My parents would tell me that dumplings were like a luxury food back when they were little, because meat was really rationed so it was usually eaten during major holidays like the Lunar Festival.
When I went back to Canada to visit my parents, they of course, made dumplings. Especially because my cousin and her bf were coming, it would be a family feast of dumplings.
Perhaps the hardest thing about dumplings is the filling. We grow our own chives in our backyard, and cut them fresh to make the filling. My parents aren't really big on beef (cuz of Mad Cow disease I think) so we usually use chicken or shrimp as the meat fillings.
Now let's get down to business. First you take a little brush and trace the edges of the dumping/wanton cover with water. This makes the cover sticky enough to be stuck together during the filling and cooking process.
Fold in one edge of the dumpling cover into a mini triangle at the side, then press the sides together. If the edges come loose, reinforce with more water.
Repeat on the other side, until it becomes a triangle with tucked ends like this:
We usually cook up a storm of side dishes alongside our dumplings. We like to eat a lot of veggies like stir-fried cucumber with mushrooms and green onions.
That day, we also grilled up some salmon (altantic salmon and grapeseed oil both curtesy of Costco).
I was in charge of the salmon. First we marinated it in salt/pepper/olive oil for 30 minutes, then laid it flat on a greased foil to send off to the oven at 375F for 45 minutes. Meanwhile, I stirred up a tartar sauce using tartar sauce, lemon juice, some juice from our four bean blend (a combo of sweet and sour), and a dollop of french mustard.
About an hour later...
The salmon was nice and crispy - grilled really nicely. And we also grilled some of the lamb racks that we had on hand in the fridge.
And the star of the show...
There is actually a technique to properly boil your dumplings so that the filling doesn't fall apart. You have to gently stir the dumpling pot with a wooden spoon in a clockwise direction and then wait until it floats up to the top. When the dumplings are almost ready, stir in the opposite direction.
We cooked up about three plates of dumplings, enough to fill up the entire table.
We really like using these dishes that resemble a bunch of Korean side dish plates combined together.
We had a really good time. You know, it's no wonder that people bond over food, because it appeals to our basic needs of eating and socializing. I wonder if people bonded over dumplings in ancient China...