Although it’s been 7 years when we last lived in Asia, the memories live on today whenever I cook a meal using Asian ingredients. It’s a time in my life I shall always cherish. Unless you’ve visited or lived in the Far East, it is a place where words, no matter how eloquent, can never truly capture those first hand experiences of the sights, sounds and aromas. To this day when I get a whiff of oyster sauce after opening the bottle, the salty, pungent scent of fish sauce, newly chopped coriander, or lemongrass freshly bruised by a pestle, my mind travels back to the places where we lived.
Hong Kong was the first city. We had just moved from Toronto and even though it was a large city with over 4.5 million, nothing could have prepared me for wall to wall people scurrying around at what seemed a thousand miles per minute. It was mind boggling at times and yet other times it was simply amazing! We lived on Hong Kong island with a population of 1.2 million but residents from across the harbour in Kowloon commuted to the island for work making the city double in size. Hong Kong island is small; only 30.34 square miles. The frenetic pace was exhilarating and exhausting but we loved it. Food in Hong Kong had to be fresh, served quickly, top notch delicious, all to keep things rolling along. And it did.
You can use dumplings in a hot pot, pan fried, as pot stickers etc. I had some meat mixture leftover and made mini meat balls tossed into the boiling broth and cooked for 5 minutes (de-lish).
- ½ pound minced beef
- ½ pound minced pork
- 2 green onions, sliced
- 4 dried shiitake mushrooms (or other Chinese mushroom)
- ¼ cup chopped coriander
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1½ tablespoons oyster sauce
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 50 round wonton wrappers
- 25 raw shrimp cut into chunks (optional)
- Soak mushrooms in one cup of hot water for roughly 15 minutes or until soft. Remove mushrooms from liquid (reserve for later) and finely chop mushrooms. In a large bowl combine meat, coriander, green onions and mushrooms. In a small bowl whisk egg with 1 tablespoon of the mushroom water and cornstarch. Add soy sauce, oyster sauce, and sugar. Pour over meat mixture and combine (use your hands for best results). Cover and refrigerate one hour to allow flavors to develop.
- Arrange wonton wrappers on a work surface and add a teaspoon of the meat mixture in the middle. Place a chunk of shrimp meat to the middle of the beef mixture (optional). Pick up the wonton wrapper and wet the edges with the mushroom water. Fold wrapper in half making sure the wrapper is sealed. Crimp and fold along the edges. Place dumpling on parchment-lined tray. Repeat process. Cover and refrigerate. When ready to use, drop dumplings into a hot broth (chicken or beef) and cook 4 to 5 minutes.
The Culinary Chase’s Note: Round wonton wrappers are available in Asian grocer shops or in larger grocery stores in the refrigerated areas. If you cannot find the round ones, like me, use a large round cutter (I used the top of a glass). Otherwise use the square ones by folding over and make a triangle. Wet the points of the triangle and bring together like a tortellini or leave as is. These dumplings freeze well. Enjoy!