January 3, 2012

Welcoming in the New Year with Dumplings

Happy 2012! How did I spend the first day of Twenty-Oh-Twelve? Making dumplings!


For months, I've been wanting to make baozi dumplings. I totally love them. I usually buy them frozen at the Asian Market and they're also really good at this lil fast food place in Chicago, Wow Bao


Twin Sista also wanted to try to make soup dumplings, after we had some at dim sum a month ago. Then we decided to add one more variety, the average potsticker dumpling. Twin Sista, Erin, their bfs and new friend, Xiaodi and I became dumpling masters for the day.   


The baozi were my project. I prepared the dough and tried desperately to make cute pleats while wrapping the lil buns. I even used this video as a reference, but that lady went too fast for me. What I really needed was a pro to show me in person. I think I made one really cute baozi. The others, well, they sorta looked like baozi. 
Aside from visuals, these dumplings tasted like for real baozi! Success! A happy way to start out the new year. The others were super tasty too. We had steamed, boiled and pan fried potstickers to go with the steamed soup dumplings and steamed baozi. (Twin Sista made the soup dumpling dough from scratch while the pot stickers were made from store bought wrappers).   
so obv we're musicians. we used drumsticks as rolling pins.
Twin Sista: hard at work
impressive pan flipping technique
pan fried dumplings
soup dumplings
Baozi Dough adapted from Asian Dumplings
Ingredients:
1 1/2 tsp rapid-rise dry yeast
3/4 cup lukewarm water
2 tbs canola oil
2 tbs sugar
2 tsp baking powder
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Directions:
1. Put the yeast in a small bowl, add the water and set aside for 1 minute to soften. Whisk in the oil to blend and dissolve the yeast. Set aside.
2. To make the dough in a food processor, combine sugar, baking powder and flour in the work bowl. Pulse two or three times to combine. With the motor on, pour the yeast mixture through the feed tube in a steady stream and allow the machine to keep running, for about 20 seconds or until the dough starts coming together in a ball. (If this doesn't happen, add lukewarm water by the teaspoon). Let the machine continue for 45-60 seconds to knead most of the dough into a large ball that cleans the sides of the bowl; expect some dangling bits. Press on the finished dough. It should feel medium soft and tacky but shouldn't stick to your finger. 
To make dough by hand, combine sugar, baking powder and flour into a large bowl. Make a well in the center and pour in the yeast mixture. Slowly stir with a wooden spoon to work in all the flour. (Add lukewarm water if this doesn't happen with relative ease). Keep stirring as a ragged, soft mass forms. Then use your fingers to gather and pat the dough together into a ball. Transfer onto a work surface and knead for about 5 minutes until smooth, fingertip soft and slightly elastic. (You shouldn't need any additional flour on the work surface if the dough was made properly. Keep kneading and after the first minute for two, the dough shouldn't stick to your fingers. If it does, work in a sprinkling of flour). Press your finger into the dough; the dough should spring back with a faint indentation remaining. 
3. Regardless of the mixing method, lightly oil a clean bowl and add the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and put in a warm, draft-free place (for example, in an oven with the light on) to rise for about 45 minutes or until nearly doubled. The dough is now ready to use. 
4. Though the dough can be left to sit for an hour or so after it has doubled, it's best to have the filling already prepared. 
Alternatively, punch down the dough, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Return the dough to room temperature before using. 
5. To use dough, cut in half and roll out dough into 2 logs. Cut off 1-2 inch pieces and roll into balls. Then roll them out into 2 1/2 inch wrappers. Fill with filling and crimp the edges of the dough around the filling. 
6. Allow baozi to sit for 30 minutes to rise one last time. Then place in steamer and cook for 10-12 minutes. 
***The stuffing we used was made by Twin Sista. She used a 1lb of ground pork and added shredded Napa cabbage and Chinese Chive. We added in the filling raw into the baozi.***
stuffing our faces!
Photos courtesy of Erin's fancy schmancy camera! 

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