Monday, February 23, 2015

I voted for goat and shumai

Thursday marked the start of the Lunar New Year, and like many other people sitting in the bathroom that morning, I heard the lighthearted story on NPR about the varying English translations of this year's animal.

I, of course, would have left it there, but in the comments on that story, there was a link to a super cool website that is having people vote for the representative animal candidate of their choice.

I voted for Goat.  He's a rebel*.  The creators of the site are making donations on all behalf of all the animals to Heifer International, so every vote really does count.  Go vote, and let me know who you picked!

So I'm now fully in the spirit of the whole thing, and had some time on my hands because it was raining in Los Angeles and we were all confined to our homes**.  I decided to celebrate the Lunar New Year by making homemade Chinese shu mai dumplings and potstickers.***

Pork and Shrimp Shu Mai Dumplings | Cheesy Pennies

Ram they were good.
In fact, they were baaaaaaantastic.
Goat thing this celebration only happens once a year.

I think my husband is going to take the radio out of the bathroom now****.

Pork and Shrimp Shu Mai Dumplings 2 | Cheesy Pennies

Shumai Dumplings

by Sharon Graves
Prep Time: an hour and a half
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Inspired by a recent blog post by Michael Ruhlman.  I added a bit more spice and soy to my version, and loved the results.  These are a great project for a rainy (or snowy!) weekend afternoon.  The recipe makes around 40 dumplings, so you can either serve a crowd or save a stash to heat up another day.
  • 5 green onions, whites and green parts minced separately
  • 6 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
  • A splash of vegetable oil
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1/2 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined, then finely chopped
  • 1 Tbs. Sriracha sauce
  • 1 Tbs. sherry, mirin or Chinese rice wine
  • 1 Tbs. soy sauce
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch
  • about 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 1 package of round wonton wrappers, or square wrappers cut with a large round cookie cutter into 3 inch rounds
  • More vegetable oil or cooking spray, for steaming

Add a splash of vegetable oil to a medium saucepan, and heat on medium high until hot but not smoking. Add the white parts of the green onions and the garlic, and cook until onions are translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Combine pork, chopped shrimp, 3 Tbs. of the minced green parts of the onions, Sriracha, wine, soy sauce, cornstarch, and pepper in a large mixing bowl, using your hands or a rubber spatula to gently mix everything together. Add the cooled garlic/onions. The mixture should be sticky.

Use the pan left over from the onions to cook a small spoonful of the dumpling mixture for 4-5 minutes. Taste for flavors, and adjust seasoning as needed.  This step is really important, since you can't change the flavor of the filling later.  This is where, for example, I decided to add the Sriracha, soy and extra green onions to my mixture.

To form the dumplings, place a spoonful of filling on each wonton wrapper.  Dip your finger in a bowl of water, and run it around the edge.  Then place the whole thing in your hand and gently squeeze to bring the dumpling together.  Better still, just watch this video

Forming ShuMai Part 1 | Cheesy Pennies
Forming ShuMai Part 2 | Cheesy Pennies

I find it's great to have a flour-covered sheet pan nearby to hold the finished dumplings while you work.

ShuMai Dumplings | Cheesy Pennies

At this point, you can freeze the dumplings on the sheet pan, so they don't stick together. Once frozen, seal in a freezer bag and store for up to a month.

That same video has great examples of how to steam the dumplings.  They cook in about 7 minutes, which is a relief after all the time you spend prepping them!  Be sure you use parchment paper sprayed with non-stick spray so the dumplings can be picked up easily after they are cooked.  

I pan fried/steamed the ones we had, following the method in my potsticker recipe, mostly because I was making both types of dumplings and I was running out of pans and spots on the stove.  They were just as delicious that way, too.  Any way you cook them, serve with hot chili sauce and spicy Chinese mustard on the side.

Pork & Shrimp Shu Mai | Cheesy Pennies

* Come to think of it, he probably wouldn't be caught dead listening to NPR.
**  I made a massive, very goat-like, mess in my kitchen while I was at it.  These taste amazing but are a sheepload of work.
*** Except for the poor bastards who were involved in the Oscars, who not only had to go out in the rain, but also had to watch the show in real time.  I'm sorry, but it wasn't even entertaining on TiVo speed.  Ram I right?
**** Which is short-sighted of him, because if I hadn't been listening to the radio we'd probably have been eating stuff he is a lot less fond of for dinner.

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