dim sum é amor.

{ hosting a dumpling dinner: pork and chive dumplings }

I will not lie to you: making dumplings is not for the faint of heart. If shaping them requires some dexterous steady fingers, to get through the whole batch one must possess otherworldly perseverance and patience. The silverlining: it gets easier after the first couple of them, plus making the filling is a no-brainer! One thing you'll need is help: call your friends and family over to the kitchen, hand a different filling to each person in case you're making several sorts and let them choose their own dumpling design. And what's better than gathering everybody at the table and feasting on warm delectable homemade dumplings in the end? They are so worth the mess!

Asian cuisine has rose to stardom over the last decade, becoming widely known and eaten across the western world. Our knowledge of it has changed too. Chinese food went from sweet and sour chicken to dim sum. Japanese food no longer stands for sushi, as soba and mochi cakes slowly sprung to the spotlight. Pho is all over the place and we are even filling up our pantries with not only soy sauce, but also fish sauce, hoisin sauce, lemongrass, thai basil, chili oil or sechuan peppercorns, just to name a few. I wish I had had the chance to visit Asia already, and I long to do so, but for now I feel lucky to live in a city where you have no trouble finding food from all corners of the world. (which are your favourite asian eats? let me know in the comments!)

I first tried dumplings a couple of years ago with a friend. It was Saint Patricks' Day and we had spent the afternoon outside drinking Guiness and talking about work and guys. It was chilly, and we were thankful to sit at the bar of a tiny restaurant waiting for our first gyoza. The place was new and I had been thinking about trying it for a couple of weeks. They had an instax back then, and they hung the pictures at the entrance. We liked gyoza so much that we made it to the wall twice.

By the end of last year I had expanded my quest for good dumplings to several restaurants in Munich, and my hunger for them had only increased. As my birthday approached, I decided I wanted to have dumplings for my birthday dinner. It was not without some reluctance that I finally accepted how impossible it would be to craft dumplings for twenty-five people, but I had the pleasure to come across a nice dim sum restaurant downtown where I had never been before and I booked it straightway. Dim sum was perfect for me: it is all about sharing, and you know there is nothing that I quite much believe in as sitting around a table with the people you love, sharing food, enjoying a glass of wine and having a good conversation! I was very happy with the variety of tasty dishes and the friendliness of the staff, it all made for a very special night!

I am not ashamed to admit that, on my pre-birthday frenzy, I had already bought a dumpling steamer! So after a couple of experiments with very patient and loving friends, I am glad to say I found a couple of favourite recipes.

If I can talk you into taking an adventurous step and making your own dumplings, the first thing you need to do is to check the amazing Woks of life! A blog from a Chinese family, filled with delicious, authentic and easy-to-follow recipes - check it out here! I found today's recipe there and I was imediatelly sold on it. It was a huge sucess among my guests, and my boyfriend's favourite!

Some notes:
We used store-bough dumpling shells to speed up the process. If you buy shells, try a couple different brands before settling for one: the shells differ a lot in thickness. From what I read, japanese gyoza have thinner shells than chinese potstickers, but I found the thinnest to be the better in any case when using store-bought! The hardest thing to master is the folding of the dumpling dough. Luckily, we are blessed with the virtual world of youtube, where you can find many useful videos on how to fold dumplings, like this one. Or you can go freestyle! I think I had it easy, all those years making models in architecture school do pay back, but the friends who were helping me and my dear boyfriend just have the patience of saints! Thank you Laura, thank you Christoph, thank you Ana, and thank you honey!

(I drew this recipe for my friend Laura, who is a highly skilled and patient dumpling maker and has helped me out at making them twice!)

dumplings de porco e cebolinho chinês.
(baseado na receita por Woks of Life)

círculos de massa para dumplings de compra
300g de carne de porco

1 ovo
1 chávena de cebolinho chinês, finamente picado
1 cebola, finamente picada
2 c. sopa de molho de soja

2 c. sopa de vinho Shao Xing
2 c. sopa de óleo de sésamo

Picar a carne muito bem num processador.
Refogar a cebola em óleo e deixar arrefecer.
Juntar todos os ingredientes numa taça e misturar muito bem até obter uma pasta cremosa. Se necessário juntar mais líquido.
Formar os dumplings:
Preparar uma tábua ou uma superfície limpa e bem seca e uma taça com água tépida.Distribuir alguns círculos de massa sobre a tábua. Colocar uma colherada de recheio no centro. Humedecer todo o contorno do círculo com o dedo molhado na água e dobrar as pontas com os dedos, de forma a fechar o dumpling no topo com a forma desejada.
Cozinhar no vapor ou sobre óleo quente.
No vapor: encher uma panela com água e levar ao lume até ferver. Reduzir o lume para médio. Forrar os cestos de um steamer de bambú com folhas de bananeira, couve ou papel vegetal, deixando espaços para que o vapor possa circular.  Colocar os dumplings dentro dos cestos, deixando espaços generosos entre eles. Empilhar os cestos e colocar tudo sobre a panela de água a ferver. Cozer cerca de 20 minutos. Os dumplings devem parecer semi-transparentes.
Para fazer gyoza: aquecer o óleo vegetal numa frigideira que tenha uma tampa. Colocar os dumplings sobre o óleo quente e deixar dourar cerca de 3 minutos. Juntar 1/4 de chávena de água e fechar imediatamente com a tampa. Deixar cozinhar no vapor cerca de 3 a 5 minutos ou até a água ter evaporado e os dumplings parecerem cozinhados.
Servir imediatamente com os molhos desejados: eu sugiro molho picante!


pork and chive dumplings.
(based on this recipe by Woks of Life)

Store-bought dumpling wrappers
300g pork

1 egg
1 cup chives, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp soy sauce

2 tbsp Shao Xing wine
2 tbsp sesame oil

Grind the meat in a food processor.
Stir-fry the onion in sesame oil. Let cool.
Toss all ingredients into a bowl and mix well until obtaining a creamy paste. If needed, add more liquid.
Shape the dumplings:
Prepare a cutting board or a clean dry surface and a cup with warm water.
Spread wrappers over the chosen surface. Place a spoonful of filling in the center. Dip a finger in the water and use it to wet the borders of one circle, folding them straightway in the desired shape. The water will work as a glue.
Steam or cook over hot oil.
To steam: fill a pot with water and bring it to a boil. Reduce to medium heat. Line the baskets of your bamboo steamer with banana tree leaves, cabbage leaves or parchment paper, leaving holes for the steam to come up. Place the dumplings inside the baskets, generously spaced, stack it all up and place it over the boiling water. Cook for about 20 minutes. Dumplings should look transparent.
To make gyoza: heat vegetable oil in a pan for which you have a fitting lid. Place the dumplings over the hot oil and let cook for 3 minutes. Add 1/4 cup of water to the pan and close imediately. Steam for about 3 to 5 minutes or until the water has evaporated and the dumplings look throughly cooked.
Serve immediately with your favourite sauces: I suggest chili sauce!


I am happy to be back sharing my culinary adventures with you
and I hope you enjoy my new recipe!
let me know what you think about asian eats in the comments!


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