Лохматый пирожок из таро! Так я прозвала этот dumpling, when saw it for the first time in the picture 10 years ago. I became obsessed — needed to find the recipe and try making it. If I remember correctly (the original is not available anymore), I found a Chinese recipe and had somebody help me translate it. It was challenging and fun!
I equally enjoy eating and making dumplings. It’s one of those foods that gives me an opportunity to let my fingers work on something fine and elaborate. That’s why I haven’t given a try to my ravioli maker for years until now. But even a passionate cook who tends to make meals from scratch feels lazy from time to time and I unpacked it.
I had an idea about what kind of dough will be best to use for the maker, and the first try was successful. There were only three convenient ingredients. The dough was easy to make and easy to use. It didn’t need more than 15 minutes to rest and nicely rolled very thin. The dumplings were cooked in about 2 minutes.
I tried it for a few times with different stuffings and now happy to share the recipe! It is perfect for dumplings with the stuffing that benefits from quick cooking — raw herbs, berries, fresh cheese, etc. Enjoy!
If you are with me for a long time, you already know about my roots and my fascination with layered dough. They come together in this recipe. I’ve seen dargin khinkal on pictures and videos only and know about its taste and texture from somebody else’s descriptions. The combination of boiled beef and garlicky tsahdon (sauce) is the treat from my childhood, one of the dishes my grandma used to make for me.
I don’t have an explanation why we’ve never made dumplings with red and black currants at home. My Mom used to add currents to the sauce, but never fill dumplings with them. It’s funny that I am tasting this well known version of Ukrainian varenyki only now, so far from home, in Texas, where currants are exotic! I asked myself why dumplings with tart cherries and currants are so popular in Eastern European countries. I think, the key is the intensity of sweet and sour flavors rounded with soft dough and a little bit of cream or butter. Many other fruit and berries change its flavor when cooked, but tart cherries and currants keep it well and tease our taste buds with every bite!
This recipe is part of DIM SUM Steamed and Fried Dumplings cooking class.
First, there was a picture in Dim Sum cookbook (by Janice Wong, Photography © Kevin Koh, Lighedpixels). Actually, I bought the book because of that picture, and the recipe with crunchy lace was the first one I tried in my kitchen. It didn’t work. Many times. Online search showed nothing in English with proven and attractive results exists either. I’ve got all kinds of starches in MT Asian Supermarket, rolled my sleeves, and started experimenting — spent a lot of time and wasted a lot of ingredients mastering this recipe!
My version only looks like De Fa Chang restaurant lotus dumplings. The dough recipe belongs to Andrea Nguyen, and so far it’s the best I tried for steamed dumplings. It has a balanced chewy texture — not too soft and mushy, not too rubbery. Cooked dumplings keep their shape well. If brushed with some oil or melted butter right after steaming, the skins do not overdry and look appetizing. The stuffing is not traditional either. To practice shaping I used round slices of fresh peach dusted with dry mix of sugar and corn starch. I also changed Andrea’s recipe by replacing boiling water + oil with scalded milk + clarified butter. Peach dumplings were served with cream and peach syrup. Then I found another “lazy” stuffing for savory dumplings — large scallops, and another “lazy” sauce to serve them — Gulf Brown shrimp compound butter.
Khinkali (Georgian: ხინკალი) is a juicy Georgian dumpling, filled with seasoned minced meat (lamb or beef + pork). Minced onions, red chili pepper, and cumin are always part of the recipe, while herbs (cilantro and parsley) are optional. Khinkali is supposed to be eaten with hands (no utensils). It is picked up by the top of the dumpling (aka kudi or “hat”) and turned upside down. First, you bite a small hole to suck all the meat juices trapped inside. Than, you can eat the rest of the dumpling, except for the part you’ve been using as a holder, the “hat.”
Dark tart cherries are one of the most traditional fillings for Ukrainian varenyki — sweet dumplings served with fruity sauce, or melted butter and honey, or sour cream and sugar. Their recipes vary from region to region. Varenyki I remember were mostly made with the dough enriched by soured milk or whey and eggs. There are also recipes using only boiling water for the dough. All of them have the same goal — a dumpling with a soft and pleasant texture.