Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Comfort Food Part 2.

I don’t know what it is about dumplings but they are just the most adorable little things to put in your mouth!

Lately we have been eating dumplings A LOT! We just love them, my daughter will eat them by the bowl full and take them to school for lunch. It can get a little out of control at times. I have been known to eat a few in the morning even…eekk!

As you know you can simply steam dumplings or cook them in a broth. We do both ways as we make up a lot when we get cooking. 

I would suggest a nice broth packed full of veg and noodles topped with some of the below dumplings as a mid week meal. It really is that next generation of comfort food, the kind that is light and clean, very filling and packed full of nutrients.

Below is my very simple and easy peasy recipe for dumplings and even further below is a quick broth recipe. I hope you give it a try – I bet you too become addicted to these!

Just before we get to it though, let me start with a few tips and pointers.

You can have so many different fillings and flavor combos (I have stuck with this simple one purely because it is just delish!) so go crazy and get inventive.

Include the kids! My daughter can now make these with her eyes closed.

Make sure the broth is ready to go before you start making the dumplings if you’re going down that path.

Make lots! Even freeze any mixture you have left for next time.

Cook these for someone who doesn’t live in your house. Every person I cook these for think they are amazing and that makes you feel the best!

Prawn and Ginger Dumplings
250g Raw Prawn Meat (Remember if you’re buying shelled prawns 500g = 250g of meat)
Big knob of Ginger
A few drops of Sesame Oil
Dumpling Skins (you can use wonton wrappers or dumpling skin from your Asian grocer)

Ok so you can do this 2 ways, you can chop up your prawn meat with a knife or whiz it up in a blender to break it down to a thick paste.

Totally up to you. I prefer to chop my prawns up really little; it gives the dumpling a bit more character.

Then how much ginger can you take! I like a lot so about a thumb size grated into the prawns will give it a nice kick. Now add a few drops of the oil to the prawns and ginger give it a nice mix and you are done my friends!

Get out a small bowl and fill with water – this is used to seal the wrappers.

Then get out the dumpling wrappers and let’s get started.

On a clean bench lay out about half a dozen wrappers, put one teaspoon of prawn mix on the wrapper.

Wet the outer edge of the wrapper and fold in half. This is where you can get creative and pinch the edges together and make it look pretty. I’m hoping the pictures will help explain it better.

Now repeat the above until all your mix is gone. Some days it makes 20 dumplings some days it makes 30. If this is too much for you just use less prawns and ginger, it will still taste amazing.

So that’s really it to making these dumplings…easy peasy!

So if you’re wanting a nice broth this recipe is also pretty simple. What I tend to do though is see what I have in the pantry and fridge and just add a little of everything, as long as you taste along the way you should be ok.

Simple Broth (serves about 4 as soup)
3lts of Stock (Chicken or Veg)
½ Cup Light Soy
3 Spring onions
2-3cm of Ginger - sliced
1 Large Garlic Clove – grated
3tbs of Fish Sauce
1 Star Anise

So in a big pot pour in your stock, add your soy. Chop up 2 on the spring onions and add to the liquid along with the ginger and garlic. Now add in the other ingredients and bring to the boil.

It’s up to you if you want to cook this for 15 mins or 1 hour, either way once at a boil reduce heat and let simmer till your ready for the dumplings. Once you’re ready to cook the dumplings bring it back to a boil. Just remember the longer it simmers the more liquid will reduce so keep that in mind for how many you’re planning to feed.

Just before I’m ready for the dumplings I strain out all the onion, ginger, etc. Return the broth to the pot and bring back to a rapid simmer. 

If my doing veg (like some Asian greens and mushrooms) I add these now along with the dumplings.

Also if you’re doing noodles, cook separate to the broth as per packet instructions and put in your bowls once cooked (the broth will reheat them).

Let your dumplings cook for about 2-3 minutes then you can ladle it all into your bowls. 

I also like to add some fresh spring onion just before I gobble it all up!

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