Lessons from a Chinese Roommate Part 1: Turkey Dumplings

When I was in college, I had to roommates that were from China. One of them ate only week old balogna she kept in the desk drawer and the unmentionables of some of the guys that lived on our floor, but the other one taught me alot of what I now know about cooking. These two dishes, turkey wontons and whole trout in chile sauce are both inspired by dishes she would make.

One of the first things Tracey taught me about making dumplings was to not bother making the dough. Too much work, she said. Because I substitued ground turkey breast in for the pork for this recipe, I chose to use wonton skins in place of regular dumpling wrappers. The thinner wrap allowed the flavor of the meat a little bit more freedom. So to make the filling, just mix: 2.5 tablespoons of soy sauce, a tablespoon of mirin, 2 tablespoons of freshly minced ginger, a teaspoon of salt, 2 teaspoons of sesame oil, 1.5 tablespoons of cornstarch and a little over a half pound of ground turkey breast. I also added some szechuan peppercorns, but that’s because I just bought them and am obsessed with putting them in everything. Mix this all well. I reccomend using your hands, if you aren’t meat phobic.

 Grab a bowl of water and a baking sheet to set up your work space. Put the wontons in close reach. Lay a skin in front of you and put a small amount of filling on to it, use your finger to put water around the edge on one side, then fold over to that side. The shape of your dumpling is important only for aesthetics, but the important step here is to make sure you press all of the air around the meat out, so your dumpling doesn’t get bubbles. Repeat until you use up all the meat. This recipe made about 40 dumplings. If your dumplings are sticking to each other or the surface, sprinkle more cornstarch.

Cooking these is easy, you can either steam them for about 7 minutes, boil them for 7 minutes, or (my favorite) boil them for 5 minutes then put them in a hot frying pan with non stick cooking spray, flipping them as they brown. Mmm, crunchy!


2 Responses

  1. […] minutes in a warm water bath) and cut off the stems. Why cut off the stems? I don’t know. My Chinese roommate in college always did it. Why did she do it? Her mother told her to. Lay them out on a baking try […]

  2. […] This little situation was rectified recently when I landed for the wedding of friends of mine. Tracey, another college friend of mine, was excited to take this moment to show me the food of the area. […]

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