Curried Shrimp Dumplings

I wish I could recount for you the first time I ever ate a dumpling.  It’s not that I fear it’s a boring story; no, quite sadly, I cannot recall my first experience with the little bundles of joy.

I can, however, remember the first time I ate dumplings that I made with my own hands.  Except for the skin of course…I’ve never been brave enough to make my own dumpling skins, not when I can buy them so cheaply at the local Asian supermarket.

Anyway, back to homemade dumplings.  Of course, I was in Taiwan, where my love for authentic Chinese food began.  I lived in an apartment with two other girls from my study abroad program, and each of us had a Taiwanese roommate.  Mine was named Alice.

Alice was a sweet, soft-spoken woman, who was always very patient with me, despite my constant questions about my new surroundings.  Since I was the only person in the without extended family living in the country (the other girls from the US were Asian-American), Alice and my other Taiwanese apartment-mates were amazing at making me feel welcome and eventually, at home.

One night, we decided to have an apartment bonding activity: dumpling making.  It was great fun, but let’s just say my first dumplings were not pretty, nor were they really edible, since I couldn’t get the pleats to stay together at first.  I managed to get a few to come out looking halfway decent, and I like to think they tasted better because I made them myself.  I am now a dumpling pleating pro, even though I turned these dumplings into little bundles.  They look so cute that way! Plus pleating a wonton wrapper is difficult.

These dumplings remind me of the curry dumplings I had in Taiwan.  I toned down the curry paste that the original recipe called for so that the shrimp wasn’t overpowered.  If you really want a bold curry taste, feel free to use more, up to 4 tsp.

Curried Shrimp Dumplings

Adapted from Everyday Food

Makes about 24 dumplings

2 Tbsp vegetable oil

2 Tbsp grated fresh ginger

2 scallions, thinly sliced

¾ pound shrimp, peeled and deveined

2 tsp red curry paste

1 tsp fish sauce

24 or so wonton wrappers

In a small skillet, heat 1 Tbsp of oil over medium-high heat.  Add ginger and scallions and cook, stirring, until scallions are slightly softened and mixture is fragrant, 2 minutes and remove from heat.  In a food processor, pulse shrimp until finely chopped.  Transfer to a bowl and add ginger mixture, curry paste and fish sauce; stir to combine.

Working with one wonton wrapper at a time, place a heaping teaspoon of the shrimp mixture in the center.  With a wet finger, moisten all edges of the wrapper, then bring all four corners together, pinching at the top to seal.  Repeat with remaining filling and wrappers.  Cover your completed dumplings with a kitchen towel while you work so they won’t dry out.

In a large non-stick skillet, heat the other Tbsp of oil over medium-high heat.  Add as many dumplings as you want to cook/will fit in the skillet, seam side up, and cook until golden brown on the bottom, about 1 minute.  Add about ½ cup of water to the pan, cover, and let it cook until the water is almost completely evaporated and the dumplings are tender, about 3 minutes.  Reduce heat to medium if the dumplings are browning too quickly.  Once they are cooked through, transfer the dumplings to a serving plate and serve with your favorite dumpling sauces.  I like to make a dipping sauce that’s 3 parts soy sauce to 1 part sesame oil.  Luke prefers plain soy sauce.

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