Bend Me, Shape Me, Anyway You Want Me
If I had to name one food to serve the distinguished honor as the perfect bite, it’d be the dumpling. I’m pretty egalitarian in terms of the ingredients and format, but don’t get it twisted – my love runs deep and true and requires both quality and quantity as a means of scratching my itch for dumpling majesty. I’ve danced with dumpling making many a time in satisfying my cravings, and I’ve been able to get my method down pat to reduce the amount of time pleating and pinching so that I can get to the stone-cold munching party a little bit sooner. Whether I want thick-skinned jiao zi with gingery pork filling and crisped bottoms, or lacy shrimp har gow filled with bamboo shoots and sesame oil, I’m comforted by the fact that I know how to construct these babies for myself. And knowledge is power, bitches.
In that it’s 3000 degrees here in Arizona at the moment (I’m not exaggerating – I generally know what a pot roast must feel like every time I step outside), if I’m going to go through the process of pinching dumplings until my face turns blue, I need something to cool my thirst. Preferably with a little kick from spicy ginger and tart limes. And with that, I offer you a blast from the Spice or Die past with a series of dumplings and ginger limeade to keep me blissfully high on the perfect bites and sips. Oh, and before I leave you to it, definitely share with me your favorite dumpling recipe at the bottom of the page. The world is depending on it! I’m not kidding.
This one comes from my buddy Tim, an expert chef who took some time to share his technique and memories of constructing these treasures with his fam back in the day.
Typically when I crave dumplings, these are the ones that I want, with pliantly chewy wrappers and gingery pork centers. I love them with crisp bottoms while my hubs loves them steamed (which in this case really means boiled), and we both dunk them in this Sweet Soy Dipping Sauce.
A lighter alternative to pork, these chicken-filled babies can handle as much chili as you’d like. Test their mettle and then learn the true meaning of fire in-fire out.
Fragrant and glorious, these little buggers are clutch for brontosauruses and T-rexes alike. What? Dinosaurs totally love dumplings.
Quick to make and killer to eat by the dozen, lately I’ve been topping them with a thin slice of fresh jalapeno to put a little sizzle into each bite.
Sometimes these are called Crystal Shrimp Dumplings for their transparent wrappers made from tapioca starch. If they’re too fiddly to make for yourself, you can grab some pre-made wrappers from your local Asian market. And you should, because they are damn worth it.
Peppery, tart and sweet, this one’s like a kiss from me. Not that I’m handing out kisses, so you’d better make some ginger limeade instead.
Your Turn to Pleat and Pinch
Have you got a killer dumpling? Or maybe a filled delicacy from anywhere around the globe? Give us your ravioli, pierogie, agnolotti, pelmeni, chicken and dumplings, kreplach, momos and gyoza. We want to feast that’s globally supreme.