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Sunday, June 14, 2009

Daring Cooks June Challenge!

Daring Cooks Challenge - June - Jiaozi / Chinese Dumplings
Hosted by Jen from Use Real Butter

The June Daring Cooks challenge (and the first Daring Kitchen challenge I have particpated in! YAY!!!!) was Chinese Dumplings. :) I have always wanted to try Chinese dumplings (everyone went on and on about how great dumplings were in Chinese class) but can't eat normal dumplings. So this gave me a great excuse to try them! I actually did this once twice, because the first time...well, you'll see. The requirement was that the wrappers be made by hand.

First go - I didn't feel comfortable using Wheat Starch, as that can be questionable, so I tried substituting a generic "gf flour mix" for wheat flour in the dumpling wrapper recipe. But the dough was so crumbly it wouldn't stick together at all, it would just fall into pieces whenever I tried. I did finish the regular dumplings (for my husband) but then I burned them, oops! I didn't take any pictures - no need to see ruined dumplings. :P

Second go - I retried two weeks later. This time I made a half batch of regular wheat-flour dough and a half batch of gf-dough. To get the gf dough to work I added 1 tsp of Xantham Gum, which made it stretchy enough that I could roll it out and actually wrap it around the filling.

For the filling, I made half a recipe of pork filling (subsituted "regular" cabbage for Napa cabbage, because I couldn't find any, substituted olive oil for sesame oil out of cheapness :P and the bamboo shoots were left out completely because I couldn't find those either) and a half a recipe of beef filling as well (same as pork, but substituted beef for the pork).

A lot of chopping!The fillings - pork is on the left, beef on the right.

The gf-dough, while actually possible to roll into dumpling wrappers, was still more difficult than normal flour.

Gluten-free wrapper with fillingYou can tell that the edges are just a *bit* crumbly, but they still worked well enough...I was even able to pleat them!

Normal wrapperYeah this one was a bit misshapen, it was one of the later ones and I was getting tired.

I didn't have any problems with the pleating, I actually thought that part was rather fun. Because I have to eat gluten-free, but my husband does not, I actually made and cooked my dumplings completely before starting on the "normal" wheat flour dumplings for my husband. It made some extra work, but it is better than having a stomach ache for a week!

All in a rowHere is the finished (but uncooked) tray of gluten-free dumplings...

Mmmmmdumplings...and here is the finished (but uncooked) tray of normal dumplings!

I pan-fried them rather than steamed or boiled because I don't have a steamer, and I thought the pan-fried bottoms looked really yummy. :)

Golden Gluten-Free BottomsHere are the gluten-free dumplings, ready to eat!

I think I slightly over did these...Gluten dumplings, with slightly over-cooked bottoms. Sigh.

For the dipping sauce I made a sweet-and-sour sauce, because my husband loves sweet and sour. :) And the dipping sauce really did turn out well. Even my Mom thought so (yes, they were so good I took a couple to my parent's house over the weekend - Mom just went gluten-free so I thought she would enjoy something different ^_^).

Ignore the baked potatoes and lack of chopsticks...You can see here the dipping sauce in the bowl. I forgot to get a close-up of it. After this picture was taken, I divided it into two smaller bowls so there wouldn't be any cross-contamination of gluten.

Yes, I *do* actually have chopsticks, but we are moving and they were kind of already packed in a box. ^^' OOops... And, yes, I made twice-baked potatoes to go with it. Not very "Zhongguo-tsai"/Chinese cuisine/Asian but I couldn't think of anything else to make.

In conclusion: This was a tricky recipe to make gluten-free, and it was also time-consuming (but that was mostly because I had to make two separate batches, washing dishes and everything in-between), but the dumplings were really yummy. And now I finally know what (gluten-free) dumplings taste like! And that they do, indeed, live up to the hype! I will probably make these again, actually, but they won't be something I will make very often, but rather as a special treat a few times a year. Although, since we are moving and will have a larger refridgerator, it might be a better idea to make a full batch and freeze the dumplings in (labeled) freezer bags that I could then pull out for a "quick" meal. That might come in handy, especially if I ever find a job!

The recipe:

Wheat Dough:
2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (113g) warm water
flour for worksurface

2 cups (250g) all-purpose gluten-free flour of choice
1/2 cup (113g) warm water
1 tbsp Xanthan Gum
cornstarch or gf-flour for worksurface

pork filling:
1/2 lb ground pork
2 large napa cabbage leaves, minced
1.5 stalks green onions, minced
3.5 shitake mushrooms, minced My husband doesn't like mushrooms :(
1/4 cup bamboo shoots, minced (left out because I could not find this)
1/8 cup ginger root, minced I substituted ground ginger
2 tbsp soy sauce (check label to find gluten-free!)
1 tbsp sesame oil (subsituted olive oil)
1 tbsp corn starch

beef filling:
same as pork filling, but substitute pork for beef

sweet and sour dipping sauce:
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
4 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp ketchup
2 tsp corn starch
4 tsp water


Combine all filling ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use (up to a day, but preferably within an hour or two).

