Chinese immigrants have carried their cuisine to all parts of the world and over the years a lot of their dishes have gotten morphed to suit the local taste/palate and as a result some of the dishes that we eat in restaurants in the western hemisphere do not even exist in China! But dumplings are a standard appetizer at Chinese restaurants all over the world and they pretty much have stuck to the original recipes that the immigrants brought with them. In India, the dumplings or Momos as they are called there, are so popular that even roadside stalls sell them. My children love the Indian version of the Chinese dumplings and each time we go there for a visit, it is one of the first things they want to eat! My daughter likes them steamed and my son likes them fried. So naturally, I had to try my own hand at them and here is the result.
For the dough:
1. 2 cups of bleached white flour/maida (available at Indian stores)
2. ½ teaspoon of baking powder
3. Salt to taste (usually 1 teaspoon)
4. One tablespoon of Canola or Corn oil
5. One cup of hot water (or maybe a little more)
For the filling:
1. 1 lb of minced pork (or minced chicken)
2. Half a head of Napa cabbage
3. 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
4. 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar
5. 2 shallots
6. 2 cloves of garlic
7. 1 inch long ginger root
8. 4-5 spring onions
9. ½ teaspoon of white pepper or black pepper powder
10. 1 teaspoon of Sriracha sauce
For the dipping sauce:
1. 3 tablespoons of soy sauce
2. 2 tablespoons of rice vinegar
3. 1 tablespoon of brown sugar
4. 1 large garlic clove (chopped in very small pieces – preferably diced)
5. 1 teaspoon of Sriracha sauce
6. One spring onion (chopped very fine)
3. If the dough looks too dry, add some extra hot water (a little bit at a time) and knead in such a way that all the ingredients in the baking dish get mixed up in a large ball. Kneading the dough takes about 8-10 minutes and pressing down with both your hands helps to bring the flour and water together to form chewy dough. When the dough is kneaded, cover it with a slightly wet napkin and set it aside.
4. To make the filling for the dumplings – peel the ginger, garlic and shallots.5. Using a micro-plane, grate the ginger, garlic and shallots.
6. Cut the Napa cabbage in small thing pieces.
7. Cut the spring onions in small pieces (including the green stems)
12. Fold the second half of the circle over the filling and seal the dumpling using water to attach the two ends of the dumpling. To make it look pretty, crimp the end of the circle in little folds before sealing the dumpling. Set this raw dumpling aside.
13. Make similar dumplings with the remaining dough and pork filling.
14. While making these dumplings, start heating a pot of water (large enough to fit the steamer over it).
15. In a bamboo steamer, place on the dumplings in a circle. You may need both layers of the steamer to steam all the dumplings.
16. Place the steamer over the pot of water that is boiling and steam the dumplings for approximately 10 minutes or until they look done.
17. To make the dipping sauce, mix all the ingredients (soy sauce, sugar, rice vinegar, Sriracha, chopped garlic clove, chopped spring onion) in a bowl and mix thoroughly.
18. You can serve the dumplings when they are steamed or if you would like to fry them (to make their exterior crisp), place them in a hot non-stick pan with a tablespoon of cooking oil at the bottom and brown the dumplings on each side for approximately 2-3 minutes.
19. Serve the dumpling while they are still hot, with the dipping sauce on the side.