This is one of those dishes that I call “fake fancy”. That is, so many people think they’re fancy and difficult giving SO many ego-boosts, yet in reality they’re dirt simple. How simple? Well, let’s start with the cooking instead of ingredients first.
You need a heavy skillet with a decent fitting lid. Get it medium hot and add a tablespoon or so of oil. Add the dumplings and let them sit – NOT stirring – for a minute. Add a quarter to third of a cup of water, quickly put on the lid, and set the timer for one minute. When the timer goes off, remove the lid (carefully, there may still be steam), take the pan from the heat, and use a spatula to unstick any dumplings that need it before moving them to the plate.
Yeah, re-read that. Heat the pan, add a bit of oil. One minute, add water and lid, one minute, remove and serve. Hard? snicker.
OK, let’s go to the second easiest part, the shell. The batch you see above is one cup of flour, 1/3 cup of water, about a quarter teaspoon of salt. Knead it till it’s firm, wrap in plastic and put in the refrigerator for half an hour to fully hydrate. Use a pasta roller or your rolling pin to get it as thin as possible. (If the dough is sticking to anything other than itself, dust with a bit of flour and continue.)
Now when I work this, I separate the dough into three or four pieces and roll each of them to the final thickness. It keeps them manageable.
Anyway, I’ve got a strip of some length and about 3 to 4 inches wide. I put a half-teaspoon of filling every couple of inches about 1/3 of the width from one side. I then LIGHTLY spray the strip with water and fold it over. I don’t worry about pretty, just a quick fold over and press around to seal.
Confession time – I don’t go for perfect seals here. As a result I don’t have to worry about trapping air and bursting the packages. Since I’m not using a meltable (cheese) filling, I don’t have to worry about it oozing out during the cooking. Lazy == me.
So we’ve done the two easy parts, what’s the filling? Any chopped meat you want — or for that matter any veggie filling you’ve chopped as well. In this case I’m using the chicken breast I’d thawed (yes, I purchase bags of frozen breasts) and coarsely chopped. This batch had a clove of garlic minced, a tablespoon of chopped onion, a teaspoon of ginger, a teaspoon of soy sauce, and a quarter teaspoon of pepper oil added to it. Thing is you can add whatever you want. I once made a batch with a basic taco meat spice set – it worked. (Though not being what people expected it caused some hesitation. Fair warning.) If you’ve got a favorite sausage sitting in your refrigerator there is ZERO reason to chop or spice if that’s what you want.
This made about 16 dumplings by the way. A nice meal for one, a nice appetizer for two to four (depending on appetites, etc.)
Oh – the small dish is a simple dipping sauce. Equal parts soy and honey mixed. Sometimes I’ll add some ginger and/or garlic and/or, well, whatever strikes my fancy. But I like the sweet+salt base. Feel free to go as you prefer.