My First Daring Cooks Challenge – Chinese Dumplings/Potstickers

Cooking is my passion. I read recipes on the net at office. I try to keep track of cooking shows. I try to weasel out recipe secrets from friends and family. I am obsessed with trying new dishes. In fact, I really really need a microwave now for all the yummy baking recipes I have in my store. But……it was only today morning that I realized how crazy I am about cooking….

I came across The Daring Kitchen while browsing the net and was immediately hooked. I could not wait for my membership to start. It was so cool when I found out I had access to the private forums. I felt like a little child who had laid hands on grandma’s secret stash of chocolates….he he he. I was scared though…the recipes mentioned in The Daring Kitchen are quite complicated for a newbie like me. So imagine my surprise when I found the June, 2009 Daring Cooks Challenge to be dumplings. This was something I could do….yes.

I did the first batch at night yesterday. It did not look great. In fact, the secret to making dumplings look appetizing is the pleating. Unfortunately, I had not checked out the trick for pleating and I ended up making a big thick roll where it should have been simply two layered and soft. The dumplings still tasted great but the end was inedible.

Veggie Dumplings

Veggie Dumplings - First Batch

So I went back to the website for help. The Daring Cooks recipe was even supported by pics on how to pleat the dumpling!!! Wow! That website truly lives upto its name. It truly wants people to better their cooking skills. So I kept mulling over it and today morning itself I just could not help myself. I dumped by gym session for……dumplings session. Looking back now it seems crazy but the passion of cooking I felt in the morning when nothing else mattered other than to get those darned dumplings to look good feels all worthwhile. And I learnt something new.

Ingredients

For the wrapper

1 cup plain flour (maida)

1 tsp butter (optional)

For the filling

½ cup cabbage, grated

½ cup carrots, grated

1 tsp garlic, chopped finely

1 tsp garlic, minced or chopped finely

Salt and pepper to taste

Prepare the wrapper by mixing flour and butter. The butter will keep the dough soft for a longer time. Add water spoonful by spoonful and make a smooth dough. Cover with a wet muslin cloth and set aside.

Mix all the ingredients for the filling. Though the filling for dumplings is generally bland to go along with the chilly sauce, a little green chili sauce can be mixed in to give an extra zing.

Make 1 cm balls out of the dough. Roll them so they are thin enough to be see-through. The centre should be thicker than the sides. Fold the dumplings on one side so a small pocket is formed. Fill it with the stuffing and seal with the help of water.

Pleat the dumpling wrapper on one half to make a pocket for stuffing

Pleat the dumpling wrapper on one half to make a pocket for stuffing

Rolled, Pleated, Stuffed and Sealed

Rolled, Pleated, Stuffed and Sealed

Place the dumplings on a cabbage leaf and steam. They can also be fried or boiled.

Ready to be served

Ready to be served

Enjoy while hot with red chili sauce.

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Momos

Momo fever struck my gang when I was in the second year of my post-grad. My friend CV discovered a small momo stall in the local market and raved about it so much that we decided to give it a try. And man, were they awesome. Steamed dumplings filled with veggies served with hot and spicy chilli sauce…..yummm. Soon it became a regular hang-out for us and momo became one of my fav dishes.

This exotic oriental dish is quite easy to make, if you can roll out the dough, that is. The rolled dough should be very very fine. Almost translucent. And when you place the filling on it and wrap it to make a ball, the folds on the top should lie together in such a way that there is no overlap. There should be no place on a momo with a thinkness of dough greater than 1 mm otherwise the taste is gone.

momos

Ingredients

100 gms refined flour (maida)

1 tblsp baking powder

1 cup cabbage

1 cup carrots

1 tblsp salt

1 tsp pepper

Add the baking powder to the flour and knead into soft, pliable dough. Make sure you add water slowly to the flour. Maida takes time to absorb water and will become sticky if too much is added too soon. Cover with a wet muslin cloth and keep aside for 30 mins.

Grate the cabbage and carrots finely and add salt and pepper to it. Mix properly and keep aside.

momos

Remove the muslin cloth and knead the flour once again. Do not use water. Roll the dough into circles with 3 inch diameter making sure it is very thin. Place a spoonful of vegetable mix on it leaving 1 inch on the outside. Now pinch this remaining part to make mini folds. Bring the folds together on top of the momo.

Steam the momos in an idli maker for 10-12 mins. Serve hot with chilli sauce.