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Thursday, February 3, 2011

Year Of The Rabbit

The Chinese New Year.

Long noodles, dumplings, and fried whole fish are a few of the foods that symbolize good luck for the Chinese New Year. I couldn't coax Michael into having fried whole fish for our Chinese New Year celebration. My half-hearted thinly vieled hopeful suggestion of it was weak and lame.

No matter.

Dumplings were a lovely compromise.  Specifically, Siu Mai  dumplings.  I love siu mai dumplings because they are easy to assemble, requiring little painstakingly precise fussy pleating.

I followed a recipe (to the letter) from Tyler Florence's Real Kitchen for siu mai dumplings and they turned out great!

Shrimp and Ginger Siu Mai Dumplings
                                    -Tyler Florence

3/4 pound shrimp, shelled and deviened       
1/2 pound ground pork                                 
1 green onion, finely chopped                        
3 garlic cloves, minced                                  
2-inch piece fresh ginger, grated                                         
2 egg whites                                                  
2 teaspoons cornstarch                                 
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon dry sherry
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper

1 (10-ounce) package round wonton wrappers
Canola oil, for brushing the steamer                                          

Pulse the filling ingredients in a food processor until partly smooth but not completely pureed.  Season with salt and pepper.

Hold a wonton wrapper in your hand.  Drop 1 tablespoon of the filling onto the center of the wrapper.  Gather the edges of the wrapper up around the filling and squeeze the sides slightly with your fingers.  The sides will naturally pleat, leaving the filling slightly exposed.  Tap the dumpling on the table so the bottom is flat and it stands upright.  Repeat with remaining wrappers.

Lightly oil the bottom of a 10-inch bamboo steamer and line it with the whole cabbage leaves.  Stand the dumplings in the steamer in a single layer and don't let them touch.  Bring 1 to 2 inches of water to a boil in a wok.  Set the bamboo steamer inside the wok, then cover it with the bamboo lid.  Steam for 10 to 12 minutes or until the filling feels firm.

I don't own bamboo steamers or a wok.  I placed my dumplings on a cabbage lined rack in a stock pot and followed the cooking instructions, steaming the dumplings until they were firm.

Happy Chinese New Year!

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