Happy Chinese New Year! Over the weekend, I celebrated by guest chef-ing at Ted and Amy Supper Club in Brooklyn. We served a four-course meal for 14 people: shrimp and chive dumplings, watercress and mushroom noodle soup, red-cooked chicken with chestnuts, and for dessert, homemade black sesame ice cream with almond cookie crumble. Even I left in a food coma, and I had spent most of the day running around.
(Clockwise from top left: 1) Black sesame ice cream with almond cookie crumble, 2) Kara setting up beforehand, 3) Dinner underway, 4) Four tables long!)
It has been a while since I’ve featured a dumpling recipe on this site, so on Saturday afternoon, in the midst of preparing for the dinner, I pan-fried some extra dumplings for lunch and snapped a few photos.
The beauty of shrimp dumplings, other than being delicious, is that they take about half the cooking time of the standard pork dumplings, only about 3 minutes in the pan instead of 5 or 6. Chives add a refreshing crispness without overwhelming the delicate flavor of the shrimp, as scallions or leeks might. So if you’re a huge dumpling fan, try out this recipe below, for Chinese New Year or just a fun weekend project. The most challenging part is the folding. But once you get comfortable and crank out all 50, you can freeze extras for later. (And if you’re in New York, I also offer entire classes on dumpling making.)
Shrimp and Chive Dumplings
Makes about 50
- 1 pound fresh shrimp
- 1/4 cup finely chopped chives
- 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
- 1 pinch pepper, preferably white
- 1 pack dumpling wrappers
- 1 to 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- Peel, devein, and finely chop the shrimp.
- In a large bowl, combine the shrimp, chives, soy sauce, vinegar, and pepper.
- Unwrap the dumpling wrappers and keep them covered in plastic or under a damp towel.
- If you’re just starting out with dumpling folding, follow this step-by-step guide that shows a basic method with 3 pleats per dumpling. If you’d like to work your way up to 5 pleats, start in the middle and do 3 pleats towards the middle from one direction and and 2 pleats toward the middle from the other. (See these photos for reference.)
- Pan-frying*: Have about 1/3 cup water, a large skillet, and a lid for the skillet handy. Heat the skillet with about 1 to 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil over high heat. Wait about 1 minute for the oil to heat up. (You can also use a small piece of extra dumpling wrapper or piece of bread to test whether the pan is hot enough; it should sizzle immediately upon being placed in the pan.) Once the pan is hot, place the number of dumplings you want to cook smooth side down in the pan. Allow them to sear for about 1 to 2 minutes, until the bottoms turn golden brown.
- Add the water, cover immediately with a lid, and let the dumplings steam for another 1 minute. Uncover the lid to allow any extra water to evaporate before turning off the heat. Loosen the dumplings with a spatula and transfer them to a plate. (Whatever you don’t cook can be frozen for later. Dumplings can be put on the pan frozen, no defrosting required. Just add one extra minute of steaming.)
- Transfer to serving plates, and serve with soy sauce.
*Note: To boil the dumplings instead, bring a pot of water to boil. Add dumplings and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Drain well.