Indulging in your favourite takeaway treat needn’t require one to leave the house. A detail that is especially tempting when the weather turns chilly. I spent a rainy Sunday afternoon making my own mushroom dumplings to be paired with clear chicken broth.
Redolent of garlic, ginger and the umami meatiness of mushrooms, these little parcels are filled with flavour. While making gyoza or potstickers in the traditional way calls for a delicate dough made from scratch, my recipe uses shop-bought wonton wrappers; a small cheat that ensures a speedy supper. The dumplings themselves can either be eaten as is with a dipping sauce or afloat in a bowlful of enriching chicken broth. I for one can’t ever decide which manner I prefer – both are so wonderfully comforting on a cold day. Wonton wrappers are usually available in a square shape, but I’ve found that this makes for tricky folding. What I’ve done here is use a small circular dish as a stencil and sliced the wonton wrappers into circles with a sharp knife. One can then get involved with attempting a perfect pleat or simply folding the dumplings into a half moon. I fall into the latter category and can attest that my lazy girl dumplings still came out looking lovely!
As for the filling, one can use a selection of exotic mushrooms – shiitake, oyster and shimeji – roughly sliced (I left the shimeji mushrooms whole to keep their beautiful shape) and fried in coconut oil. Finely mince pork or chicken can also work well, provided you steam the dumplings for a little longer. As for the chicken broth, this was more of a fridge clean-out method than anything else. I had two breast fillets left over from my Anchovy Butter Roast Chicken and decided to shred them and add them to an existing chicken stock. My freezer is always full of chicken stock – I use all the carcasses from roasts to make a bone broth which I then freeze for future dishes so fortunately I had the base of the broth at hand. If you don’t have a stock already made, dissolve two good quality stock cubes into a litre of boiling water. I also happened to have half a packet of green beans which I julienned into thin slices using a potato peeler. I brought the stock to the boil, then turned off the heat and added the shredded chicken, green beans, three finely grated garlic cloves, three finely chopped green chillies and the juice of half a lemon. To season the soup I used some finely chopped spring onion and a dash of soy sauce and sesame oil, with more added when I served it up.
Prep time: 30 mins /Cook time: 25 mins including steaming /Serves: 4
You will need:
- 20 to 30 wonton wrappers
- 150g mushrooms, roughly chopped
- 10ml grated fresh ginger
- 5ml grated fresh garlic
- 25ml finely chopped spring onion
- Coconut oil
Over medium heat, warm the coconut oil and gently fry the mushrooms in it. Once the mushrooms are al dente, add in the ginger, garlic and spring onion and switch off the heat. Season the mushroom mixture with a little salt, going easy as the dipping sauce for the dumplings will be salty.
Use a small round dish to stencil out a circular shape on the wonton wrappers and dish about a teaspoon of the mushroom mixture out on to each one. Be careful not to overfill the wontons as they will open during steaming. I also recommend working with 5 wonton wrappers at a time, keeping the others covered with a damp (not wet) tea towel. Keep a small bowl of water handy to seal the dumplings, using a finger to wet the edges of the wonton wrapper, folding it in half and sealing in the filling by crimping the edges tightly. Set the dumplings on to a lightly floured surface until needed. Once all the wontons are filled (add any leftover mushroom mixture to the chicken broth) heat about two tablespoons of coconut oil in a large pan and fry the dumplings on their flatter side over high to medium heat for a few minutes or until the bases are gently browned.
While you’re frying the dumplings, set a large pot of water over hight heat to boil. Once boiling, fill a bamboo steamer with the fried dumplings and set over the water. Working in batches, steam the dumplings on high for 10 minutes. Make a speedy dipping sauce for the dumplings by combining 50ml of soy sauce with the juice of half a lime, 20ml of sesame oil, 2 chopped dried red chillies, a finely sliced spring onion, 5ml of brown sugar and 100ml of ice water. The dipping sauce also serves as a great flavouring for the chicken broth
Serve the dumplings on their own with the dipping sauce or as part of the broth.