Only very rarely do we have prolonged hot weather in the UK, and when we do, we all fall apart a bit. We’re so unaccustomed to reliably good weather that at the first hint of sunshine we lie out in our tiny gardens, slap on the bare minimum of Factor 10 sunscreen and invite friends over for hastily arranged barbecues on tiny disposable cartons. And there is beer, lots of beer, and cider, and Pimms and white wine spritzers. So, if this weather sticks around, we’re often too tired from heatstroke, indigestion and hangovers to appreciate it anymore.
After 3 consecutive weeks (!) packed with barbecues and picnics, I was in the mood for something a bit different. A challenge, but one I wouldn’t find too demanding after 8hrs in an office with no air conditioning. Lia thoughtfully suggested dumplings, which is then all I wanted to eat from that moment on – it would have to be done.
I decided to use the leftovers in my fridge and make vegetable dumplings, but the best thing about these types of dumplings is how versatile they are – you can make Korean Mandu, Tibetan Momos, Japanese Gyoza or Chinese Dim Sum, among others. Now that I know how simple these are to make, I’ll definitely be trying out some wildcard recipes next time – I’m already thinking of some sweet varieties like maple & bacon or satay chicken.
You will need:
Mando skins (or any dim sum/dumpling pastry you can find)
A filling of some description (mine is bullet-pointed below, but feel free to improvise!)
- 2 handfuls of veggie mince
- 1 carrot, finely chopped
- 5 mushrooms, finely chopped
- 1 leek, finely chopped (you could use a bunch of spring onions instead)
- 1 chilli, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tbsp peanut butter
- 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar or red wine vinegar
Cook all of the filling in a pan – try to ensure it cooks down so is as dry as possible. Set aside to cool.
Take out the pastry, lay out a couple of sheets to start with – ensure the pastry you’re not using is covered with a damp cloth to stop them from drying out.
Place a teaspoon of filling towards the bottom corner of the pastry (see Step 2 pic), then lightly dampen the opposite sides of the pastry, before folding diagonally.
Once you have your dumplings resembling a mini samosa, you can shape them however you like – be sure to pinch down the edges to make sure they’re airtight first, otherwise they’ll collapse when cooking.
I decided to make little tortellini style dumplings, because this seemed easiest at the time and I was tired, plus they look like cute little bishop’s hats (alternative styles listed here and here. Place your finger up against the filling, then fold the pastry around your finger, dampening the tips to make them stick (see Step 3 pic).
They should then be able to stand up on the plate, looking pert and awesome. Take a moment to survey your work – or try again if you ballsed it up (as I did, twice).
Repeat these easy peasy steps until you’ve finished all of the filling mixture or run out of pastry, then plop all of the dumplings in a pan of simmering water for a few minutes until the pastry turns translucent, or they bob to the surface. You can always nab one out to try if you’re unsure.
Alternatively, you can steam or fry these badboys – like I said, they’re versatile little beasts. You can also freeze a batch to keep for later, they make great post-pub snacks.