Making Melbourne’s best dumplings

A conversation on twitter about dumplings when I posted my disappointment in Hutong and how hard it was to find good dumpling places in Melbourne. When I arrived here more than a decade to go, Camy was the place to go for good, cheap and yummy dumplings. The fried dumplings had a nice crispy bottom and juicy fillings. These days, they serve soggy fried dumplings that tastes like cardboard. Don’t get me wrong, there are good and reasonable places but how hard can it be to serve decent dumplings. They are relatively cheap, easy and quick to make.

Anyway, I believe that the conversation started with @thatjessho, @cloudcontrol and myself. And I thought it would be a great idea to have a dumplings party. We had a good response from twitterverse and tweeps were raising their hands to the occasion. We set a date and venue (much thanks to @thatjessho) and were pumped to attempt to make Melbourne’s best dumplings.

Garlic chives

Garlic chives

Fresh ginger

Fresh ginger

I was confident that some of the food bloggers will turn up with prawn and pork fillings. So I decided that I will make vegetarian ones. I thought that the challenge was not in the dumpling filling but the dough. I found a hot dough recipe on Fuji Mama’s blog! My fears of it being in the ‘too hard basket’ was unfounded.

Mung bean noodle

Mung bean noodle

Ingredients:

Garlic chive filling

  • 1 bunch of garlic chives, finely chopped
  • 20g mung bean noodles, soaked soft and cut into little strands
  • 20g cup dried black mushrooms, hydrate, de-stemmed and finely diced
  • 1 tbsp finely grated fresh ginger
  • 3 cloves of finely grated garlic
  • 1tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • Salt and white pepper for seasoning
  • 1 small egg
Garlic Chive mixture

Garlic Chive mixture

Dough

  • 1 cup of flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup of water (this varies)
Hot water dough

Hot water dough

Method:

Dough

  1. Sift one cups of  flour into a bowl and add a pinch of salt
  2. Have about 1/2 cup of boiling at hand. Add 1/4 cup first and use a chopstick to stir the flour around. Add little by little until you can form the mixture into a ball.
  3. Allow the dough to rest in a bowl covered with a damp cloth for about an hour
  4. If the dough is a little dry, just knead it until smooth
  5. Cut it into little disc or blocks, flatten and roll into a thin disc
  6. To make the perfect circle, use a round cookie cutter or use a little chinese sauce container and trim it
  7. Dust some flour and set aside
Cutting dough into perfect disc

Cutting dough into perfect disc

We started with 4 interested parties and a week before the party, we had about 18. But on the day itself, there were 8 of us. So kudos to bloggers –  Superkawaiimama, jetsettingjoyce, petitevalse, thatjessho, cookinwithgoths, cloudcontrol, th0i3 for making this happen. And also special credits to Mister (@th0i3) for taking photos for us as our hands were all pre-occupied and for allowing me to use the photos on my blog :)

Deep in concentration

Deep in concentration

It was all hands in. Jess and I were hard at work in rolling out our dough. Not all dumplings were made with fresh dough, there were store bought skins. So the rest started filling the skin and pinching to make pretty dumplings. It felt really good standing together and getting our hands dirty for a yummy outcome. I have made gyoza before but not made my own dough so to me, it was a sense of achievement and could not believe how simple it is. There is no doubt that I will making dumplings from scratch from now on :)

I can still remember the face on Jess when we took the first bite of home-made dumplings with fresh dough. She just lit up and broke into big smile and we high five each other. Pure bliss. :) Absolutely priceless. Maybe Mastercard should get us bloggers to do an ad for them. ;)

Working hard

Working hard

I am not really good with pinching dumplings. The trick as disclose by Celeste is to start pinching from the centre and then down both sides. I guess it worked as my dumplings started looking much better. Still no attention to detail but it kept the filling in ;)

Pinching dumpling

Pinching dumpling

We have no idea how many dumplings we made and ate. It had to be more than 200 and even 300? It was a great collaboration. And it was not just food bloggers that turned up. That is the joy of cooking. It brings people together. Our main focus was to make dumplings and eat them.

Visit @th0i3 flickr for more photos

dumplings everywhere

dumplings everywhere

Everyone made a great effort of rolling, filling, pinching, cooking and eating. It was eaten steamed, boiled and pan fried. We made gyoza, big siew mai, ones that look like char siew bao (pork dumplings) and wontons. And yes, we have made Melbourne’s best tasting dumplings. Mission completed.

Thanks again for the company. And for those that missed out this time, I am sure we can arrange another dumpling party. Till the next time.

How do you like your dumpling done – steamed, pan-fried, boiled?