steamer and steam for about 8- 10 minutes. To boil add them to salted boiling water. When they start to float to the top they are ready. You can boil them and then fry the in oil to crisp them up after. The method that I am using is the pot sticker method which gives you are really crisp dumpling.:

Heat oil in the pan on a medium – high heat. Place the dumplings into the pan and fry for about 4-5 minutes. Take 2 cups of water and add 3 tablespoons of flour and mix together . Once the dumplings start to colour underneath add the cloudy flour water to the pan. It will start to splutter as the water hits the oil. You want to have enough water in their to cover the bottem of the pan and be about 1 cm deep. Put a lid on the pan and turn the heat down to low. The steam from the water will cook the dumplings and as it evaporates the flour in the water will form a golden crust on the bottom of the pan . Once all the water evaporates after about 5 minutes they will be done. Carefully remove the dumplings using a spatula, you want to try and get under the golden crust so that all the dumplings are stuck together by the crust.

Crisping the dumplings
Crisping the dumplings
Steaming the dumplings
Steaming the dumplings
Crisping the dumplings
Water has evaporated

Plating up and eating

You will always want more dumplings so put enough on your plate to make you feel civilised knowing full well that you have plenty more in reserve in the kitchen to munch. Dip them in the sauce and tuck in. They should be satisfyingly crispy on the bottom, the rest of the wrapper should be soft and luscious and the mixture in the middle should be juicy with all the ingredients mingling together. As soon as you eat one you should crave another.

Cornish Dumpling
Cornish Dumpling

I hope you enjoyed this recipe. it is a guide and I urge you to try your own combinations and practise the techniques. Once you have them down they are easy to make and are such a special meal. If you have kids then they are a great way of introducing your kids into cooking by getting them to help you make the wrappers and getting them to try and roll the dumplings. They will also like the end the result and its sneaky way of getting them to eat vegetables. If you have any questions then please let me know and enjoy.

Whealfood x

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