If I could retire tomorrow, I’d spend a whole year trying to master one thing. Like literally spend day after day after day making and eating dumplings say. Year two would be pasta. Year three bread. Year four noodles. Year five dumplings again.
Steamed fluffy ones, crispy potstickers, dinky dim sum, hefty cooked in stew, slippery boiled in broth (my favourite) – whatever way they come, dumplings seriously rule. Savoury and comforting, humble yet special.
Chinese dumplings are my favourite. Entire dynasties cannot be mistaken. There are easier things to cook and eat, but evolving sustenance that requires the patience and skill of rolling out skin after skin to encase tasty fillings in order to maximise deliciousness is a sure sign of an advanced civilisation.
I’ve never been to China. One day I’ll go and embark on a serious dumpling odyssey. I will eat hundreds of the things. Thousands. In the end I’ll have chopsticked my way through so many my resemblance to a dumpling will be literal. Right now I want a taste of homemade Chinese dumplings without the fiddly faff of actually making them.
So I pan fried balls of prawn and sausagemeat, roasted prawn heads with tomato puree to make a prawn stock before adding to flour and butter to create a kind of savoury biscuit batter. I boiled dumpling skins and drizzled with sweet chilli sauce spiked with fresh ginger and garlic, and a sticky soy reduction. Then a garnish of pak choi braised in butter, fish sauce and brown shrimps – the tastiest of British prawn-y creatures.
Ingredients: prawns, dumpling skins, sausagemeat, tomato puree, flour, butter, garlic, ginger, sweet chilli sauce, soy sauce, sugar, pak choi, brown shrimp, fish sauce
Year six pizza. Year seven rice…