For the second edition of the Daring Cooks, our host Jen of Use Real Butter, chose Chinese Dumplings. At first I was a little disappointed with the challenge as I had done it before in another group (my recipe pick at the time actually). But after I thought about it, I was eager to give the pleating another try as I failed miserably last time.
I stuck with the recipe as written even though we could be creative as we wanted with the fillings (I used the pork option). Taking into account my experience last time with the dumpling dough, I went small and only made enough for a small batch. I still couldn't get the dough rolled out to the proper thickness so my dumplings ended up being a little doughy after steaming. I did a little better (depends on your definition of better) with the pleating this time but nothing really to be proud of. They still look a bit of a mess!
I considered trying to bake the dumplings but went ahead with just steaming them (I love my bamboo steamer!). Next time I'll attempt baking to see how they fare. Pan fried dumplings are delicious but I thought it would be better to steam them so they would be sure to get cooked all the way through (the doughy-ness remember?). Plus I had this gorgeous head of cabbage that I picked up to line the steamer (unlike last time when the dumplings stuck!).
Sorry for the crapola presentation. I just could make myself try and pretty up something so blah looking. Obviously these aren't the better pleated ones. They still stunk.
Taste wise these were just fine (if you ignore the doughy bit). The filling was obviously the best part. I'll definitely keep it in mind when I make dumplings again.
Dumplings are definitely something I would like to make more often. They are perfect for a quick and easy weeknight dinner when you make them from scratch and freeze them. The next time I do however, I will be buying the wrappers. Its just so much easier and they are the correct thickness. I don't think I could stand to eat another doughy dumpling! I know its all my fault for being a crappy wrapper maker. I'm sure in the hands of someone who won't mess it up, homemade wrappers would be perfect!