Happy Monday! I hope that wherever you spent your weekend, the weather was as glorious as it was in the Boston-area. In many ways, it still felt like summer, but with a nice light fall breeze. I’m one of those people who never gets too hot and really prefers the weather to be 90+ degrees (I don’t even mind humidity… Except my hair definitely does. But that’s what braids are for). But even I have to admit that this is the best weather in the world. It makes me soo happy to be in New England. Which is probably the point… Mother Nature is basically saying, “here’s some glorious weather so you don’t all move to California. Please try to remember how awesome this is because the next 4-5 months are going to be doozies.”
Clearly, I already have Thanksgiving on my mind (but when do I not??) and am currently thinking of a zillion ways to incorporate my favorite flavors into recipes. I was invited to the NYC Dumpling Festival this Saturday, but sadly can’t make the trip from Boston. But since Saturday also happens to be the very first National Dumpling Day, I thought it would be fun to create my own dumpling recipe, including actually making my own dumpling wrappers!
But if you are in the NYC-area, you should definitely hit up the festival (it’s happening from 12:00-5:00 p.m. at Sara D. Roosevelt Park). Not only will you have the chance to try dumplings from around the world, but you’ll also get to experience a record-breaking “dumpling eating contest,” a giant dumpling cutting ceremony, a live cultural performances, and more! Plus, 100% of proceeds from tickets sales will be donated to the Food Bank for New York City.
If you can’t make it, you can hang out with me and make your own dumplings instead!
I did a lot of research before making my dumplings. And I even bought wonton wrappers from the grocery store… Just in case. You can most definitely use wonton wrappers to make dumplings; lots of people do! But in honor of the dumpling festival and National Dumpling Day, I really wanted to try from scratch. And guess what? It’s not that tough! The dough is simple enough and contains just flour, water, and salt.
And rolling out the rounds was actually really fun. You have to roll from the edge to the center and constantly turn the round. Basically, you want the wrapper to be thin around the outside and a little thicker in the middle, so they’re sturdy enough to hold the delicious filling.
You can fill a dumpling with anything you want. Pork and cabbage seems to be the standard traditional version. But I decided to go a little bit outside of the traditional and gave my dumplings a Thanksgiving autumn-style flair with turkey and cranberries. I did add cabbage, too. Since cabbage holds a lot of water, you’ll need to get rid of some of it before adding it to your dumplings. I shredded mine in the food processor and then squeezed the water out of it. I was shocked by how much came out!
Then I mixed the cabbage with ground turkey, cranberries, soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, and a little Sriracha for some kick!
I didn’t get very fancy with my dumpling design. I simply folded around the filling and sealed with a little bit of water. One of the reasons I’d love to attend the Dumpling Festival is to see all of the different dumpling designs! Maybe next time I’ll try some pleats, but for now, I was just happy that I was able to fold a decent-looking dumpling.
I boiled some of my dumplings and pan fried others. Both were delicious, but my pan fried dumplings were definitely a whole lot prettier! Pan frying dumplings is definitely an art and took a little practice on my part. Adding water to oil is always scary, but I eventually got it down!
I also infused my soy sauce with a little bit of sage.
And then I had my own little dumpling festival right in my kitchen!
Hey, one variety of dumpling is better than none, right? But now that I have one variety down, I feel pretty confident that I could riff off it and make many more.
One of the main reasons I’m sad to be missing the NYC Dumpling Festival is because I’d love to see the dumpling eating contest. Molly Schuyler holds the current record of 90 pieces in two minutes. 90 dumplings!!
Here’s the scene from last year’s contest. Everyone has their game faces on!
OK, but really? I could totally eat 90 of these dumplings. It might just take me a liiiittle bit longer than two minutes. Holy mackerel.
My recipe only makes about 24 dumplings, so I’d definitely have to get my rolling pin out again. But it would be worth it. Honestly, I’m so happy I didn’t end up having to use the store-bought wonton wrappers and made these dumplings with my own dough.
So, you’re probably wondering how the filling was…
I absolutely loved it!
Those cranberries gave the dumplings a delightfully sweet tartness, while the Sriracha gave them a touch of heat. The turkey was the perfect backdrop for the flavors to all come together.
And the soy sauce just had the lightest touch of sage. Perfect for dunking.
I’m SO happy my first real dumpling-making experience was a success. The next time I have a dinner party, it’s quite likely that I’ll be serving dumplings as an appetizer. This Saturday, I’ll be following along with the #dumplingfest2015 hashtag and being sad I’m not at the festival.
Let me know if you’re going to the Dumpling Festival and please send dumpling updates. And dumplings. Preferably 90 of them. Actually, make it 91 and the world record will be mine!
Have you ever made your own dumplings?
- 2 cups flour
- ⅛ tsp salt
- ¾ cup very hot water
- 4 cups roughly chopped cabbage
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ pound ground turkey
- ¾ C fresh cranberries
- ½ tsp sesame oil
- 1½ tsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp rice vinegar
- 1½ Tbsp Sriracha
- Salt and pepper
- Canola or vegetable oil
- ⅓ cup soy sauce
- 6 torn sage leaves
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour and salt. Stir in hot water.
- On a lightly-floured surface, knead dough for about 5 minutes, until smooth.
- Wrap in plastic wrap and let rest for at least 30 minutes.
- Separate dough into 3 equal size pieces.
- On a lightly-floured surface, roll one piece of dough into an 8-inch x 1-inch log. Slice into 8 1-inch discs.
- One disc at a time, flatten dough a bit with the palm of your hand. Then, using a small rolling pin, roll from edge of dough to center of dough. Rotate disc after each roll, continuing all the way around the round, until round is 3 inches in diameter and thicker in the middle than on the edges.
- Continue with remaining discs and other remaining two pieces of dough. Place rounds on a flour-covered baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap to prevent wrappers from drying out.
- Put roughly chopped cabbage in a food processor and pulse until finely minced. If you don't have a food processor, you can finely mince by hand.
- Place cabbage in a bowl and sprinkle with salt. Let rest for about 15 minutes.
- After 15 minutes, squeeze out as much water as you can from the cabbage.
- In a medium bowl, mix cabbage with ground turkey, cranberries, sesame oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar, Sriracha, and salt and pepper.
- Place about 1 tablespoon of filling in the center of a dumpling wrapper and fold the wrapper in half to bring the two edges together. Wetting your finger a bit, seal edges of wrapper together. Place filled dumpling on a flour-covered baking sheet.
- To pan fry dumpling, place about a tablespoon of canola or vegetable oil in a non-stick saucepan over medium-high heat. Place dumplings in pan, making sure they're not touching each other. When they start to sizzle and get brown on the bottom, lower heat to medium and slowly pour about ½ cup water in the the pan. Cover saucepan and let steam for about 10 minutes, until water evaporates.
- Remove dumplings from pan and repeat for the next batch.
- If you'd prefer to boil your dumplings, bring a large pot of water to a boil and place dumplings in pot.
- When water comes back to a boil and dumplings rise to the surface of the water, add ½ cup-1 cup of cold water to the pot. This will allow the filling to continue to cook without overcooking the wrappers.
- Once the dumplings rise to the surface again, check one for doneness. If filling is cooked through, remove from water. If not, add another ½ cup-1 cup cold water to the pot and wait for dumplings to rise again.
- Stir together soy sauce and torn sage leaves and let sit in refrigerator for 24 hours.
- Remove sage leaves before serving.
Full disclosure: Thank you to Cyverasia for sponsoring this post in partnership with the NYC Dumpling Festival! I’m sorry I can’t attend and hope the event is a huge success!