Northern Chinese Lamb Dumplings (饺子)
(As Featured in May2014 Nourish Magazine) If you like the juicy, broth-filled Xiao Long Bao, you will love this Northern Chinese lamb version of the famed dumplings. Steamed to release the yummy broth, then lightly fried they are absolutely irresistible and go down a treat.
While the most common stuffing in Chinese dumplings would have to be pork, or a mixture of pork and prawn popular in wontons, cumin-spiced minced lamb used in the North can be a delicious and moreish alternative. Now I am not the biggest fan of lamb so when I say these are super tasty, it means they really are.
Traditionally, these are made by whole families on New Year’s Eve and eaten just after midnight, but in the Northern provinces they are eaten all year round, hence why their name is attributed to that region. We, too, think that making a batch of these dumplings is a nice way to spend some family time any day of the year.
- 1 packet gow gee wrappers (30 pieces)
- 500g lamb mince
- ½ red onion, diced finely
- 100g wombok (Chinese cabbage), shredded finely
- 20g garlic chives, chopped finely
- 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp cumin seeds, ground
- ½ tsp coriander seeds, ground
- ¼ tsp black pepper, ground
- 3 tbsp peanut oil + extra
- 4 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 spring onion, chopped
- 1 slice of ginger, julienned
- Place onion with 1 tablespoon peanut oil in a small pan and cook on low heat until the onion is soft and translucent. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
- To the same pan, add 2 tablespoons peanut oil and shredded wombok. Cook over low heat until the cabbage has wilted and halved in volume.
- Transfer to your mixing bowl.
- Add garlic chives, Worcestershire sauce, ground cumin and coriander seeds and black pepper. Mix well.
- Add mince and using your hands mix the filling until well combined.
- Take a heaped teaspoon of the filling and place in the middle of the gow gee pastry round.
- Brush the inside edges of the pastry with a little water to help them stick.
- Fold the pastry in half and stick edges together.
- You should end up with a half moon-shaped dumpling. Now, working from one end to another, crimp the pastry seal all the way around.
- Set aside and repeat with the rest of the dumplings.
- You can cook these in rapidly boiling water for 3-4 minutes, but steaming them in a traditional bamboo steamer is a more delicate process that won't rip the pastry.
- Place 4-5 dumplings in a bamboo steamer lined with baking paper and set over a pot of boiling water.
- Steam for 8 minutes - just make sure to fill up the pot to about half way after every 3 batches.
- When ready, (drain boiled dumplings - no need to do this for steamed) and transfer to a pan set over medium heat, greased with extra peanut oil - they may splatter a little.
- Cook until they are lightly browned and crisp on the bottom.
- Serve hot dumplings with a side of a soy, ginger and spring onion dipping sauce. Leftover dumplings can be reheated in a microwave and re-fried.