I'm alive! It's been quite a few months since my last post but I have a pretty good excuse - I moved to China. Yep, I now live in the grand metropolis of Shanghai and it has been a crazy few months. I started a new job at an international school, we settled ourselves into our new apartment and area, and made a whole group of new friends. There is never a dull moment in this city - the moment you step outside the apartment an adventure begins! It is exciting, but also very draining. There are so many people, the language and culture is so foreign and trying to accomplish simple things can be so time-consuming and stress-inducing. Just a visit to the supermarket requires the patience of a saint! Makes for plenty of stories, though.
My kitchen here is basic - a stove top, microwave and a tabletop oven (yup a little toaster oven thing). My cooking has become based on what is simple, quick and available. I've become good friends with my wok and am learning more about healthy Chinese cooking - 'when in Rome...' and all that! Phil is good enough to head down to the local wet market during the day to pick up unusual things like lotus root, fresh edamame and pomelo. He gets to practice his Chinese and I get interesting food, so everyone's happy :-)
|My Shanghai kitchen|
So here is one of the things we made in our first few weeks here - classic potsticker dumplings. Over here they're known as 'jiaozi'. The Chinese have so many types of dumplings - boiled, steamed, deep-fried, pan-fried - but these ones are first pan fried on the bottom (that's where the pot-sticking comes into it) and then you pour water into the pan to steam them for a few minutes. They are served up with a yummy soy-vinegar dipping sauce. This is simple Chinese comfort food at it's best.
These are not particularly quick to make, but it was fun. I could have popped out to the local supermarket and picked up a dozen for a dollar, but where's the fun in that? Besides, I got to skip the ever present MSG by making them at home. This would be a fun thing to make with children or a bunch of friends. Gather them together for a potsticker party!
If you would like to follow us on our China adventures, check out our blog www.underneonlanterns.com.
|Wrapping up - a little tricky at first, but it gets easier!|
|Aren't they pretty? Little bundles of Chinese joy.|
|The dipping sauce is a soy/vinegar combo|
I used store-bought wonton wrappers to make these, but if you're feeling extra conscientious you can make your own with flour and water. Below are the ingredients I used, but don't be restricted by them! The variety in the fillings of dumplings over here is incredible.
Approximately 20 round wonton wrappers
Vegetable oil for pan frying
100g (about 1/4 pound) Chinese (Napa) cabbage
400g (1lb) lean ground pork (or substitute with chicken mince)
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup finely chopped green onions
1 tsp finely chopped ginger
1 tbsp Chinese cooking wine (Shaoxing)
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp sesame oil
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1/2 tsp chilli paste (optional)
- In a large bowl, mix all the filling ingredients. Get in there with your hands to mix it up well.
- Place 1 tablespoon meat filling in the center of a wonton wrapper. Lift up the edges of the circle and pinch 5 pleats up to create a pouch to encase the mixture. Pinch the top together. Repeat with the remaining wonton wrappers until you have used up all the filling.
- Heat a non-stick skillet until very hot. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil, tilting the pan to coat the sides. Place 12 dumplings in a single layer in the wok and fry 2 minutes, or until the bottoms are golden brown.
- Add 1/2 cup water to the pan. Cover and cook 6 to 7 minutes, or until the water is absorbed. Repeat with the remaining dumplings.
- To make the dipping sauce, combine the soy, vinegar and chilli in a small bowl. Serve with the dumplings.