For the dipping sauce, combine the vinegar, ketchup, and sugar in a sauce pan and heat until boiling. Mix the cornstarch and water together, and add that to the sauce pan. Stir, heating, until sauce thickens (doesn't take very long). Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Make the dough: In a large bowl, mix the flour and water. Continue adding water in small increments until the dough is firm but not sopping wet. Knead the dough about twenty strokes then cover with a damp towel for 15 minutes. Take the dough and form a flattened dome. Cut into strips about 1 1/2 to 2 inches wide. Shape the strips into rounded long cylinders. On a floured surface, cut the strips into 3/4 inch pieces. Press palm down on each piece to form a flat circle (you can shape the corners in with your fingers). With a rolling pin, roll out a circular wrapper from each flat disc. Take care not to roll out too thin or the dumplings will break during cooking - about 1/16th inch. Leave the centers slightly thicker than the edges. Place a tablespoon of filling in the center of each wrapper and fold the dough in half, pleating the edges along one side (press center of edges together, then pleat the right half, seal the teardrop edge, and repeat with the right half). Place finished dumplings on a tray or cooking sheet (I covered my cooking sheet with waxed paper because I found it easier). Keep all unused dough under damp cloth.

To pan fry (potstickers): Place dumplings in a frying pan with 2-3 tbsp of vegetable oil. Heat on high and fry for until bottoms are golden (10 to 15 minutes). Add 1/2 cup water and cover. Cook until the water has boiled away and then uncover and reduce heat to medium or medium low. Let the dumplings cook for another 2 minutes then remove from heat and serve (or put in the fridge and reheat when ready).

To serve: Serve dumplings or potstickers hot with your choice of dipping sauce combinations.

You can find Jen's original recipe, with additional filling options and cooking options, plus her dipping sauce recipe, here.


Jeanz said...

Wow, that is really double duty, making both the GF and regular on the same day! They look beautiful and I am sure that they tssted great.

Esther said...

Welcome to the Daring Kitchen glad you enjoyed your first challenge. Sure I will 'see' you around the alternative part of the forum :) Your dumplingd look great, both versions. I found the flatten with pan method suggested in the wheat starch recipe much easier than rolling.

Audax said...

I have so much admiration for the effort you put into this challenge making a gluten version and a gf version and it sounds like you are very easily affected by gluten. Kudos on doing such wonderful potstickers that were gf many extra brownie points for you> A very inspiring post. Bravo and kudos to you. Cheers from Audax

Jenn said...

Congrats on a great effort on this challenge! I admire you for giving it a 2nd go at it - yeah that xanthum gum is pure magic when it comes to GF cooking - we also couldn't use the wheat starch - I'm beginning to think more and more that if you have a celiac or celiac like allergy it's not safe - everyone I've talked to who has tried it has reacted to it. Great job coming up with your own alternative though, creating GF dough recipes is really hard!

Lauren said...

Wow! Your dumplings look amazing, and making two types in one day is ambitious! Awesome job =D.

Becca said...

Your fillings look great! So colorful.

moreace said...

Wow - and I thought doing one batch was a lot of work! Congrats on the challenge - your potstickers look great! And I'm so glad that people are putting more gluten-free recipes out there - my bro needs to eat gluten free, but I'm pretty sure potstickers are above his skill level. lol!


Great job, congrats on completing your first Daring Cooks Challenge, both types of dumplings look delish!!

tina said...

I admire you for your hard work to do 2 different kinds of dough and on the same day! Great job!

Melissa said...

Wow, two different fillings and two different kinds of dough! Glad you got it all to work out in the end, it looks great!

Anna at Mediocre Chocolate said...

Way to improvise! And stick it out. I'm glad they finally came together for you--they look great!

erushi said...

I'm very amazed by how well your gluten-free dumplings came out, given how difficult it is to handle, and all your effort making two types in one day. Lovely job, and they sound delicious!

- Erushi

Jen Yu said...

My dear, you win the award for awesomeness because you made TWO kinds of wrappers and because you came back a second time to get the gf version right. I'm uber proud of you, missy. Completely understand wanting to avoid wheat starch, I am just in awe of how creative GF cooks can be and this challenge was no exception. Great job and I'm so thrilled you liked the recipe. (I don't make them that often either - I would go insane from all of the work!)

Jenny said...

Nice work, and such dedication making both versions for your family. I don't know that I would have thought to switch out the pork for beef, think my kids would like that.

desichai said...

Great work Laura. Your potstickers look great. I have added your blog to my blogroll. Will keep visiting for the amazing recipes you have here. Sam (http://recipesbysam.wordpress.com)